My husband often talks of the flood of 07, but unlike the flood of 07 a Flexi hose flood can be prevented on most occasions. Coming back from a holiday or waking up to water everywhere is no fun for any homeowner. Dealing with the life admin that follows a flood post-clean-up is stressful enough with lodging and processing an insurance claim, whilst hoping nothing of sentimental or importance has been damaged or destroyed.
So what would cause a flood in your home like this? A small piece of plumbing called a 'Flexi hose or a hooker'. You would be surprised at the damage that this small hose can cause in your home or even your neighbour's home following a Flexi hose leak. If you haven‘t heard of Flexi Hoses, then you are not alone - I hadn't either until I married a plumber.
This article will help you understand what a Flexi hose is and how you can ensure your home is protected from leaks in the future for a fraction of the cost whilst being flood-free.
Who should read this article? Homeowners, landlords, and property managers.
What is a Flexi hose? Where do you find it in your house? We have your questions answered.
You may have heard stories from family or friends who have experienced damage in their homes from Flexible hoses, in fact, they are one of the most common sources of water damage in Australian homes.
What is a Flexi-hose?
A flexible hose, often known as a 'Flexi hose,' is a versatile and elastic rubber pipe encased in stainless steel braided layers that hook to taps and fixtures. Unlike copper pipes, which used to last far longer, these hoses are often overlooked and forgotten as part of a homeowner's maintenance check, yet they can cause a lot of damage.
They are found in connections from the wall outlet to sinks, baths, basins and toilets, taps, etc... connecting your basin to the hot and cold water source. Australian homes as they are built now will have flex hoses installed. They replaced the copper pipe, these Flexible hoses first appeared in homes approx. 15 years ago. They are inexpensive and enable you to spend less time and money on the plumbing installation.
What happens if a Flexi hose fails? The main issue with Flexi-hoses is homeowners are not aware that the hoses need to be replaced between 5-15 years, subject to the manufacturer's warranty. If incorrectly installed or they haven’t been maintained they can corrode, fray, or a kink which can lead to them deteriorating faster than their expected lifespan. If you do have an expired or damaged Flexi-hose in your home, they are a common source of water damage. Their shorter lifespan requires regular inspection and replacement. In just a matter of hours, leaking water can inflict thousands of dollars in water damage as if nobody is home, a burst Flexi hose can leak the equivalent of a domestic swimming pool through your home in less than 24 hours. If you live in a two-story home or apartment building, a leak can quickly travel across multiple floors, creating damage to everything it crosses, e.g. ceilings, floors, walls, furniture, carpets, and personal effects. Damaging not just yours but your neighbour's home. Some insurance companies cover replacing items, but that isn’t so easy for treasured and sentimental items that can be damaged beyond repair.
How can I protect my home from Flexi hoses causing damage to your home?
Regularly inspect your Flexi hoses: You are looking for corrosion or fraying. When you inspect the hose, run your hand along with the hose you are trying to feel for dampness and look for corrosion and fraying of the braided metal. If you notice puddles of water under the appliance or basin, it is a sign that the hose is failing and needs to be changed by a qualified plumber as soon as possible.
Ask a qualified plumber to inspect your Flexi hoses every 5 years. This will ensure any issues or decay of the Flexihose are caught early. At LMN Plumbing, we have a simple reminder process that gives you peace of mind and you don't need to remember when the 5 years or product warranty expires. If your premise is considered commercial, the warranty for Flexi-hoses is only valid for 1-year.
Ask a qualified plumber to replace your Flexihoses. Not only do you want to ensure the Flexihose is installed correctly, but the warranty is also only valid when the item has been installed by a licensed plumber.
Have mini stop taps on all your water connection points: The mini tap enables you to isolate and limit the damage caused by the water flowing out it whilst you arrange for a plumber to update your Flexi hoses. It also will keep your plumbing labour costs down in the future.
Home insurance covering water damage: You may be surprised that not all home insurance policies cover you for water damage. The easiest way to check this is to review your Product Disclosure Statement or discuss your needs with your insurance broker to ensure you have peace of mind with the protection your home needs should you ever need to call upon it
Going away on holiday: If you're going on holiday, I recommend you consider turning off your home's water main in case of a burst Flexi hose or any other leaks at your home whilst you are away. Or you can isolate each item, by turning off the min-tap.
What should I do if I think I have a leak or how do I avoid a leak?
The first thing you should do is isolate the water (turn off the minitap).
Ask a licensed plumber to inspect all Flexi hoses in your home and change any that are aging or are showing decay.
Ask your licensed plumber to with a record of installation and for them to remind you when they need inspection/replacement. This may cost you a few hundred dollars every 5-15 years but it's a lot cheaper than a costly renovation or insurance claim.
I am a landlord, I don't have money to make lots of updates to my investment, what should I do? We appreciate that lots of property investors may have bought a property via a self-managed super fund and are not cash-rich. However, when considering the upkeep and value of your property you also need to evaluate what is the best long-term investment. We work with property management companies and recently we were at home when we spotted a hose about to burst, we were there on a completely unrelated issue. When we asked the tenant about the Flexihose, they advised it had been like that for some time but were too scared to mention it to their landlord in case their rent increased. The maintenance cost this landlord a few hundred dollars rather than the damage a leak would have cost, which likely could include lost rental income if a room or area of the house was not able to be used.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you have any questions please feel to reach out and ask, we can provide you with some more information or answer your questions you may have about Flexi hoses. LMN Plumbing helps clients with plumbing maintenance and renovations in the Lake Macquarie, Central Coast, and Newcastle areas. We are looking to provide you with helpful information that can help inform the decisions you make when carrying out maintenance or renovations. If you have ideas of content you would like us to cover please drop us a message.