Washing Machine Hoses: The Forgotten Flooder

It’s easy to forget about washing machine hoses. After all, most of us never see them. They lie coiled behind your washing machine, out of sight and out of mind. But there’s a lurking problem in their passive existence: they fail. Rubber washing machine hoses are one of the leading causes of water damage in homes across America and are responsible for over $150 million in flood damage annually. Will your home be next?

As you go about your laundry, you likely don’t give a second thought to the valves and hoses that supply hot and cold water to your machine. That all changes the minute one of your washing machine hoses breaks. Water gushes into your home, quickly covering the floor with an inch of water that seeps and soaks into walls, trim, hardwood, carpet, and any item that happens to be in its way. The amount of damage can be extreme, including not just the immediately spoiled property, but also the lingering side effects of mold and mildew. Live in an apartment building or townhouse? Your leak could affect your neighbors, too. Think of the insurance claim headaches!

How to Avoid a Leaking Washing Machine Hose

Inspecting your washing machine hoses periodically can help you avoid the dreaded leak or flood, but what does a faulty hose look like? First, check the connection between the washing machine and the hose, and between the hose and the valve on your wall. These should feel snug and secure, without any obvious signs of wear or damage. Look for kinks, cracks, bulges, or awkward twists in the hose. These can happen by accident when your washing machine is moved, or occur slowly over time as vibrations push it nearer or farther from the wall. Does something feel loose? That’s a red flag. Feel any moisture or see any mold? Call SSI stat – you’re in imminent risk of a flood.

Prevent crimps and kinks in your hose by adding a spacer between the wall and your washing machine, leaving about 4” of room for your hose to rest easily. A block of wood (even a couple old text books) can do the trick nicely. This will prevent the washer from drifting.

What Causes Washer Hoses to Leak?

A washing machine hose can break, burst, or leak for any number of reasons. Here are some of the most common causes that we see:

  • Age | The most common factor influencing the integrity of a washing machine hose is age. Most hoses need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years (if a leak does occur, your insurance company will certainly ask you when you last replaced the hose).
  • Material | There are two types of washer hoses: rubber or stainless steel. Rubber hoses are less expensive, but they are often unreinforced and of poorer quality. Stainless steel hoses may be a bit more expensive, but they last longer and can endure much more wear and tear.
  • Installation | If your hose was incorrectly installed or has been crushed between your washing machine and wall, it’s likely to fail. Missing the rubber gasket on the valve is an install error we see frequently, too.

Of course, nothing is perfect 100% of the time. Some washing machine hoses are defective from the start. It’s crucial that you regularly inspect the integrity and placement of your hose to prevent a worst-case scenario from happening. We recommend checking your hoses at least twice a year. To help you remember, make a note to inspect the washer hoses when you adjust the clocks for Daylight Savings. If something looks wrong and you don’t want to attempt a replacement hose yourself, SSI can certainly help. We also have you covered with LeakSMART, the high-tech leak detection and notification system that alerts you when a leak is just beginning. Request an appointment today and have Northern Virginia’s most reputable plumber at your house in no time!

There’s more to know!

Explore our handy infographic we developed to share some of the facts and figures about washing machine hoses with you:

Infographic about Washing Machine Hoses

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