What is Legionella?

What is Legionella?

We carry out a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure the water in your home is safe to use.

We carry out water hygiene risk assessments as part of our legal obligations. We regularly monitor and inspect some of our larger buildings to make sure water systems are clean and safe. A Legionella assessment typically takes around 30 mins dependent on the type and size of your home.

Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria which can include Legionnaire’s disease, Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaire’s disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and people of all ages are susceptible to the infection.  

Some people are at higher risk of infection than others including:

  • people over 45 years old
  • smokers and heavy drinkers
  • people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
  • people with diabetes, lung and heart disease
  • anyone with a weak immune system

The bacteria that causes these infections are found in natural water systems like rivers and ponds but the conditions are rarely right for people to catch the disease from these sources.

Outbreaks occur when people are exposed to legionella growing in purpose built water systems where the water is maintained at a temperature high enough for the bacteria to grow.

You can lower the risks in the following ways:

  • Clean and disinfect taps and showers

Legionella bacteria can multiply on scale, dirt or rust, so clean and disinfect taps every three months or sooner if there is an obvious build-up of debris on the outlet.

  • Setting the right temperature

Legionella bacteria are more likely to grow between 20°C and 45°C, so where possible set hot water thermostats to 60°C. Using cold taps regularly can help temperatures stay below 20°C.

  • Use water taps once a week

All the water taps require use on at least a weekly basis. This helps to make sure you don’t have water standing still in pipes. If you’ve been away for more than a week, run all your taps for a few minutes before using the water. You’ll also need to run the water in your shower. Make sure the water doesn’t spray or splash too much as this can create dangerous water droplets. If you can’t remove the shower head, cover it with a towel or plastic bag while you run the water.

For further information then please email us or call us on 0808 230 6500.

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