Flexi hoses, also known as flexible braided pipes, are made from rubber or thermoplastic inner tubing, which is then covered in a braided stainless steel mesh. These commonly seen hoses are used in plumbing installations throughout Australia because they are easy to manoeuvre and flexible enough to account for slight misalignments without the need for fixed and rigid piping structures.
However, as useful and flexible as these hoses are, they are unfortunately responsible for a significant portion of water damage insurance claims. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, they account for as much as 20% of water damage insurance claims in Australia!
Where are Flexi Pipes Typically Situated
Flexi pipes are usually located wherever there are plumbing installations in your house. Typically they can be found under kitchen sinks, bathroom basins, near toilets, and behind dishwashers and laundry machines.
Why Do Flexi Hoses Rupture?
Many flexi hoses rupture suddenly without warning, with residents waking up in the morning or coming home from work or a holiday to find their floors flooded. The reasons why these hoses burst suddenly varies. Typically it is because their life-span has expired and the compromised pipe was not noticed. Flexi hoses usually last about 5 to 10 years before the rubber tubing starts to perish, leading to rupturing.
In some cases, flexi pipes burst because they are subjected to a significant amount of water pressure. When toilets are not flushed or taps are not opened for a long time, pressure can build up in the piping, causing the flexi hose tubing to eventually split from the pressure. That’s why it’s advised to flush the toilet and run the taps regularly to ensure that water pressure is frequently relieved.
Another reason that flexi pipes can rupture is that they corrode from being placed near chemical products. A number of household chemicals stored under the kitchen sink contain chlorine, which over time can cause hydrochloric acid to form and corrode the piping. Chlorine buildup in the water supply can cause chloride to accumulate in the pipe, which can also cause corrosion.
What Are the Signs of an Imminent Rupture?
One sign that your flexi pipe might be close to rupturing the presence of rust spots along the wire meshing. When the silver wire mesh starts getting brown in places, it’s probably time to replace the hose.
Additionally, if the hose mesh looks very stretched or if the hose has sharp bends with kinks or twists in it, this is a recipe for failure, as water pressure will inevitably cause weak points on the path to tear open. Similarly, if your house suffers from unusually high water pressure, this can put a strain on the flexi hose and also lead to the pipe failing.
Sometimes flexi hoses can also fail due to issues with the quality of the plumbing installation or the quality of the pipe itself, which is why it’s important to have your flexi hose installed by a professional plumber.
How to Avoid Having a Ruptured Flexi Hose
To ensure that your flexi hose does not rupture, it’s important to install a good-quality hose. The general rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. If it seems very cheap, it’s probably because it is not manufactured to the highest standards.
If you have a flexi hose installed underneath your kitchen sink where you store your chemicals, it’s a good idea to install a ventilation hole in the cupboard to allow hydrochloric acid fume buildup to dissipate. Alternatively, try storing your household chemicals in a different place.
It is also a good idea to install a pressure valve on your house’s water supply to ensure that water pressure does not get too high. This will protect your piping and will also ensure that your flexi pipes do not rupture from excessive pressure.
However, the most important thing you can do to make sure that your home does not suffer from flooding is to have your flexi hoses checked by a professional plumber on a biannual basis.
Are you looking to install a flexi hose in your home or suspect an existing flexi hose is likely to fail? Give the trusted and reliable team of plumbers at Wild Water Plumbers a call to install, inspect and repair your flexi hose to avoid costly damage to your home. Whilst we are at your home repairing your flexi hoses, we will conduct a FREE pressure test. Call us today on 0405 692 151.