Flexi hoses, also known as flexible connectors or braided hoses, revolutionized plumbing systems by offering flexibility and ease of installation.
Flexi hoses are commonly thought of as ticking time bombs. At some point they will weaken or degrade and these versatile hoses can leak up to 1500 litres of water an hour, causing significant damage to homes and properties and this is a plumbing emergency.
The history of flexible hoses in Australia dates back to the mid-20th century when they were introduced as a convenient alternative to rigid plumbing pipes.
In the early years, flexible hoses were primarily used in commercial and industrial applications. They were commonly seen in factories, hospitals, and other commercial buildings where the flexibility and adaptability of plumbing systems were crucial.
As technology advanced and the benefits of flexible hoses became more apparent, their usage also expanded to residential buildings.
The convenience and versatility of flexi hoses made them popular among homeowners and plumbers. They were especially favoured when space constraints made rigid pipe installations challenging or costly.
Flexi hoses gained significant traction in the Australian market in the 1980s and 1990s. These hoses’ increased availability and affordability, and ease of installation contributed to their growing popularity.
Flexi Hoses are versatile and popular
They became a common component in residential plumbing systems, particularly in kitchen and bathroom installations.
There is no dispute that they do add more functionality to all sinks and basins.
They save space, look attractive and are well priced.
However, over time, concerns arose regarding the reliability and durability of some flexi hose products.
Reports of failures, leaks, and bursts raised questions about the quality of particular brands and types of hoses. These incidents led to a greater focus on standards, regulations, and industry best practices to ensure the safety and performance of flexi hoses.
In response to these concerns, regulatory bodies, such as the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), and Australian Standards (AS/NZS), have implemented guidelines and requirements for the manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of flexible hoses. These standards aim to ensure the quality, durability, and safe operation of flexi hoses in Australian plumbing systems.
Minimising the risks of burst flexi hoses
Today, flexi hoses are widely used in residential and commercial plumbing applications throughout Australia.
However, it is crucial for homeowners and plumbers to choose high-quality, certified hoses from reputable manufacturers and to follow proper installation and maintenance practices to ensure their longevity and minimize the risk of failures or leaks.
Jet Plus Plumbing has been called out to many burst pipe incidents and most of them are flexi hoses or sometimes called easy hookers.
As licensed plumbers we only install quality hoses that are compliant. We routinely check for signs of damage when we are doing any plumbing work where these hoses are installed.
Having licensed plumbers install and maintain them can prevent burst flexi hoses.
The prevalence of flexible hoses in Australian households is undeniable.
These versatile hoses are found under sinks, in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundries. However, their expected lifespan of between 5 to 10 years is a cause for concern. Cheaper models use thinner, weaker braiding, resulting in corrosion and compromised integrity.
As a result, DIY installation is a significant cause of flooding and water damage.
Significant water damage when they fail
Burst hoses can leak up to 1500 litres of water an hour, making them the primary cause of flooding inside Australian homes.
To prevent such incidents, it is important to regularly check for damage, corrosion, bulges, or kinks in flexi hoses. Homeowners should invest in quality hoses that carry the WaterMark Certification and always have a licensed plumber install and arrange regular plumbing maintenance checks.
Sinks or basins that have a flexi hose installed should also consider ventilation in the cupboards directly under the sink, especially if cleaning products are stored in this area. Fumes from chemicals can cause corrosion of the braiding, and chemical fumes will also weaken the hose’s rubber. These cupboards are also prone to excess moisture build up.
Another option to consider, and yes, we can install these – Is a Leak alert device.
The one we install is called Flow Leak Protector.
They are a smart app that can alert you when they detect water. You can then remotely shut off the water supply.
This is ideal if you are travelling or working away from home.
Burst flexi hoses are responsible for up to 22% of water damage insurance claims. Taking proactive measures will save you the headache of dealing with a flooding incident.
Why Flexi Hoses Burst Or Fail
Why do flexible hoses sometimes burst?
- Expansion of rubber tube: The rubber tube inside flexible hoses expands when under pressure, and the stainless steel braid is designed to prevent further expansion. However, if the stainless steel braid fails and breaks, the water pressure can cause the rubber lining to bulge out of the sleeve and rupture. This is also a reason why high water pressure needs to be reduced.
- Damage during installation: Improper installation can lead to damage in flexible hoses. Twisting or stretching the hose during installation, especially when attempting DIY plumbing, can create weak points in the hose that may eventually lead to bursting.
- Improper torquing of nuts: The nuts at either end of the connectors play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the flexible hose. If the nuts are not tightened enough, it can create a leak path outside the hose. On the other hand, over-tightening the nuts can cause the seal to rupture. In both cases, chlorine from the water supply can build up on the braiding and corrode it over time.
- Leaks and external water presence: Leaks in the flexible hose are often the primary source of bursting. The presence of water exterior to the hose is necessary for corrosion to occur. Therefore, failures are commonly observed under sinks, toilets, and dishwashers where water leakage is more likely.
- Risk in closed cupboards: Flexible hoses installed in closed cabinets under sinks are particularly susceptible to bursting. The high-humidity environment caused by condensation increases the risk. Moreover, if household chemicals containing chlorine are stored in these cabinets, the chlorine stays in the air within the closed space. When combined with humidity, it can dissolve into hydrochloric acid, which corrodes the stainless steel braiding of the flexible hose over time.
Regular plumbing inspections, proper installation techniques, and promptly actioning any signs of leaks or damage can help reduce flexible hose failures.
Corrosion weakened braiding, and compromised integrity are among the leading causes of damage to flexible hoses that can result in significant flooding in Australian homes.
Cheaper models of flexi hoses use thinner, weaker braiding that can easily corrode and compromise the integrity of the hose.
This is especially true when the hose is installed during DIY installation, as the hose is likely to be purchased for the price point rather than the quality.
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Plumbing Prevention and Maintenance
Regular plumbing maintenance checks on the hoses and investing in quality, Watermark-certified hoses are key in preventing flooding caused by weakened flexi hoses.
An inspection will consist of signs of damage, corrosion, bulges, or kinks.
If you have flexi hoses that are 5 years or older, it is time that you gave them a visual check.
Look for any signs of loose braiding, rust spots on the hose looking twisted or bent.
Checking in under sink cupboards for signs of water damage will also pick up any minute leaks that maybe starting in a hose.
Jet Plus Plumbing can do regular maintenance checks and we do this routinely for many residents and commercial clients so book us in today to get your hoses checked.