Domestic hot and cold water systems can provide an environment where Legionella bacteria can grow. This can cause Legionnaires Disease which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella bacteria.
We are providing you with this information to ensure that you keep yourself safe and reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
You must make sure that:
1. Hot water in the system remains hot
2. Cold water is kept cold
3. The water is kept circulated
It is important that you:
1. Do not interfere with the settings on your boiler or hot water system. The hot water should be set so that the water is heated up to 60°C.
Tell your landlord if:
1. The cold water is still running warm after you have initially run off any water which may have accumulated in the pipes. It should not be above 20°C.
2. There are any problems, debris or discolouration in the water.
3. The boiler or hot water tank is not working properly, particularly if the water is not coming out of the taps at a sufficiently high temperature. It should come out at a temperature of 50°C after it has run for a minute at the most.
Where showers are fitted:
1. If they are used only occasionally then flush them through by running them for at least two minutes every week. Keep as far away as possible whilst this is being done.
2. Clean the shower head periodically, descale and disinfect it. This should be done at least every six months.
Where a property is left vacant for any time make sure that when it is occupied again at the outset both hot and cold water systems are flushed through by running all outlets for at least 2 minutes.
It is your landlord’s responsibility to take precautions to prevent Legionella being present in the hot or cold water system but tenants and residents also have an important part to play in taking these simple and practical precautions.