Water hygiene

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia and is caused by inhaling small drops of water (aerosols) from contaminated bacteria. Anybody can catch the disease, but it is most likely to affect middle aged people, elderly people and those with poor immune systems – especially if they have a chest, lung or other serious health problem. Not everyone exposed will become ill and you can’t get it from drinking water, unless it accidentally goes into the lungs whilst drinking.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are very similar to flu:

  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Raised temperature
  • Fever or chills
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain.

Even though the risk of Legionnaires’ disease in a domestic property is rated as low risk, it can sometimes be found in spray from showers, taps, Jacuzzi baths and garden hoses. In addition to this, a lot of people are now installing hot tubs in their homes and gardens, which increases the potential risk of infection.

Hot tubs

The water in a hot tub is kept between 30 and 35 degrees, close to body temperature, which is the ideal environment for legionella bacteria to grow. The bubbling and frothing of the aerosols in a hot tub can then throw the bacteria into the air for several yards. This means you don’t have to be sitting in the hot tub to inhale the bacteria. It is very important you maintain your hot tub as stated in the manufacturer’s instructions and as well as using the correct chemicals.

  • If any taps or showers are not used very much, they should be flushed on a weekly basis. This includes outside taps for garden hoses – also don’t leave water inside the hose pipe after use
  • If your home is empty for long periods of time, (two weeks or more) you should flush and clean the hot and cold taps, your shower head and hose
  • Flush your shower heads and hose on a regular basis
  • Keep taps and shower heads free from scale and dirt with regular cleaning and disinfecting
  • Use hot tubs as stated in the manufacturer’s instructions only
  • If you have a relative in hospital for an extended period of time, all outlets should be flushed prior to them returning home.
  • When our properties become void we do all we can to reduce the risk of legionella. This safeguards new customers moving into the property
  • We carry out risk assessments in our properties of the entire water system to identify potential sources of contamination or exposure and put control measures in place.