As vital a role they play, washing machine hoses are much neglected. Akin to other systems in the home that we rely on to operate without fail and are out of sight, the hoses that connect your washing machine to the water supply are key to the health and safety of your home.
These hoses operate under a lot of pressure, pumping water in and out of the machine. Over time, wear and tear, neglect and malfunctions can compromise the hoses, eventually causing them to burst, and leaking water onto the floor.
Investing in new washing machine hoses requires little money but offers a high return. Washing machine hoses generally cost about $50. Compared to the costs of replacing what’s lost to water damage and the cleanup of your home, that’s a minimal investment for optimal prevention.
Washing machines can cause damage
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, washing machine failures occur more often, and cause more damage, than you’d think:
• Washing machine failures cost homeowners more than $5,000 after deductible.
• For failures due to supply hoses, 78 percent occurred in relatively new machines (11 years old or younger), and 54 percent occurred in equipment that was only eight to ten years old.
• About 6 percent of failures happened in homes that were unoccupied, and as a result, caused almost three times the damage than failures that occurred in occupied homes.
• Half of all washing machine failures occurred due to supply hose problems.
It’s easy to think an unassuming washing machine hose couldn’t cause too much trouble. But nothing could be further from the truth.
You see, when the washing machine is active, about 70 pounds of water pressure moves through the hoses. That’s equal to 11 gallons of water each minute moving through the hose.
If the hose bursts, and you’re not home to detect the problem, a huge amount of water will pour into the home. In fact, over 5 or 6 hours, approximately 3,500 gallons of water can flow through those burst hoses.
How to inspect the washing machine’s hoses
Contrary to what many homeowners think, hoses don’t fail due to the high pressure or because of a crack in the actual hose line.
Instead, most breaks occur in one specific area: couplings. In a process called “razoring,” the pressure of the water flowing over the couplings gradually cause an unrolling. This causes the coupling to bend, creating a ragged edge that eventually cuts open the hose at the connection point.
Prevention is the best cure for washing machine hose failures. Here’s what you can do:
• Visually inspect their condition as often as you can.
• Don’t let the hose kink; ensure that there’s four to five inches of area between the machine and the water supply.
• Avoid rocking or moving the washing machine around, which could cause the connections to loosen.
• Don’t run the machine if you’re not at home.
• During the annual maintenance appointment for your plumbing system or heating and cooling equipment, ask the professional to also check the washing machine hoses.
Don’t put your system at risk for failure, or pay for unnecessary water damage to your home. Ensure it remains a haven, and give your washing machine the care it needs.