If you toured your house searching for appliances that may leak and cause water damage, what would you accuse? The toilet? The dishwasher? The refrigerator? The washing machine? Actually, eye all of the above with suspicion for the same reason: their aging water supply hoses. 

“Most people don’t think about replacing supply hoses unless they are replacing the appliance itself,” says Justin Graham, Owner, Paul Davis of Portland/Vancouver, WA, who says that supply hoses usually last a fraction of the time that appliances last. “But burst or broken or leaking supply hoses can be the sources of some truly devastating home floods that cause extensive water damage. These leaks often occur at the worst times when nobody is around to shut off the water: when homeowners are asleep, at work or on vacation.”

Did you know? A refrigerator typically lasts 13 years.

Why do water supply hoses fail so often? Most are tucked away in areas that are hot, humid, damp or vulnerable to disturbance. Many endure temperatures extremes – feeding hot water to the dishwasher, for example – that degrade their innards. Chemicals in the water – iron or pH imbalances – can progressively damage the material, corrode hose fittings or build residue that impedes water flow. Water pressure is another factor. “These supply hoses are under constant pressure for years and frequently subjected to the on/off cycle as water is used to run the appliance,” Graham explains, “This cycle exploits weaknesses in the materials or manufacturing process.”

Did you know? A dishwasher typically lasts 9 years.

Burst hoses are easy to find – they rapidly cause catastrophic damage. One customer had a delightful vacation in Aruba but returned to find the ceiling of her kitchen laying on the floor while water rained from above. A toilet supply line on the second floor had given way while she was enjoying the tropical sun. 

Did you know? A washing machine typically lasts 10 years.

Slow drips are harder to identify. One customer realized his toilet hose was leaking only when he noticed the outerwear in his coat closet was wet. Looking up, he spied a large, dripping water stain that was situated directly beneath the guilty supply hose. The puddle on the bathroom floor was small, primarily because the sloping floor quietly and neatly funneled the water under the baseboard and into the closet downstairs.

Did you know? An electric range typically lasts 13 years but a gas range averages a 15-year lifespan.

The best way to avoid supply hose disasters? Replace them regularly with reinforced models. And choose a respected manufacturer – quality materials can’t overcome shoddy construction. Some of the newer options on the market carry warranties that pay damages if they fail within the specified window. In sum, your appliances are built to last many years but the hoses that connect them won’t last nearly that long.

Surprised by water damage? Paul Davis promises to arrive within a few hours of a call for help.