Avoid Legionella Outbreaks in Residential Hot Water Systems

March 22, 2020

One culprit of most contaminated water is Legionella. It is a type of bacteria that is mostly found in freshwater sources like rivers and lakes. In these water sources, Legionella is only present in low amounts. However, once they have reached insanitary residential hot water systems, they can multiply exponentially and develop into Legionnaires’ disease or Legionellosis.

People can contract this disease by inhaling small droplets, mist, or vapour that contains a huge number of Legionella. Once inside a human body, the disease can cause lung inflammation and Pontiac fever. Adults, smokers, people with chronic lung disease, and people with weak immune systems are more prone to this disease. However, everyone should still take precautions to avoid obtaining diseases. So, to contain and even avoid Legionella outbreaks on your hot water system, you can follow these tips for the safety of your household.

Maintain Water Temperature

Hot water systems are intended to process your water at your preferred temperature. However, the temperature of your water system and any storage devices may still allow Legionella to survive and multiply. Legionella can live in a temperature range of 68 to 122°F and proliferate in a temperature range of 77 to 108°F. Maintaining your hot water system at around 140°F can help you prevent the survival of Legionella and the occurrence of Legionnaires’ disease.

Avoid Areas of Stagnation

Hot water systems have a piping system that can help utilise the process of transferring water from its source to your household. If your hot water system becomes stagnant, there is a high chance that scale and biofilm conglomerates will accumulate and develop on your system. This stagnation helps Legionella to survive and multiply since the scale and biofilm accumulation provides protection and nutrients to Legionella. So, you should avoid and clean up the presence of stagnation in your hot water system at all costs.

Use Recirculation Pumps

Hot water systems vary depending on their whole composition and layout of their components. If your hot water systems have recirculation pumps, then the Legionella bacteria can be eradicated. Recirculation pumps are used to ensure that hot water is always available for consumption. These pumps are utilised to save water and increase comfort. The presence of these pumps can maintain the hot water temperature that is useful for preventing the survival of Legionella.

Utilise Backflow Preventers

A backflow preventer allows water to flow in only one direction and prevent it from flowing in the opposite direction. It stops the contamination of water due to backflow. Without an effective backflow preventer, you will be risking your hot water from being contaminated with Legionella not only on your hot water system but also to your taps and showers.

Doing these tips on your hot water system can help you and your household avoid contracting Legionnaires’ disease and other harmful effects of Legionella. To know more about maintenance and cleaning methods for your hot water system, you can always contact us at Abundant Hot Water.

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