An observant client phoned Whywait Plumbing this week asking, “what do rust spots mean on the flexible hoses on my tap in the kitchen sink.” 

Rust is always a warning sign and in a kitchen cupboard, rust spots on the exterior of the stainless steel braided flexible hoses are a good indication that the hose should be replaced before it bursts. The rust is caused by either of the following:

  • chemical leakage from household chemicals stored in the cupboard
  • deterioration of the inner rubber tube liner

Essentially all stainless steel braided flexible hoses are a stainless steel braided sheath over an inner tube, usually made of highly durable EDPM rubber. The water pressure forces the EDPM rubber inner tubing to expand against the braiding to avoid any uneven stress pressure and preventing further expansion.

If the inner tube liner ruptures and starts to leak the braided stainless steel is also unlikely to rupture at the same time. Usually, water will just leak through the braided stainless steel initially which will result in either rust spots, water leaking or ultimately if the warning signs go unseen a burst hose with the resultant flooding.

Like all plumbing fixtures, a stainless steel flexible hose has a life expectancy and does require periodic checking based on:

  • ensuring water pressures are not exceeding 500kPa
  • ensuring water temperature is not excessive
  • are not being affected by corrosive chemicals
  • are installed correctly and the hose is not kinked or stretched

Preventative maintenance is always the most positive way to prevent plumbing emergencies which is why Whywait Plumbing Service Partners receive annual testing of stainless steel flexible hose tap connectors where we identify the location and condition of all flexible tap or hose connections in your home used on your sink, vanity and toilet cisterns to ensure you have no potential bursts lurking in your kitchen or bathroom.

Regular inspections are a key component in minimising the risk of a flooded house from a burst flexible hose and regardless our recommendation is to replace them every 3-5 years as part of a proactive preventative maintenance plan.

By Gary Mays

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