Did you know that lurking beneath your sink is a hidden danger, and the cause of one of the most common insurance claims in Australian homes? Also known as a flexi hose, flexible braided hoses are found underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks in many homes across the country. However, if not installed or maintained correctly, these hoses can cause catastrophic damage – and have been revealed as the leading cause of household water damage.
What is a Flexible Braided Hose?
Flexi hoses are adjustable rubber pipes wrapped in stainless steel braiding. They are popular due to their ability to be bent into shape to fit different sinks and locations. These hoses have replaced the standard copper pipes that were previously installed, and connect water from the wall outlet to taps under sinks, basins and bathtubs. They began to rise in popularity around 15 years ago, and are now frequently used in residential construction and renovation.
How do they cause Damage?
Over time, the stainless steel surrounding the rubber pipe can become corroded by rust, begin to fray or unravel, or come loose at the connection points. A burst flexi hose is something no one wants to experience, with resulting water damage having the potential to be severe. Incorrect installation can also lead to the hose being over tightened, over stretched or loose; causing the pipe to leak or burst and create chaos.
Flooding caused by burst flexible braided hoses has been known to lead to collapsed ceilings, damaged walls and a home that is no longer habitable. Other effects of water damage caused by a burst hose include:
- Mould growth
- Contents damage
- Structural damage to surrounding living spaces and/or properties
Australia’s largest general insurer, IAG (Insurance Australia Group), conducted research that found flexible braided hoses accounted for 22% of water damage claims in Australian homes in 2016, with these claims most likely to be for kitchen and bathroom damage.
How can you Minimise the Risk of Damage?
If you have a flexible braided hose installed in your home, we recommend carrying out the following steps to minimise the risk of leaks and water damage to your property:
Check the condition of all flexible braided hoses on your property. Warning signs that you need to act fast include bulging and/or rust spots on the steel, or fraying and kinking along sections of the pipe. Also make a note of the expiry date – this is generally found on the collar of the flexi hose. Set yourself a reminder to have the hose replaced when required.
While installing a flexi hose may seem like a simple job, we recommend having a licensed plumber carry out any installation and maintenance work. This way you can rest assured that you are being supplied with quality materials, and that correct and best-practice installation methods are being followed. For example, a professional plumber will ensure the right length hose is being installed so that it will not be too loose or tight, as these are issues that can cause damage to the hose further down the track and potentially lead to a major water leak.
Check the Warranty
Only ever install flexible braided hoses that have a credible warranty period. Also, keep track of the warranty on your hoses so that you are able to replace them within a safe time frame, should any issues become apparent. Most good quality flexi hoses come with a warranty of around 10 years.
Having a professional plumber carry out regular maintenance, checking your flexi hoses and surrounding areas for evidence of leaks, is extremely important. This will flag any damage to the hose before the problem escalates.
It is also important to note that common household cleaning products stored under kitchen or bathroom sinks (in the same area as flexi hoses) can create a ‘fume cupboard environment’, causing corrosion of the stainless steel and leading to the hose eroding faster than if the chemicals were stored elsewhere.
If you can’t remember the last time your flexi hose was inspected, now is the time to get in touch with Service Today! We can arrange for one of our expert plumbers to thoroughly examine the condition and installation of any flexi hoses in your home, as well as flag any that are close to their expiry date.