Unexpected risks – Flexi hoses
Imagine that you’ve closed your business at about 6 pm on a Friday. Unbeknownst to you, later that evening, water starts flowing from underneath one of the bathroom sinks. As no-one is there to see or stop this, it continues, with water inundating the entire building. By the time you’re aware of this on Monday morning, the building has suffered extensive damage to the floors and the furniture is also damaged. This damage, as well as mould starting to develop, means the business is forced to close for a week.
What is a flexi hose?
Many businesses and homeowners will have little understanding of a serious risk lurking beneath their sinks. Flexible braided hoses, commonly called flexi hoses, are frequently found underneath bathroom or kitchen sinks right across Australia. A flexi hose is a flexible hose with braided or woven stainless steel which has, over time, replaced standard copper pipes. They’ll usually be used to connect water to an appliance, such as a dishwasher, sink or toilet. The flexibility in these hoses makes plumbing connections easier in a range of settings. However, it’s this flexibility that also creates a very real risk of water damaging your property and disrupting your business if the hose fails or bursts.
What could go wrong?
It’s quite simple really—when the stainless steel outer of a flexi hose fails by either corroding or fraying, the inner tubes of the hose expand to a point of bursting. And what could this mean for your property? The scenario at the beginning of this article highlights the damage which can occur and then the potential impact of this on the operations of the business.
What can you do about this?
Use a qualified plumber – There may be a temptation for some people to consider installing flexi hoses themselves; however, the majority of issues with flexi hoses come about due to poor installation. Therefore, always use a qualified plumber to be sure flexi hoses are correctly installed.
Create a maintenance program – Flexi hoses should be checked for damage approximately every six months. When undertaking these checks, be on the lookout for leaks, bulging pipes and fraying or rusting stainless steel. Your plumber may be able to assist you with this process.
Only use quality products – While all flexi hoses have a limited lifespan, some will last longer than others. Your qualified plumber should only be using products which adhere to the WaterMark Certification Scheme and carry the recognised WaterMark logo. While a high cost isn’t a guarantee of high quality, be mindful when trying to limit spending as sometimes cheap options will be of a lower quality.
Replacement program – Quality flexi hoses are generally thought to have a lifespan of about ten years; however, this can vary, and some have been known to burst within a few months of installation. It’s therefore recommended that hoses are replaced approximately every eight years, unless maintenance checks suggest it should happen sooner. If you’ve moved into a new premises and you aren’t sure of the age of the flexi hoses, consider replacing them all to be on the safe side. This may seem overly cautious; however, the time and money spent doing this will be much less than dealing with water damage to your business.
Storage of chemicals nearby – It’s very common to store cleaning products in cupboards under sinks, which is where you’re also likely to find flexi hoses. It’s thought that the chemicals in these cleaning products may contribute to the corrosion of flexi hoses. Therefore, find another safe place to store these products, away from your flexi hoses. Despite this, some pharmacists still believe that risk reduction strategiescan place unrealistic demands on their already busy workloads, ‘It slows me down at the very time I need to be more efficient’. However, embedding safe dispensing practices before an error or crisis occurs can lead to greater efficiencies—but it does take some planning and teamwork.
Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS Licence No. 233 791. This article contains information of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice. Guild Insurance supports your Association through the payment of referral fees for certain products or services you take out with them.