We here at the blog have spent a lot of time recently on water heaters, a major purchase that can leave consumers with a serious headache. But there is one thing far worse than a non-working water heater – a water heater that leaks, puddles and floods. In fact, any water leak, whether from a toilet, dishwasher or sink, is a homeowner’s worst nightmare – whether a small leak that goes unnoticed or a major component failure that causes thousands of dollars in damage to your floors, walls and carpets, water damage is a scary thing. But the culprit may not be your water heater, dishwasher or washing machine. The problem may be a simple piece that often goes unnoticed – defective braided stainless steel water supply connectors manufactured by Watts. According to various internet complaints, Watts supply lines suffer from a hidden problem that causes them to leak and, on occasion, burst, potentially causing thousands of dollars of damage in the process.
Water supply connectors are an important part of any home appliance that depends on water – water heaters, dishwashers, faucets, toilets, refrigerators, ice makers and washing machines all use them. Water supply connectors help get water from your home’s water lines to the appliance, hopefully without leaking in the process. More expensive than traditional copper connectors, braided stainless steel supply connectors like those offered by Watts are still expected to offer the same functionality and reliability in a more flexible product that fits easily into any space. Watts braided stainless steel water supply connectors are made from an extruded core of PVC tubing. The core is then over-braided with polyester yarn and another layer of PVC material, and a final layer of stainless steel braiding covers the entire product to provide a finished look and, supposedly, protection against leaks. The supply lines connect to the appliances using fittings attached to the ends of the lines.
Although Watts touts their products’ reliability and “protection from vibration and bursting under extreme pressure surges,” research indicates that their stainless steel water supply line connectors suffer from a variety of issues. Some users believe that the inner lining is not well-manufactured and can harden, crack and deteriorate as it’s exposed to your home’s water. As the internal PVC tubing hardens, it begins to crack and water begins to seep out through the braided stainless steel exterior. Water heater supply connectors are particularly susceptible to these problems – the interior lining seems unable to handle the intense temperatures, causing the lining to fail and water to leak from around the connectors.
When Watts supply connectors fail just behind the fitting have witnessed Watts braided stainless steel connectors fail just behind the fitting, a failure that allows large quantities of water to leak at a much faster clip and causes even greater damage to your home.
Supply connectors may be inexpensive relative to the cost of your appliance, but a failed connector may cost you thousands of dollars in damage all the same.
Nor are Watts’ troubles limited to flexible stainless steel supply connectors. Watts claims that its “Floodsafe”-brand connectors will prevent catastrophic water damage. As the Watts website explains, “FloodSafe® is actuated by flow of cold or hot water in excess of the design flow rate indicated on the label. Once a downstream flow of water in excess of the flow required by any standard fixture/appliance is detected, FloodSafe® assumes a burst and the flow of water is shutoff.” But in addition to being extremely difficult to use, Floodsafe connectors sound like they actually make floods more likely. And just like other Watts braided supply line connectors, Floodsafe connectors seem to break and leak right at the fitting.
The class action experts at Cafferty Clobes are investigating potential claims against Watts in connection with its line of braided stainless steel supply connectors, including Floodsafe products. If you or anyone you know has had a Watts supply connector fail, particularly if it caused property damage, please contact us so we can help you hold Watts responsible for knowingly selling these defective products.