If you live in Australia, you probably have a flexible braided hose somewhere in your property. These under-the-sink accessories are popular and convenient, but they can cause a lot of damage if you don’t take the right precautions, such as correctly installing and maintaining them. Flexible braided hoses accounted for more than one in five household water damage claims in 2016, with the kitchen and bathroom common problem areas. So what are flexible braided hoses and how can you minimise the risk of unnecessary repairs?
What’s a flexible braided hose?
Flexible braided hoses, also known as flexi hoses, are rubber pipes encased in braided lengths of stainless steel. They entered the Australia market around 25 years ago, replacing copper pipes. These hoses are widely used under kitchen and bathroom sinks across the country. They are easily bent into shape and aligned to fit under your sink and piping. They’re also cheap to buy and install.
Why do they cause so much damage?
Flexible braided hoses have a limited working life. While the hoses have required WaterMark certification since 2006, it’s unclear which hoses installed before then have been certified. According to experts, the risk of pipes bursting and flooding a home increases significantly a decade after the residence was built. Some hoses may come with a 10-year warranty while others have no warranty at all. These hoses often burst well before the 10-year mark.
These hoses tend to burst when the braided lining fails, which then allow the rubber tube to expand. At some point, this inner core will burst. The damage can be extreme since a burst pipe could lead to water flooding into your property at the rate of 1,500 litres an hour.
The average claim for water damage is around $4,818, but some claims can be far more expensive. In some cases, flooding caused by burst flexible braided hoses have led to collapsed ceilings, ruined walls and an uninhabitable house. Other possible scenarios include mould, damage to contents, damage to common areas and damage to next-door units or units on the level below.
In the event you need to make an insurance claim, you’ll likely be facing higher premiums, not to mention having to move out while your home is being repaired.
How to minimise the risk of damage from your flexible braided hoses
Flexible braided hoses can cause considerable water damage. So what can you do to minimise the risks?
Whether you own or are developing property, you’ll want to use professional plumbers and ensure the correct processes are followed during installation and maintenance.
- Check – Have all the hoses in properties checked. Warning signs include bulging and rust spots on the braided metal. Fraying and kinking are also potential signs of damage. If you manage a body corporate, include flexible-braided-hoses checks into your general maintenance program.
- Warranty – Use only flexible braided hoses that have a reasonable warranty period. Track warranty periods on your hoses so you can replace them within a reasonable, safe time frame. The collar of the hose will have an expiry date. Note if you store chemicals under the sink, your hoses could be at risk of damage well before the expiry date.
- Installation – Have licensed plumbers carry out all installations and work, no matter how simple the job appears to be. Make sure they follow best-practice recommendations like using the right length hose and using quality connectors.
- Maintenance – Have a preventative maintenance program in place so your flexible braided hoses are checked regularly. Have your plumber feel along the braided casing to check for any damage, and check around appliances and under sinks for any leaks.
Flexible braided hoses are widely used in Aussie homes and everyone should be aware of their potential to cause serious water damage. Make sure they’re replaced before their expiry date and have a maintenance program in place to ensure any leaks or damage to the hoses are caught before they get worse. With regular checks by a professional plumber, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding unnecessary damage, insurance claims and time-consuming repairs to your property.
Written by StrataData.com