Legionnaires' Disease

What you need to know

Legionnaires' Disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria and can be fatal. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another.

Legionella bacteria are found in the natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water systems. They survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20 - 45°C if the conditions are right. They are killed by high temperatures at 60°C or above. Because the water in your house comes from the natural environment, Legionella bacteria will probably be in your water system too, however it takes about two weeks for the bacteria to multiply sufficiently to pose any real risk, and then you have to breathe it in for it to pose any risk at all.

So what can you do?

Don't panic. If you use your water system regularly, then there is virtually no risk. In fact, the Health & Safety Executive thinks that the risk is virtually nothing especially if you have a combi boiler fitted. But, to ensure that you are safe and to give you piece of mind you can apply our TIDY little memory aid.   

  • Try to use each water outlet (shower, taps and toilet) at least once a week. If you can’t because you have been away, try to avoid splashing when you first use them again. i.e. The tap by running it slowly, and flush the toilet with the seat down. You will probably do these things already as part of the way you keep your property.
  • If you have expansion tanks, water butts, or other water tanks, keep them covered or sealed to stop dirt getting in them.
  • Do not alter the water system.
  • You should keep water heaters and boilers set so that they heat water so that at the tap it is 50C, usually this will mean your boiler needs to be set to about 55C or a combi set at ¾’s.

 If you are unsure, give us a call on 01724 279900.

 

Page last updated: 23 December 2015

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