Sometimes, owning a home can seem like almost too much work. However, by staying on top of maintenance, you can avoid many of the problems that make for the worst emergencies.

Roof leaks. This may be the easiest expensive problem to avoid. There’s no trick to it. Simply inspect your roof often for missing shingles, cracks and curling—all three allow leaks that can damage wood and plaster inside your home very quickly. If any of these maladies arises, replace the offending material right away.

Clean the pipes. Another maintenance habit you should get into is degreasing your pipes—but not with corrosive drain cleaner. If your home has cast-iron pipes (as almost every home 50 years old or more does), acidic drain cleaners will destroy your pipes over time. While PVC is chemically impervious to acid, it’s still a good idea to simply treat your pipes every couple of months with a strong degreasing agent that flushes food-based grease, body oil and all the other debris that clings to it while leaving all pipes intact.

Regular checkups. Get your heating, ventilation and cooling system checked once a year for leaks and routine wear. Especially in hot climates, where A/C systems run every day, getting annual checks can extend the life of your expensive equipment.

Staying ahead of repairs before a crisis hits will save you time and anxiety. Get out and do it!