One of the leading insurance claims in North America is water damage caused by a burst washing machine hose totaling more than $150 million in damages each year. I must admit that I am one of those statistics. I had a hose burst but was fortunate enough to be at home before the entire first floor of the house was full of water. I had to replace some drywall but count myself lucky. It is amazing how much water can pour out of a hose in a short amount of time. And, trust me, it does not stay in the laundry room.
There are several factors that can cause a hose to leak or burst:
Washer Hose Inspection and Care
Most home insurance agencies recommend that washing machine hoses be inspected regularly and replaced every three to five years as part of your regular home maintenance program. Inspection points include making sure that the hose connections are secure, including the drain hose. Look for rust on the connectors and any cracks or bulges in the hoses. Of course, if the hoses are damp, there is a small leak and they should be replaced immediately!
There should be at least four inches between the water connection and the back of the washing machine. This space will help reduce the chances that a kink will eventually cause hose failure. Take the time to jot down when you made your last inspection or replaced the hoses. You can attach the note to the back of the washer with a magnet.
Make sure that everyone in your household knows where the water shutoff valve is located and how to open and close it. If you are going to be away from home for a day or more. You may want to consider having a professional plumber install a single-handled value to make turning off the water supply to the washer easier. The plumber can also install a water hammer arrestor, which may lessen the chances of washing machine hoses breaking. A water hammer arrestor absorbs the increased water pressure that occurs when the electric valve in your washing machine shuts off.
Washer Hose Selection
There are two basic types of hoses available - reinforced rubber and stainless-steel reinforced. Rubber hoses have been around for decades but today's rubber hoses are reinforced with a braided rayon or polyester mesh to increase strength. If you select this type of hose (which is usually less expensive), be sure the label says "reinforced" for best quality.
Stainless steel braided hose is actually a very flexible plastic hose encased in a flexible mesh of stainless steel wire. This type of hose is more durable to physical damage (cutting and twisting) than rubber hoses. Many are labeled as burst-proof; however, no hose is completely failure-free.
Proper installation is crucial for any type of washer hose. Learn more on the next page.