There’s a ticking time bomb in your house right now, waiting to strike when you least expect it. In fact, there might even be more than one, and each can cause thousands and thousands of dollars in damage.
We are talking about faulty appliance hoses, of course.
Consider your humble washing machine: According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), washing-machine failures cost an average of more than $5,000, and faulty hoses are responsible for more than half of those failures.
You can take steps to defuse these ticking time bombs — or at least make them less likely to go off. Here are the common hoses and tubes you should be checking:
Most washing machines come with rubber hoses that connect to your water supply — hoses that can wear out and eventually burst. The IBHS says to check frequently for blisters, worn tubing, stress cracks and loose connections. Even if there is no obvious wear, replace hoses every five years. Use a reinforced steel-braided hose, as they are less likely to fail.
Although you should clean the lint trap in your dryer with every load, danger lurks behind the dryer as well. Flexible plastic or foil ducting can easily trap lint and increase the risk of fire, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency recommends the use of a rigid or semi-rigid metal duct instead. Whichever you use, be sure to disconnect and clean the ducting annually.
If your refrigerator has an icemaker or water dispenser, it also has a hose connecting it to the water supply. Replace the standard hose with a steel-braided line for added security.
Dishwasher leaks can easily go undetected, so it’s important to check these connections regularly as well. Make sure that hoses and lines have no kinks, and periodically remove and clean the filter in the dishwasher, which is designed to stop food pieces from making it into the drain hose.
At least once a year (typically when you fire up the grill for the first time after winter), check the hose connecting the fuel source to the burners. Simply brush it with some soapy water, turn the gas on (do not light the grill) and check the hose for air bubbles. If you see any, replace the hose and fitting.
In addition to checking your hoses regularly and replacing them when needed, there are monitoring systems available now that can automatically shut off your water supply in the event of a failure. Some detect leaks with moisture indicators, while at least one new system actually checks your water meter for unusual activity.
To further protect you, your homeowners insurance may cover certain damage that results from appliance hose failures. But, it all depends on the circumstances of your situation and on your specific policy. You may find that an appliance hose failure is not covered by your insurance, so it’s best to maintain your appliances to avoid damage in the first place.
If you have questions about your homeowners insurance coverage or need help with a claim, we are happy to help.