All major appliances in your home need to be inspected and maintained. This includes your Heating and AC systems, your water heater, and your washing machine. The recommended timing of this maintenance is one year, so when you are draining your water heater or scheduling a service for your air conditioner and heater, it would be a good idea to check the water inlet hoses on your washing machine.
Replacing hoses is not a big job and it does not cost a lot of money. Compare that to the cost of one of them bursting and flooding your laundry room or house. Besides making a big mess, you may have to replace flooring and that could really cost a lot of money. Even if your insurance covers it, it may be unfortunate and you will have the inconvenience of repairs.
There are two things to check on the hoses. First, look at the connections to the valves to see if there are any apparent leaks. If it feels moist, you may only need to tighten it a bit. Next, examine the condition of the hoses. If you notice bulges, cracks, or rust, you need to replace it as soon as possible. You especially need to check your hoses regularly if you have the cheaper ones with steel fittings. These are brass plated and will rust over time. Also, the rubber has a tendency to crack where it is connected.
One rule of thumb you can follow is to replace the black rubber ones every two years and the stainless steel ones that are braided every five years. Some experts say to replace any type of hose every three years.
When buying replacement hoses you will have a choice between rubber and stainless steel. If you opt for rubber, make sure it is reinforced with a mesh to increase its strength. The stainless steel braided hoses are often called burst resistant because they are more durable. These carry a longer warranty than the rubber hoses.
Here are two final tips. Make sure you know where the water shut-off valves are in case a hose bursts. Also, allow four inches of clearance between the washer and the wall so the hoses will not kink and get damaged.