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Water damage doesn’t just come from burst pipes, in fact the chief culprit for water damage in Australian homes is the braided water hose.
You may not have even noticed the braided flexible water hoses quietly coiled underneath your kitchen sinks, vanities or toilets. Yet they are responsible for more than one in five water damage claims according to Australian insurer IAG.
The braided hoses corrode gradually and then one day – probably when you are absent or asleep – they burst, sending water everywhere.
A typical burst hose event could see the release of a 1500 litre cascade of water. Bathroom fixtures can be ruined, and with prolonged leaks the damage may extend to other rooms, costing thousands of dollars to fix. The worst cases have costly and time-consuming consequences when the water ruins walls, floors and ceilings.
Known variously as braided inlet hose, flexible water hose, flexi hose, flexible tap connector or flexible water connector, the braided flexible water hose is used to convey water to taps, sinks, basins and tubs and from the toilet stop tap to the cistern.
Constructed in outer braided layers of stainless steel with a rubber pipe interior, the hose is bendable and can be shaped. The hoses became a common feature in modern homes, replacing the older standard copper pipe installations.
News reports have suggested that the stainless-steel hose is less durable than the older copper options. Also, the product available in recent times was only designed to last five years.
Fortunately, good products now last for 10 years. However, you may be harbouring older hose specimens in your home.
Braided hose bursts can occur if they are not installed correctly or suffer wear and tear. ‘Water hammer’, a kind of shock wave that happens when water is suddenly shut off, is not the sole cause but can be a contributing factor in the rupture of a fragile braided hose.
The IAG recommendation is: “Consider replacing all affected flexible hoses in your home with a new product as soon as possible.”
1. Don’t Panic – Avoid the jets of water from the burst pipe.
In some cases the water may be hot.
Bathroom surfaces will be slippery.
2. Prioritise shutting off the water valve – for safety and to prevent further water damage
Removing the water supply will make the area around the ruptured hose safe.
You will find the turn-off valve in the water meter box, which is usually located near the street.
A spanner might be required for older valves that are difficult to turn off.
3. If you live in a rented property and can’t find the mains or shut it off properly, phone the real estate agent.
The real estate’s maintenance department can advise on the location of the mains if you’re new, and provide further support. They will also need to arrange for their plumber to rectify the situation, according to the tenancy agreement. Burst pipes are classed as emergency plumbing repairs.
4. Call your plumber to replace the connector if it is in your home
Only use a licensed plumber to fix the issue. Contact us for more details on why you need a plumber and what will be involved.
5. Grab a mop and start the clean-up
Watch out for hidden waterlogged areas that, if unattended, could go mouldy.
If the burst connector site is on lower level, breathe a sigh of relief…
6. If there is water damage, call your Insurer
…If it happens on an upper level, you may have damage in rooms below the site.
If it happens when you are away, large quantities of water can be released causing severe damage.
Check your policy to see what kind of water damage is covered and speak to your home and contents insurer immediately, providing details and photographs.
7. Review and replace other flexible water connectors in your home
Contact Curran Plumbing so we can review and replace the other water connectors in the house, especially those that may be close to 5 years old.
It is recommended that as routine maintenance the braided connectors be reviewed by every one to two years.
8. Minimise future damage
Storing corrosive chemicals nearby, such as dishwashing powders and other cleaning products, can also corrode the braided hose, so keep cleaning products away from it.
Stay aware of all the braided hoses in your house and their condition. Tell-tale signs of a fragile hose include cracks, tears, or rust spots on the braided casing, and bulging.
Don’t risk major water damage to your home. Get in touch with us today so we can conduct a review of your braided water hoses and other plumbing to ensure that your hoses are safe, secure and in good working order.