Clark Howard: Washer Hoses Go Bust WSB-TV report

Clark On TV

Check your washing machine water hoses or it could cost you
Clark Howard, WSB-TV consumer adviser

“We were at our home in North Carolina…my family and I for Christmas,” explains Mark Thebaut. “We were told by security people here that water was flowing out of our basement. We immediately came back to Atlanta and went through the house.”

Thebaut’s ceilings had fallen in, his walls were buckling, the basement was completely devastated and all the ceiling tiles were falling down. There was water everywhere,” he recalled.

The cause: his washing machine hoses. When he walked in and saw the water spraying up from the hose where the washing machine sits, he knew. The water shot up and had drained the entire house.

“We figure it must have been going for several days.”

These are the 1999 Christmas memories for the Thebaut family. A faulty washing machine line ruined their North Fulton County home.

It cost $175,000 to fix. And that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to what State Farm insurance has been spending.

David Prusakowski, a State Farm official, said in Georgia alone, State Farm has spent $20 million paying claims for the washing machine hoses. Nationwide that figure swells to $150 million over the past year. The worst part of it all? It can be prevented.

Pam Fredenburg, of Pete’s Plumbing, is all too familiar with rupturing washer lines. She holds the hoses and shows how when an area is bent down, the hose may spring a leak and it starts to spray.

Pam recommends ditching the rubber hoses, and going with metallic, flexible hoses. “These are braided and flexible,” she says. “If you put them on, very easily, very easily, you can prevent a major, major catastrophe.”

Mark Thebaut agrees. “I say replace your hoses, get the metal reinforced (ones),” he says. Thebaut made the switch, but the choice is yours.

The manufacturers recommend that you replace them at least every 5 years or so, but State Farm officials say every 2 years. Pam the plumber says use these steel braided hoses and you won’t need to check them again.

To replace the hoses, you take the valve and turn the handle opposite direction, which turns the water off. Then you just screw the new hoses into the wall.

So how much will it cost? We found steel braided hoses for $10 a piece, and rubber hoses for $5 a piece. It’s small price for prevention when you consider the potential alternative.