Nine months of pandemic disruption has strained many households as their demand for water, electrical and internet usage has increased, and their budgets and consumer spending limits have been compromised. You may have noticed it during the peak season for air-conditioning, but you may not realize how much harder other appliances have also been working while under increased demand on your home’s infrastructure. The following are some units that could wear out before their normal lifetime when used excessively and some tips on how to protect them.

Clothes Washer & Dryer: If you’re sending less out to dry cleaning, you’re probably doing more laundry at home. Ideally, try to stick to full loads and cold settings and wash at off-peak hours.

Dishwasher: If you’re eating more at home, you’re likely doing more dishes, so minimize the cycles and detergents by waiting for a full load.

Refrigerator/Freezer: The more a door is opened, the harder the appliance has to work. Decide what you want before opening the door, then remove all items at once and return them together.

Water Heater: More showers and extra handwashing put more volume through the tank. Over time this can cause corrosion. Give it a break by choosing cold water, which bypasses your heater