Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.
You may have noticed them under your kitchen sink and bathroom basin, behind your toilet and washing machine.
Snaking hoses comprising an inner rubber tube wrapped in braided layers of stainless steel that connect the mains water from the walls (and sometimes floors) of your home to your appliances, taps and cisterns.
Known as flexible inlet water hoses, or flexi hoses, they’re commonly found in homes built since 2000 or so; and in older homes renovated since then.
Plumbers love them because they’re easier to work with than the rigid copper pipes used traditionally.
But the hoses’ flexibility also makes them less durable.
In fact, they generally last only five to 10 years, after which wear and tear can cause them to leak or rupture.
Some cheaper hoses have only five-year warranties and will erode faster.
This deterioration typically stems from the mains water pressure, which goes up and down when the water’s turned off and on, causing the hose’s inner rubber tube to expand and contract continually.
The hotter the water, the faster the hoses tend to wear out; their lives can also be shortened if they’re stretched or kinked or located next to household chemicals.
Because the water feeding into these hoses is under pressure, if one bursts the water can gush out like a geyser.
Up to 1500 litres of water can flood into your house every hour.
If you’re away from home when it happens…well, you get the picture.
Inconvenience and stress
While your Budget Direct home and contents insurance covers escape of liquid, including flexi-hose failures, the inconvenience and stress it can cause you is another matter.
The water from a ruptured hose can inundate your home’s floors, stain its walls, ruin its (first-storey) ceilings and even cause structural damage. In addition, it can potentially spoil everything inside your home.
The clean-up and repairs can take weeks, sometimes months.
If your home’s unfit to live in, you’ll have to move your family into temporary accommodation.
What to do
When it comes to flexi hoses, prevention is better than cure.
1. Inspect your flexi hoses regularly
At least twice a year, lightly run your fingers and thumb along the length of the braided hose.
It should feel flat and smooth; if it’s spiky (indicating fraying or unravelling) or bulging, get it changed.
Similarly, if you see any rust or leaks, get a new hose.
Finally, make sure the hose connectors are intact and tight.
2. Check the date of manufacture
If your hose has a date of manufacture on it and it was made more than five years ago, consider getting it replaced, even if it looks fine.
Be aware that some cheaper hoses have only a five-year warranty.
3. Get your hoses replaced by a plumber
If you’re thinking of replacing an old flexi hose yourself, think again.
Among the reasons these hoses fail is poor product choice and installation.
While a DIY job might save you a bit of money, chances are it’ll be a lot less than the excess you’d have to pay on any claim.
So get your flexi hoses replaced by a licensed plumber.
They’ll know the best type and brand of hose to use and ensure it’s the correct length and the connections are not over-tightened, which can cause fractures.
(Depending on the circumstances, they may even suggest you replace the flexi hose with a copper pipe!)
Making a claim
If the worst happens and you need to make a claim for water damage, we’re here to help.
If you’re at home when your flexi hose bursts, turn off the water at the mains to minimise the damage before calling us.
We’ll get an assessor around to investigate the damage and work out what’s required to get your home back in order.
If you’re going away on holiday, turn off your water at the main.
The water main is usually located outside, near the front of your house. Turn the tap or valve handle clockwise to cut off the water.
If one of your flexi hoses fails, your home won’t be turned into an aquarium.