When the weather turns sticky and warm and the beaches beckon for summer vacation, it’s the time of year to check your faucets or risk tens of thousands of dollars worth of water damage.
As of January 2018, insurance company RACQ 9651 has received claims for water damage to homes, with burst pipes and hoses on dishwashers and faucets being a common cause of these claims.
Spokeswoman Kirsty Clinton said the average cost of flexi-related claims is $ 14,145.
“We often see an increase in these incidents during the Christmas season when people go on vacation,” she said.
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Flexi hoses are cheap and a common feature in household kitchen and bathroom sinks.ABC Brisbane: Ellen-Maree Elliot)
Ernie Kretschmer, director of technical services for the Master Plumbers Association of Queensland, told ABC Radio Brisbane that the hoses are in most modern homes and “could burst anytime if damaged”.
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He said improper installation and corrosive chemicals stored under the sink could shorten the life of the tubing – which is a rubber pipe wrapped in steel braid.
“If you compare it to a hernia, the inner tube can rupture and burst once that outer wall is damaged,” he said.
“Then you have the full length of the pipe that brings water under your kitchen sink or in the basement or behind your toilet and that will keep going until you isolate it,” he said.
The reason claims surge over the Christmas season is that no one is home to turn off the plumbing when these pipes burst – so shut off your plumbing when you go away.
Flexi hoses can cause ‘extreme’ damage
Ms. Clinton said flexi tubing started to deteriorate after ten years and homeowners should check that they have one installed in their homes and that they are nearing drain.
“The damage caused can be extreme as your home will be flooded with water in seconds, resulting in ruined cabinets, walls, floors and mold that, in some extreme cases, can make your home uninhabitable,” she said.
“The other important factor besides the cost to consider is the hardship and inconvenience that such incidents can cause individuals and families, where valuable possessions can be ruined and homes can even be uninhabitable for periods of time.”
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Mr Kretschmer said homeowners or tenants could “poke around” [their] Go under the sink and look for any damage to the hose – such as kinks, stains, rust stains, or fraying.
“If you have any concerns or discover damage, kinks or anything like that, you need to call a plumber.”
Some flexi hoses can be sold at major hardware stores for as little as $ 35, but Ms. Clinton said cheap DIY flexi hoses that weren’t designed to handle pressure or heat are a growing problem for the RACQ.
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Mr. Kretschmer warned homeowners against installing plumbing themselves.
“You could have problems with your insurance if we look at a home improvement situation where the homeowner went to some piece of hardware and did some plumbing himself,” he said.
“Well, that’s illegal.”
Corrosive chemicals under the sink can accelerate the erosion of flexible hoses over time. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)