Joe Brown sends in this discussion of his multi-decade issue with the WaterPik oral cleaning appliance. Now that’s tenacity!
He writes: The unit is basically two pounds of fairly rugged equipment (water container, pump) totally hamstrung by the welded connections where the 3/16″ tube exits the pump and then connects to the handle/nozzle. There is no attempt to isolate or protect the join area from the constant vibration and, quite predictably–usually a little after a year of daily use–the hose will spring a leak. It is impossible to repair after that happens.
It seems only common design sense that an easily detachable hose or hose/handle unit would have been made part of the design before now. Simply molding a threaded end (either male or female) as part of the end of the hose (the plastic is certainly hard enough to support threads) is all it would have taken, at probably only a very small cost.
To their credit, the manufacturer will usually replace a unit if it fails close to the year mark. But I’m convinced that there is some planned-obsolescence, bean-counting formula in play that balances the few who return the units to the many who simply discard them and purchase new ones. I can only guess at the pounds of unnecessary waste!
Attached are five images from three separate Water Pik dental appliances with a common mode of failure: Pin-point leaks in the 3/16″ hard-plastic hose.
This is the inside of the handle used on recent and new models. It’s glued/welded shut, and must be cracked open to gain access. The attachment to the nozzle output does have a nipple, but it is not possible to reattach the end of a shortened hose to it once the attachment point begins to leak. Softening the end in hot water, direct radiant heat with gentle widening of the end, with or without glue, both detached very quickly, suggesting that the original was welded.
Full view of the handle/nozzle attachment.
Hose egress from housing. The unshielded contact and rapid vibration made this a common point of failure. The other two failure points are inside the handle, and inside the housing, where the hose connects to the pump.
Where the hose connects to the pump. Same issue as with the handle. The point of failure is often right at the connection, and it is impossible to cut off the leak and successfully reattach the hose.
This is the newest model I just purchased, and is the manufacturer’s high-end model, at $59. Perhaps we should call this design “Evolving Monkeys,” as it actually looks like an improvement over the original design. It appears that the hose and handle might be a single unit that can be replaced by disconnecting it at the point of attachment to the pump, and reattaching a new one. The fact that it is external to the housing (the first I’ve ever seen) also suggests the possibility of replacement. I could not, however, find any such replacement hose and handle on Waterpik’s website, and I am not sure if the two less expensive models feature this external connection.