StrataScene – Flexi Hoses
StrataScene –your resource for articles that are co-written and published by BCP Strata and a local tradesperson – highlighting a particular issue that has occurred in the office and providing a unique combined perspective of Body Corporate Manager and tradesperson.
This month’s StrataScene comes to you from the desk of our Insurance staff – Flexi Hoses. For such a small part of the plumbing in a unit, they are capable of causing very significant damage to not only your unit, but the ones below and around you.
We asked local plumber, Izaak Stains from Refined Plumbing, for some information on these troublesome parts and tips on how to prevent them from causing you grief.
What are they?
Flexi hoses – otherwise called Flexible Water Hoses – are typically used in modern installations within kitchens, bathrooms and laundries to replace copper pipes. It is usually a rubber pipe, covered in a braided stainless steel – it’s designed to be flexible in nature to negate the need to have custom made bends in pipes and are particularly useful for renovations. Flexi hoses are a great innovation but when poorly installed or managed they can result in serious damage to your property.
Why do they burst?
There are many reasons why a flexi hose can burst, but the most common reasons are age (don’t expect it to last more than 5 years); the connection is too tight , too loose or stretches; gradual deterioration such as rust, braiding fraying or a kink in the hose causing a weak spot.
Cleaning chemicals have also been known to reduce the life of the flexi hoses, so it is recommended storing harmful chemicals away from the hoses.
When do they burst?
Apart from previously mentioned common reasons for why they fail, in our experience it always seems to happen when someone is away from home. But why?? One theory leans towards the pressure in the water system not having a recent release (by using a tap, or flushing the toilet) and the pressure builds up, looking for a weak spot in the system.
How long do they last?
Most manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty, others far less; however general consensus is that they may not last longer than 5 years.
How can you prevent a problem?
If you notice any rusting or fraying, it is best to get a plumber to inspect and replace if needed. If you notice any frays, bulging areas or rust spots this is an early sign that the flexi hose is close to giving way.
Every few months you should inspect under vanities and behind toilets to ensure that the early signs of a deteriorated flexible hose aren’t present. If they are, contact a licensed plumber as soon as possible.
There is a product available called a flood stop valve that detects a spike in the flow rate of water such as when a flexi hose bursts. This will cause the water to rush through the system at a faster rate. This flood stop valve can detect the spike in water usage and automatically shuts off water supply.
If it does happen….what should you do?
As soon as you notice a failed flexi hose, turn off the water supply to your home and then give your local plumber a call. If you cannot find the shut off valve, call a plumber immediately to help you isolate the water supply. Flexi hoses are considered an owners responsibility, and you should arrange to have it replaced by a plumber, at your cost, without delay. Once repaired, please contact our friendly staff who can help you with any repairs that may be required to the surrounding areas. For more information on insurance and claims for resultant damage, have a look at Insurance.
In 2019 alone, 47% of all claims handled by our office were from water damage, and of those, 1 in every 4 were the result of a flexi hose bursting; combined total damages of over $100,000.00 for a part/repair that is usually worth less than $300.00.
Recently, an owner left their apartment for no more than 30 minutes when their ensuite flexi hose burst. $242.00 to fix, $3,500.00 in water extraction fees – fortunately, the fast attendance of a plumber, and water extraction company were paramount in reducing the costs of this claim, however it’s easy to see how much damage can be caused in such a small space of time.
- Flexi hoses have a limited lifespan and you should inspect them every few months to check for signs of deterioration
- If you’re not sure how old your current hoses are, consider asking a plumber to visit and let you know what condition they’re in, and when you should look at replacing them
- Considering how much damage can be caused in less than 30 minutes, it’s not a bad idea to turn off water supply to your unit (if possible) if you are going away (even for the weekend)
- As soon as you notice a problem, turn off the water to your unit and call a plumber