You probably know someone who has come home from vacation to find water all over the laundry room — and the rest of the house.
The cause? Most likely, the hose connecting the washing machine to the water supply.
That’s the reason for more than half of all washing-machine failures, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
The average cost of these failures? More than $5,000.
But that’s just one of several appliance hoses in your home that that you need to monitor regularly. Here are some quick tips to help keep your appliance hoses – and your overall home – in good shape:
Whenever Possible, Use Steel
Most washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers come with rubber hoses that connect to your water supply, and they don’t always hold up over time. You should check them for blisters, cracks and loose connections, the IBHS says, and replace them every five years, even if they show no signs of damage. When you do replace them, use steel-braided hoses. They’re less likely to fail.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until an appliance hose shows wear and tear to replace it. You may want to replace the rubber hose that comes with a new washing machine with a steel-braided hose right away, for example.
Don’t Run Appliances When You’re Not Home
If a hose bursts, you want to be around to take immediate action. So don’t run the washer or dishwasher if you’re leaving the house soon. And, when you go on vacation, consider turning off your water, or at least the connection in the laundry room. Also lock the water and ice dispenser on the front of your fridge.
It’s Not All About Water
You should think about replacing the flexible ducting that most likely came with your dryer. Lint can easily build up in the creases and increase your risk of fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A rigid or semi-rigid metal duct is better. Either way, though, clean out the ducting every year.
Don’t Forget the Grill
If you use a gas grill, it’s also important to check the hose and fittings between your fuel source and the burners. Brush everything with some soapy water and turn on the gas (without lighting the grill). Do you see any bubbles? It’s time to replace your hose and fittings.
Consider a Monitoring System
Although you’d still need to check and maintain your hoses, there are systems available that can automatically shut off your water when a leak is detected. Just remember, there’s no substitute for good maintenance.
Proper appliance maintenance can help you avoid home damage and maybe even home insurance claims. If a hose failure does occur, your homeowners insurance may help take care of the damage, depending on the circumstances, the specifics of your policy and other factors. If you need help understanding what your homeowners insurance covers, your local insurance agent is an excellent resource for help.