Now here’s a topic that is literally very close to home for me.
Several years ago, after being away for a few days I returned to my own house to find it steaming like a sauna. One of my flexible hoses had split and had been spraying a mist of hot water throughout the top floor continually for round 48 hours. The damage caused by hot water flooding my home was around $50,000!
Even though this can happen to anyone, as a plumber with over 20 years’ experience it was a hard and embarrassing lesson to learn. It caused months of inconvenience, but was very preventable and an experience you don’t have to go through if you follow some simple advice.
For those of you who don’t know what we are talking about, they are the flexible braided pipes under your kitchen sink and vanities, or the ones that usually run between your toilet tap and the cistern.
These pipes are relatively new additions in Australia (the last 15-20 years or so). They are much faster and cheaper to install, however these little pipes are supposedly the largest contributor to household insurance claims in Australia.
The braided hoses only have a lifespan of around 5 years and are rated to 500kpa of pressure (many houses in Australia can exceed 500kpa). When they get a little older they can split when under pressure.
The best thing to do to when it comes to these flexible hoses is to have them replaced every 5 years, and to have a pressure limiting valve installed to stop excessive water pressure in your plumbing. These pipes should also always be installed with shut off or mini taps so that if the worst does happen then the water can be turned off very quickly.
If you do these two simple and relatively inexpensive things, you will dramatically reduce your chances of a burst pipe.
PS: It’s also a good idea to turn your water off if you go away for a period of time.