It may be hard to believe, but something as simple as a washing machine hose can cause a whole lot of expensive damage to a home. That's why it's important to check regularly that the hose is in good working order and replace it when necessary.
About half of flood damage insurance claims from washing machines are the result of a broken or nonfunctioning hose, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IIBHS). The average cost of a claim is about $5,300 once the deductible is paid.
When reviewing the claims in which the age of the washing machine was known, 25 percent were no more than five years old. About half occurred within the first eight years, and 75 percent met with disaster in the first decade, according to the IIBHS.
Practice preventive maintenance
To prevent a busted washing machine hose from flooding and damaging your house, there are a few simple things you can do:
- Replace rubber hoses every three years. Sometimes you can't see any damage or wear because it happens from the inside out. A plumber can help you determine whether it's time to change out the hose.
- Make it a point to inspect the hoses on your washing machine regularly. Make sure they're not loose and check them carefully for blisters and stress cracks.
- Allow enough space behind the washing machine for the hoses; they shouldn't bunch or kink up. At least four inches of room is best.
- When you go on vacation or will be gone for more than one day, turn off the hot and cold water supply valves. This will reduce failure risks.
- When you do a load of laundry, don't overload the machine. While it's tempting to shove it all in there, don't make the machine work too hard. This could damage the machine, leading to potential flooding.
- Only do laundry when you plan on being home. Don't throw in a load and then leave the house to run errands. It only takes a few minutes of flooding to cause major damage. IIBHS found that 6 percent of flooding due to a malfunctioning hose occurred when nobody was home. While the percentage is on the low side, that percentage experienced damage that was about two and a half times more severe. In dollars, that's about $12,000, versus almost $5,000.
To give yourself peace of mind, the best thing to do is contact a Gainesville-area plumber who will examine your washing machine and hoses. Don't end up with flooded floors, a costly insurance claim and a huge headache.
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