Many people are trying to lower their energy costs at present, which we can understand, but certain money saving advice could be a risk to your health, especially around water hygiene and the lowering of heating and hot water temperatures.
Legionella is a naturally occurring bacteria that grows in both hot and cold-water systems. It thrives when water is stored between 20 and 45oC, or where it is stagnant. If left undetected and untreated, it can be a serious health risk which needs to be properly managed.
It is our legal responsibility to make sure the water systems in our homes are clean and safe. We do this by working with specialist contractors who carry out risk assessments and water monitoring in our homes which have shared heating and hot water services, or where cold water is stored. It is also our responsibility to make sure you know how to keep your water system safe and working as it should be, and that you recognise the symptoms of Legionnaires disease, (a form of pneumonia), so you can quickly report it to us.
Although the elderly, or people with existing chest and lung conditions are most at risk, legionaries’ disease can affect anyone. This makes it important to understand the symptoms, which can include a high temperature, fever or chills, headaches, tiredness, muscle pain and a dry cough.
You must tell us if your hot water is not heating properly, or if there are any other problems with your system. If you have any symptoms, please contact your doctor and us immediately.
To help keep yourself safe, please run and flush the water in your home regularly, especially if you are away from home for days at a time, or you have been on holiday. Run and flush your shower on full hot, then full cold for five minutes each, and flush your toilet with the lid down. Keep your shower heads and taps clean and free from limescale and mould. For your safety, your boiler system must be at a temperature of 60ºC or more, (50oC if you have a combination boiler), and the hot water in your hot water tank (cylinder) must also be at 60ºC or more.
If you have any concerns about your water system, please report them to us immediately, or for more detailed information, download a copy of our water hygiene leaflet.