No one wants to deal with a plumbing emergency in their home, from the sudden interruption of the planned schedule for the day to the larger bill you know you'll get on weekends or after hours. However, sometimes these things just happen, and that leads most people to look for ways to prevent plumbing emergencies from happening in the first place. You can't prevent every single emergency issue; some will happen despite your best efforts. But you can take steps to protect your home and reduce the chances of something happening.
Inspect Shutoff Valves
Make it a habit to inspect the shutoff valves in your home. Check the exterior shutoff for the whole house for leaks, and give the shutoff valves under sinks a glance, too. For those under-sink valves, try turning them off and then turning on the sink faucets; if the valves work, you shouldn't have any water coming out of the faucets (you may have a little bit at first as the water sitting in the pipes between the valves and the faucets drains out, but that should stop quickly). If you see a steady stream of water when you think the shutoff valves are off, call a plumber immediately. As for shower valves, which are inside the wall, just look at the showerhead and tub nozzle for drips.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Do whatever you can in winter to prevent frozen pipes. Not only can a frozen pipe burst and flood your home, but it can also result in small cracks that don't quite burst but that do leak — and if that happens inside your walls, you might not notice until you see the water damage. Keep cabinet doors open when temperatures drop below freezing; the heat inside the home will help heat up pipes inside the walls behind the cabinets. Insulate outdoor pipes if you can; a plumber can help you with that.
Monitor Your Kids
If you have young children, keep an eye on them. Small kids might find the flushing action of the toilet funny and want to see what happens when they send toys down the toilet, resulting in a mess for you. They may also stuff a lot of toilet paper down one toilet or leave a sink running if they get distracted.
Sometimes you end up with a plumbing emergency no matter what you do, but if you can monitor valves and pipes, and keep an eye on your kids, you'll cut down on the potential for a plumbing emergency substantially.
For additional reading, contact a plumbing service.