What causes water damage in homes? There are actually a number of things. You probably didn’t know that one of the top causes of catastrophic water damage in homes actually comes from the washing machine hoses. In fact, bursting washing machine hoses are responsible for approximately $150 million per year in flood damage in the United States. Read on to learn why this happens, and how to prevent it from happening in your home.
What causes water damage in homes? There are many things, of course. You probably didn’t know that one of the top causes of catastrophic water damage in homes actually comes from the washing machine hoses. In fact, bursting washing machine hoses are responsible for approximately $150 million per year in flood damage in the United States. Read on to learn why this happens and how to prevent it from happening in your home.
5 Simple Steps to Prevent Your Washing Machine Hoses From Bursting:
Washing machines have 3 hoses: one for hot water, one for cold water, and one is a drain hose. This means there are 3 hoses that have the potential to burst or leak. Out of these, the drain hose is the least dangerous because it only has water in it when the washing machine is draining. The water lines are under the full pressure of your potable water system 24/7. If you have water pressure in your house over 80 psi, this greatly adds to the risk. The higher the static pressure, the more intense the water hammer effect is.
Every time your washing machine shuts off water, it causes a water hammer. This is a shock wave created at the solenoid valve that passes down the pipe as a result of the sudden change in water flow rate. As the wave passes through pipe bends, it can actually cause the pipe itself to move a little bit. You probably hear this happening during your wash cycle. As you can imagine, this is hard on your water lines and can eventually cause damage if it is bad enough.
A good understanding of these factors and some regular preventative maintenance will go a long way to preventing water damage from the washing machine hoses.
1. Inspect them frequently.
It is good practice to inspect your washing machine hoses on a monthly basis. Check all three. Keep an eye out for any slight leaks during your wash cycle. Check especially at the connections for any signs of moisture. Look for any signs of deterioration, such as kinks, cracks or worn tubing.
2. Turn off the water supply when not in use.
There’s a good reason why manufacturers often have this written in the instruction manual for your washing machine. However, people very rarely do this. If your valves are very old or are hard to turn, it may be a good idea to replace the valves themselves to make it easier to shut the water off. The small lever-handle valves in particular are known for not shutting off all the way when they haven’t been used in a long time.
3. Install an emergency shutoff kit.
Having an emergency shutoff kit installed is an excellent way to prevent costly damage from burst hoses. The sensor will cause an alarm to go off and automatically shut off the water supply in the event of a hose leak or burst. These devices are relatively inexpensive and could save you a lot of money in the long run. Just check them for proper operation every few months or so.
4. Change water hoses every 3-5 years.
The best way to prevent worn out hoses from bursting is to make sure you replace them before they get worn out! You’d be surprised at how easy it is to change them out yourself. The connections are essentially the same as an outdoor hose faucet’s connection. See simple instructions here.
5. Use stainless steel braided hoses.
You may think that the stainless steel braided hoses are more expensive just because they are prettier than plain rubber hoses. They bring a lot more to the table than looks, though! They are much more resilient and last significantly longer. The steel braid reinforces the rubber and makes these hoses much less likely to burst. They are still relatively inexpensive, and again, a small investment that will pay off in the long run.
At Legacy Plumbing, we are dedicated to helping you with all your plumbing maintenance needs. In the unfortunate event that you end up with a burst washing machine hose, or you simply want our trained experts to inspect and replace your hoses for you, be sure to give Legacy Plumbing a call.