Stainless Steel Hose
“The Emperor’s New Hose”
Before the flexible connector was developed, residential water supply lines were routinely “hard plumbed”, meaning a plumber had to size, cut, flare, fit and solder a copper line in place. Hard plumbing provided durability and safety for homeowners, but quality costs, and the cost cutters wanted a cheaper alternative.
A flexible rubber connector, with an easily attached universal fitting on each end, and available in various lengths was developed. Soon after it’s introduction, owners complained that the black rubber connector was unsightly. It didn’t match the porcelain and chrome in a bathroom, or wherever it was visible. In response, the connectors were jacketed by silvery braided steel wire, which was also available in decorator gold. They became visually appealing to otherwise unsuspecting consumers and promoted by economy minded developers, contractors and resellers.
Production costs were soon reduced by replacing the original 2 ply rubber hose (like the OEM hose) with an unreinforced single rubber tube. Production costs were reduced further by replacing the rubber tubing for plastic. They were comparatively inexpensive, easy to install, and looked snappy. These new, increasingly profitable connectors, gradually created a profitable aftermarket for retailers, impressed do-it-your-selfers with their economy and ease of installation, and didn’t require the services of a repair plumber. What’s not to love?
It wasn’t long before someone came up with an idea to expand the connector product line with yet another “innovative” idea. By increasing the connector’s tube inner diameter to 3/8”, increasing the lengths to 4 to 6 feet, and attaching the same coupling used on OEM hoses on each end, the braided wire washing machine inlet hose was born. Bingo! It was soon accepted by an unsuspecting public, and more than a few plumbers and appliance repairman, as a welcome replacement for the infamous OEM hose. They were led to believe that the steel braid somehow kept the plastic tube under it from making a bubble, thus adding protection. That’s simply not true!
But alas, they do fail. The coupling can be pulled or blown off, while that pretty wire can have loose ends that puncture the plastic inner tube. In my opinion, it’s a second generation bad idea. The braid is purely cosmetic and adds no strength to the hose’s construction, but does resist a vandal’s knife or razor, as advertised. Despite claims to the contrary, the “stainless steel” wire braid oxidizes when subjected to chloramine, an increasingly popular water purifier. Loose wire ends can puncture the weak inner tube.
Why do we here at FLOODCHEK, with good reason, wryly refer to the braided wire hose as “The emperor’s new hose?” It “looks” so much better, and with all that steel wire, it must be stronger than OEM hoses. Uninformed consumers and retailers really perceive these hoses as superior. Even I admit they look pretty snazzy. The facts simply do not support their perception. As in the emperor’s new clothes, perception trumps reality.
There’s even a plastic braided hose that tries to mimic the real steel braiding just mentioned. More cost cutting. Since it’s minimally constructed and cheaper than stainless steel braid, the profit margin’s better. Who cares about product safety, when increased profits are overriding factors? Experienced vandals won’t be fooled, however, and it’s easily cut. A third generation bad idea with a General Electric brand boasting a couple of seals of approval. Would a consumer notice the difference? Would you?
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.” John Ruskin
In 1989, I managed a 40 story luxury condominium in Hawaii. I experienced first hand how much destruction and misery a burst washing machine could cause when it ruptured late one night, causing more than $200,000 in property damage to 20 apartments from the 34th to the 17th floor. The water flowed undetected for at least several hours, until an early riser got out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and put his feet onto a soaked carpet. Big headache! It may well happen again if the managers and directors didn’t find a solution.
The first idea was to retrofit the washer hoses in each of the 400 apartments on a regularly scheduled maintenance cycle, say every three years. This was before the days when manufacturers thought the same. Such a program would be expensive and difficult to implement. Purchasing, scheduling, and installing 400 pairs of hoses would be no mean feat to repeat every 3 years. There had to be a better program.
I searched for a high quality, longer lasting washing machine hose that would not have to be changed every 3 years. I purchased and tested every hose available, including various steel braided designs, only to conclude that a superior washer hose didn’t exist.
Familiarized with industrial grade hose and coupling design, I needed a prototype. It would have the same serviceable 12 to 14 year life of a washing machine and never have to be replaced. My concept was rather straightforward. I wanted to assemble the highest quality machined brass couplings available with the strongest hose I could find. It would be quality engineered, NOT cost engineered (read “cheap”).
The result of my efforts was the FLOODCHEK high security washing machine inlet hose. Floodchek hoses are guaranteed to for 20 years or the life of the washing machine. There’s no need to shut off the supply valves when the machine’s not in use. Floodchek is built to take it. In 20 years not a single Floodchek hose has ever failed. Floodchek enjoys a ZERO percent failure rate!
Celebrating a 20 year perfect safety record, FLOODCHEK hoses protect tens of thousands single family residences and high-rise condominiums from Honolulu to Hartford. Mechanical engineers specify FLOODCHEK as original equipment on high-rise buildings. Insurance agents purchase Floodchek and recommend them to their clients. We’re pleased to announce that the Whirlpool Corporation has chosen FLOODCHEK as original equipment on the new Kitchen Aid Pro Laundry washing machines. Google KHWV01RSS, scroll down to “features” and read the third bullet point. FLOODCHEK, the engineer’s choice. “You wouldn’t put recaps on a Ferrari, would you?”, said one. An accurate analogy and well received compliment.