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Water Heater Hose Failure - WATT Stainless Steel Hose

Water leaks in your house are one of the most damaging and messy things to happen to any homeowner. Loose water sucks on so many levels. Mildew, Mold, Dry Rot, Stains, Drywall, Flooring, base board damage….you get the idea. There are two areas where flexible hoses are used. The laundry room for your washer and your water heater. The Natural Handyman has a good posting on Laundry hoses which applies to Water Heater hoses as well.
It makes sense in both locations as both your washer and water heater have limited life spans and at some point will need replacement. Both manufacturers are in the business of moving product and not making your life easier. Probably the best illustration of this is washer commercials. They talk about features, capacity, colors, etc. None of them talk about longevity or only needing one.

One of the more important connections in your plumbing supply are the connections at your water heater. There are two. The cold water supply into the water heater, and the hot water outlet for your house. This is most often accomplished with a flexible hose.
This is a photo of a pair of WATT Stainless Steel Hoses. They both failed in less than 4 years.

These were purchased at Lowes, and are still stocked. Probably available at the orange store too.
They looks like a braided stainless high pressure hose such as found in heavy construction equipment for the flexible hydraulic fluid which is under many times the pressure of a domestic water supply. This is not the case here. This is a demonstration of sizzle over steak.
These look like a heavy duty product. They are not. They are crap and should not be used under any circumstances.

Both of these hoses failed at the same point. Crappy manufacture in any case. I do not have high water pressure nor any other cause that would say it is not the manufactures fault. Both lines failed. Hot and Cold side.

They failed less than 6 months apart. I should have replaced them both at the same time, but there were other concerns like sucking up all that damn water and drying out the utility room. The other one failed the day before yesterday and has been replaced. I talked with my plumber so that I would not have to pencil in this chore anytime soon. Here are the new lines.

These are one piece Falcon Stainless Steel Corrugated lines. They are what my plumber uses for all installs and retrofits so he doesn’t have to return to replace them. My Plumber is very good. Good enough for me. These are more expensive like everything else but are worth it.
Here is the tag if you decide you want to do this yourself.

These are made by Falcon Stainless Inc. You will probaby need to find a commercial hardware or plumbing supply store for these. Highly Recommended!
Here is what the kit looks like.
Borrowed from the Falcon Stainless Inc. site.
Did I mention the LIFETIME warranty?
This is one of those deals where you want to replace both at the same time.

46 comments to Water Heater Hose Failure – WATT Stainless Steel Hose

  • Again I say, Thank You SO Much! This is a great post. I’ve been really worried about my water heater blowing up since it’s 12 years old and it’s never been drained or maintained in any way. What? I’m really busy… :-)

    In your opinion, are water heaters “blowing” and leaking water all over primarily – or only – caused by the hoses failing? Could the body of the water heater fail too? I guess I’m asking: if I replace the hoses with something like what you recommend, can I stop worrying that my 12 year old water heater will suddenly spew water all over?

  • Heather,
    Yes, the majority of problems are the hose connections. As for the heater itself ‘blowing’ up, not so much. On all tank water heaters sold in the US is a pressure relief valve which is activated by a build up of pressure in the tank. The caveat here is lack of maintenance can cause the build up of sediment to fuse the pressure relief valve making it useless.

    As for the maintenance, bad girl! But you are not alone. Out of site out of mind…

    Here in Arizona we have a high mineral content in the water which only accelerates these problems. That is why there is such a booming business in faucet replacements and shower heads.

    Lack of maintenance is the second leading cause of replacement/failure. Over time sediment builds up and reduces the ability of your heater to do its job. This shows up in two ways, both with are subtle. First, in gas heaters sediment builds up on the bottom of the tank insulating it, causing your heater to run longer to heat less water which costs you money.
    In extreme cases, the burner will burn out.

    In electric heaters, sediment not only builds up on the base of the tank but also around the heating elements insulating them, forcing them to run longer to heat your water. Costs you money here too.

    Second is not having enough hot water for long showers. Or having to wait between showers in a multi-person household. Or not being able to use the shower tub while you are doing laundry…

    You should probably think about a new heater.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  • Buzzy

    I just took a midnight panic call from a friend describing a leak with the same hose, manufacturer and failure point. She thinks it was replaced about 6 years ago. Maybe the Chinese have adopted better quality control practices since then. Yeah, right… Thank you for the info on the superior Falcon product alternative.

  • Brad Kendall

    @-seff-

    You can get the Falcon stainless steel hoses from plumbingsupply.com and plumbingworld.com for as low as $4.99 for a 3/4″x3/4″ 12 inch hose. I’ve just ordered two for my replacement water heater that I picked up today as I wanted to avoid using the corrugated copper hoses or the Watt stainless steel flex hoses that the salesman was recommending.

  • tj90

    Thanks for the tip on the hoses. This is a solution that the big box home improvement stores dont offer. I was going to install braided water heater hoses to my Bosch FL washing machine & dryer aquastop hoses but I was concerned about how the chinese braided hoses collapse when bent 90 degrees. These hoses will maintain integrity and shape for many many years. With a 2nd story washing machine installation, these hoses give great piece of mind.

  • Anonymous

    THE MATERIAL INSIDE THE WATTS WATER HEATER STAINLESS STEEL BRAIDED HOSES ARE NOT ABLE TO WITHSTAND THE TEMPS THEY OPERATE UNDER. THE MATERIAL IS DETERIORATING AWAY INSIDE THE HOSE NEAR THE CONNECTIONS, TYPICALLY CLOSEST TO THE WATER HEATER.

  • Terri Lewis Stevens

    Thanks for the post about the Falcon Product. I have just wasted my ENTIRE day trying to install a new water heater only to have the WATTS connection lines fail behind the new unit, soaking the entire closet and garage floor. UGH! Even tried to replace them with two new ones…those failed, too!!! Thankfully we have not pushed the unit back up on it’s perch and have resolved to find another product. My Honey knew that this type of hose existed and you have put a name to it-thanks!

  • Jared Peters

    After my second braided hose failure in under 5 months I removed the time bombs and installed copper flex. Unfortunately I can’t as easily replace my water heater; it’s a mess! Water leaked down through the upper fittings and infiltrated all areas. It’s a shame the big box stores sell these crappy hoses! My water heater closet “was” brand new construction; shame on me for not hooking up the pan drain… I learned my lesson the hard way; too bad it is at the expense of crappy Chinese products!!!

  • i installed watts flex ss hoses about 6 years ago, and where i had my problem, was where the ss meets the crimped part, it rusted into a bulk of rust, which says its not made of ss. its like the ss muffler, that has parts that rust on your car. so ss in only a marketing tool to get your money.

  • What a great blog post! And thanks for the plug. Braided connectors really are a terrible product, and here’s a fun tidbit – braided connector failures rank in the top 3 for homeowner’s insurance claims yearly in the US. And @Jared – copper is also not a great solution. Not only is it more expensive than stainless steel, the copper flex work hardens and ends up kinking, crimping, and flattening, thereby reducing flow.

    And yes, the lifetime warranty comes from the confidence we have in our engineering and manufacturing. Nobody else offers it because nobody else can stand behind their product like we do!

  • Steve

    I have installed dozens of these stainless braided supply lines as a major landlord and they fail on the hot side after @6 years. Go with solid copper flex or hard pipe if not in an earthquake zone.

    These stainless flex lines SUCK BIG TIME.

  • john

    I bought Watts stainless steel braided connectors from Home Depot. Heating side burst after 2yrs. I came home to a mess because braided hose sprayed water like a sprinkler. I am going back to flexible copper. I work in large bldg. maintenance operation and hearing more horror stories about these garbage connectors from China. Something needs to be done!! Thanks for excellent info!!!

  • Jeff

    I had this exact thing happen to me this weekend with the same product. The inner lining just vanished at the end by the tank on the heated side of the water heater. Water was spraying out of the braid. It deteriorated into a mush and most was gone for the first two inches. I had mine for about 6 years. I WOULD REPLACE IT IF YOU HAVE ONE IMMEDIATLY! I soldered in copper and a union in it’s place. The flexible stainless looks good!

  • Judy K

    The pictures you posted of the failed Watts hoses are exactly the same as the pictures I took last week after ours failed and flooded my den from the ceiling. I don’t know why builders put water heaters in attics (here in Texas), but I have 2 huge ones up there. We replaced both electric water heaters and their hoses 4 years ago. One Watts hose failed last week and flooded the entire ceiling and caved in on me as I was putting buckets out under the water. We cut all water off and my husband replaced all of them with copper flex hose. As he was disconnecting 2 of the hoses, they collapsed in his hand and bits of white hose came out of the end. But we will use your suggestion on the Falcon hose. My daughter lives 4 blocks away and she called yesterday…..water hose leaking on water heater in garage. In was minor since it was in the garage but it was a WATTS Stainless Steel mesh hose too! Yes, the white rubber PVC linings were mush, deteriorated. Unbelievable! They only have a one year warranty and yes we bought at Home Depot. I have thousands in damaage to my home and all the contents in the den. Thank you for this post.

  • Victoria

    Just had the fire department out today because of this hose. It triggered my smoke detector. Water damage all in my attic. Is there a recall on these.

  • Jo El Sullivan

    Just had the second Watts hose failure in 6 months on 2 different
    hot water heaters. Both time they failed in the same place as
    described above and sprayed water into the 3rd floor attic room.
    Discovered the water leak from dripping water into the first floor
    kitchen. My plumber is so concerned about this problem that he is
    going back to his clients to replace all the hoses. Is the Falcon
    hose that much better or should we go to all copper? The water temperature is high since the hot water has to travel some distance to get to our bathroom. Do Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware know
    about this problem. I am done with products from China.

  • Beverly

    I had the same issue with the Watts Stainless water heater hose on the hot water side failing due to a pin size hole developing in the hose. My attic, a bathroom wall, ceiling, floor and pantry ceiling were all damaged due this deffective product in less than 4 years of being installed on May 4th, 2012. I filed an insurance claima and my insurance company paid to repair the damages less the cost of my deductible. They are attempting to subrogate against the manuafacturer of these hoses my deductible. I hope they are successful but am thinking that I may file a lawsuit due to an obviously defective product. I believe a the threat of a class action lawsuit may be in order since this appears to be a very big issue for a lot of consumers who has installed this product in the past!

  • Arnie

    In both my bathrooms I used Watts flexible lines to hook up the water to the sink faucet. Mine were the reinforced white ones. A few months ago one failed while I was out of the house and I came back to several rooms being flooded. Which meant new kitchen and bath cabinets and new flooring. Ins. Co. was looking at going after them. The other day one line in my other bathroom gave way. Luckily, it was a ‘slow’ leak when it was caught and it only cost me a new cabinet (out-of-pocket).

    Both failed just below the screw-on connector. Exactly at the place in your photo above.

    If there is a class-action count me in.

  • Sean Mc

    One of the WATT flex hoses connected to my water heater failed yesterday. Same as yours but the hole was bigger and further down towards the middle of the line. It was three years old I believe. I’m glad I came to this site because I’m going to replace the other hose too after reading all of these horror stories.

  • Woody

    Same thing happened to me today. New water heater 4 years ago, and the guy who installed it (a crook a who stole about $2k from me) used these cheap braided lines. The supply line sprung a leak today and sprayed the attic like sprinkler. The plumber who fixed replaced both with these flexible stainless steel lines.

  • Brook Raymond

    Same Watts stainless steel connector failure. The plastic inside the braid catastrophically failed causing hot water to atomize throughout our crawl space. The water dept. notified us of a spike in water usage which had been going on for a week. Insulation 40 feet away was dripping and falling to the ground.

    What causes a great, well established American industrial company like Watts to tarnish their reputation by selling such a horrible product.

  • Richard

    Thanks for the warning. I had a Watts 18″ hose fail after about four years. My heater is on the second floor and thank God I was in an adjacent room when I first heard the dripping coming from the burst hot water hose.

    I replaced the hose (with another Watts hose). When I cut off the braiding I found that the inner material was so mushy I could pinch it off with my finger nails! Needless to say I’m replacing that worthless piece of crap as soon as I can get a Falcon stainless replacement for both hot and cold lines.

  • i used the Jones stephens Plumbest braided stainless lines i bought from a supply house for plumbing.I’ve had them on for 1 1/2 years.So far so good.Suppose to have a lifetime warranty.Has anyone heard of any problems with this brand? Thank you, Bob

  • jim

    3am in the morning and my watts lines failed and only 2 month old. Run from these products. Luckily my water heater room is on a concrete slab and in a separate bldg. But still, we lost several hundred gallons of hot water before we realized we had a problem. Any store that stocks these should be ashamed to sell them.

  • Dave D

    Well you can add my THREE failures of the exact same Watts “braided” hose. Tonight was my latest. This time it was the cold side of the HW heater. Pin hole leak near where the hose is crimped onto the fitting. Puts a heck of a lot of water out in only minutes. (Not to mention hours). I lost one about 6 months ago on the hot side of the same heater. Up until tonight I thought it was simply galvanic corrosion enhanced by the hot water. Guess not, it’s just a worthless product. My first failure was 2 yrs ago at one of my rent houses. I changed both hoses to convoluted tubing after that failure. Now I have to go on a mission of replacing all the Watts hoses in 2 or 3 other installations where I have installed them over the years. When I went to the big orange store tonight to buy the replacement solid convoluted copper pipe, the same old Watts hoses were still hanging on the shelf for more unsuspecting folks to buy. Watts WILL get an ear full from me this time…

  • Alan Bartlett

    A Watts 18″ SS flex line developed a leak at the flange and flooded a hall in my home last night. Very fortunately, I was home and discovered the leak before it became a high $ catastrophe. The posts from others having similar failures with Watts, is really appreciated. I definitely decided to replace the other 5 Watts ss flex lines in my home with something having better reported reliability.

  • Ramon

    My 18″ watts stainless steel failed with a big leak after only 3 years… Made in china

  • Harry McLean

    I am on my computer searching for new hot water tank lines as I noticed failures of both water lines(Watts 18″ SS Flex)within days of each other. Both are about 1.5-2 years old..
    This is a great post!!! I will alter my purchase, no more “braided hoses”…….

  • Same story here; mine is on the hot side of the HOT water heater. Mine failed around the crimp after around 5 years. Anybody interested in a CA suit? It seems this may be what is necessary to stop these from being sold…

  • aaron michael

    I had exactly the same failures in both Watts connectors less than two years after installation. First one failed and I supposed it was an anomaly. I replaced it myself and “no big deal.” The 2nd one failed 4 months later when I was out of the country. My wife spent nearly $300 on a plumber for an “emergency repair.” He told her he had seen this failure often with the Watts units. Thanks for posting this info. I wish I had read it before I used these Watts connectors. I’m now back home and preparing to replace the remaining one.

  • Anonymous

    Damn, I read this just AFTER I got back from Lowes with a new WATT hose and replaced the old WATT hose. Guess I get to wait and see how long until it breaks. :(

  • Patty

    Our Watts connector failed at a bend in the connector on the hot water outlet. Will be replacing both.

  • Rick Green

    Wow – was considering these and so glad everyone has posted their problems. Honestly this sounds like a class-action suit. Save your receipts and pictures!
    Now I’m wondering about the stainless jacketed hose that feeds the dish washer…

  • Cy

    My earlier post from a couple of months ago seem to have convieniently disappeared. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!
    All of these connectors “Falcon” “Watts” and “BrassCraft” are ALL “MADE IN CHINA.”

    I will see how the BrassCraft and Falcon hold up going forward.
    Almost impossible to get either in Canada but I managed to overcome all their inane corporate roadblocks.

  • Scott

    My neighbor’s failed over Labor Day Weekend.
    Hot side, about 1″ into the braided part.
    Most people would assume a “Water Heater Connector” would work with hot water.
    Excellent post and responses. Thank you.

    I don’t go
    to ho depo

  • Rick Green

    These stainless steel flexible hoses just don’t make sense. You only need a one-time flexible hose, like the Falcon units. The stainless-mesh jacket only holds in the inner tubing (and looks cool), but then it can also break and pierce the tubing! They are too flexible and move with flow and pressure changes, which contributes to the failure of the inner tubing.

    I ended up using the Falcon Stainless Steel Corrugated hoses from a local small hardware store (one of those been-in-business for 80 year places). They were easy to bend into the right positions and they only thing was they leaked at the fittings even though they were gasketed and I cranked down on them pretty good. But I went another turn and have had no problems now for 3 months.

  • Terri Burke

    Just replaced the second one of these hoses in 8 months. Ours were the hot water hoses, and the spray was from above the fitting coming out of the braid. Our heater is under our basement stairs so now I have to pull off wall board. We will be ordering the others this week…..Thank you for the post. Should forward all the responses for the last two years to Lowes to show they stock yet another crappy product.

  • lyn

    Same story here; pin hole leak on the hot side of the hot water heater. Mine failed about an inch from the crimp next to the water heater after around 5 years. Cut into the hose to see what happened and the inner tubing was like mush. Changed both lines to the copper flex. Why do the big box stores continue to sell a product that is known to fail and have the potential to cause so much damage?

  • Patti Jeffries

    We have a solar water heater, and have had two failures on the WATTS braided hoses in the last 6 months. We have replaced all 3 hoses today after the second failure. The hoses will be replaced with solid copper lines next month. There is no excuse for shoddy this workmanship, and that is exactly what it is. The new hoses say to check them every 6 months. The original ones did not say that or we would have been monitoring they much closer.

  • Ken Perry

    I had both of mine fail that I installed at my office a couple years ago. The first one cost me about $5000 in damage, the one this AM only did minor damage. Does anyone know if Watts is making any offers to cover these issues?

  • Lorri

    I just replaced on the cold side after mine failed after 6 years… Same Watt hose as everyone above. I also question if watt is making any concessions for consumers?? Two carpeted rooms flooded and wood platform and Sheetrock in the heater closet.
    $$

  • Mary

    Add our home to the list of casualties. The WATTS 24″ stainless steel flexible hose had a small leak between the fitting and the mesh. The hose was on the cold water supply side, connected to the top our hot water heater. This hose installed 3 years ago. Water leak was slow and ran under flooring. Don’t know extent of damage as of yet. After replacing the hose, I was looking for information on WATTS warranty and found this site, already had replaced with another WATTS hose. I will definitely be looking for a replacement hose after reading all the posts! Is there recalls or any class actions pending on WATTS ?

  • Judy K

    I would like to update my first post of March 12, 2012. After the Watts flexible hose failed and caused more than $20,000 in water damage to my home, my insurance company requested we mail them the faulty hoses and said they would look into other claims concerning this hose. That was 2 years ago, and what a surprise I had to day when I got a letter in the mail from my homeowners insurance, MetLife. They had followed up on the claim with the hoses and collected damages from the manufacturer. They also included a check to us to reimburse our out of pocket deductible of more than $2,500.00. I don’t know if there is a law suit, but thanks to MetLife, they got their money back and I got my deductible back.

  • Doug

    What about Lasco hoses made in USA

  • HandyAndy

    White specs or white flecs of plastic in your water? We couldn’t figure it out until today when our WATTS braided stainless hose ruptured. I took it off and the interior of the hose is a white plastic that after 2 years is no longer flexible and is disintegrating into our water, clogging up the screens in our faucets and filters. Planned obsolescence of a product in this case has cost WATTS a customer forever. And I do a lot of this kind of work. Side note – our city installed back flow valves at all meters without notifying the public. If you don’t have an expansion tank the pressure in your home system can spike and start causing everything to leak or rupture. Just good to know

  • ccpanel

    watts failed less than 2 years.

    took POS hoses back to lowes-they refunded no questions.

    bought copper flex-one fore the burst hose that filled my garage with water in one day, and for the one that hadnt burst yet.

    my garage door guys werent kidding when they said my new door had a great seal…
    too bad it did.
    found out about the leak after work when garage door came up and 6″ of water came out that had built up behind door.

    CHINA CRAP!