Proactive not Reactive (How to examine your plumbing.)
Typically, one of the most important systems we rely on that we never think about until it has become an issue is our water heating system. The water heaters in our home are not bullet proof, they eventually do fail, and when they do it can be an incredibly stressful situation for most. Now you do not have hot water, you may have an active leak and be forced to shut the water off to your entire home. Based on what we see a standard water heater in Las Vegas last 6-8 year before it either fails or operates poorly. This is due in part to our hot weather as it can make water heaters work in extreme conditions, the water in Las Vegas has a high mineral content and speeds up the corrosion process, and the temperature at which you run your water heater will play a role in how long it lasts.
To examine your water heater, start by looking at the manufacturers tag (usually a big label located on the front face), this will tell you the age of the heater and the type of heater you have. If you are well over 10-12 years you may want to consider replacing the heater. Next look above the heater at the water connections that come in from the wall. If you see visible mineral deposits or corrosion it is an indicator you should consider replacing the unit. Obviously the main indicator that a heater isn’t working is a leak, now the location of the leak will usually give you an idea of it is something that can be repaired or if you need a replacement. If the leak is coming from the heater itself at the bottom near the pan or the top by the connections to the heater (not connection to the fittings) then it is often time for a replacement. If the leak is at the fittings, then it could be a simple replacement of the valves and connections. It honestly just depends on where the leak is, how much it is leaking and the age of the unit.
Now if you have come this far the next examination is simple. Go around your house and look at all the locations where water comes in. Under sinks, behind toilets, below fixtures, and behind appliances. If you find any locations that have heavy mineral deposits or feel wet then it is always better to just replace the connections (supply lines and angle stops) as it is generally a cheaper fix than replacing entire fixture and repairing damage done by leaks or floods.