Legionella Disease: Hot & Cold Water Tanks

legionella bacteria in the hot water system

Legionella disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. This will be caused by exposure to water contaminated with Legionella bacteria.

We will discuss what you need to know about this dangerous disease!

How legionella control how it is contracted, the symptoms of infection from legionella, and steps that should be taken to prevent contracting the illness. We will discuss the dangers of legionnaires disease in plumbing systems.

What is Legionnaires disease?

Legionella bacteria is commonly found in cold water storage tanks but can be found at higher levels as a result of warmer, or cooler, water temperatures. The bacteria multiply in hot and cold water storage tanks when the temperature is between 20-45°C.

The bacterium will survive in low temperatures are inactive below 20°C, and will die at 60°C.

The risk of the legionella bacteria

The dangers of legionella disease are very common in the plumbing industry. The disease is a deadly type of pneumonia that is contracted by inhaling droplets containing live bacteria. When inhaled, these droplets from the water outlet and air conditioning can cause legionella disease. Common areas are hot and cold water outlets, shower rooms, spas and fitness centres where.

How does it spread

The bacterium can found in the storage tank that poses the biggest threat is Legionella bacteria pneumonia.

Water supplies can carry the bacteria, but they won’t multiply in cold temperatures. When the bacterium gets inside the water heater it starts to multiply and it can spread through the plumbing system. While you take a shower you can breathe in the bacterium. Bathing is one of the main ways people get infected with Legionnaire’s disease.

That’s why it is so important to maintain the hot water cylinder temperatures over 60°C, where the most bacteria growth will die.

Signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease

In rare cases, patients have a headache, high fever, and muscle aches. Some people might also experience chest pains while breathing.

Other symptoms include fever, a dry cough, muscle aches, loss of energy, chest pain, and chronic respiratory and kidney disease. If Legionnaires’ disease is caught in time, it can be treated.

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Prevention Tips and Tricks

Using temperature control measures is one way to prevent legionella from forming in your hot and cold water systems.

Every household cylinder has a thermostat that controls the temperatures in hot water cylinders the cylinder and is set to 60 °C.

When you turn on the hot water and only find that it is lukewarm, your cylinder thermostat may have broken. It is time to call our plumber immediately who can investigate the issues.

How do you prevent legionella growth?

cylinder thermostat
  • Monitor the temperatures of your hot water cylinder and store the water over 60°C. The bacterium will survive low temperatures.
  • Keep AC unit filters clean so that bacteria don’t have access to oxygen, which it needs for growth.
  • Ensure there is no stagnant lukewarm water in your home.
  • The cold water should be stored below 20°C.
  • Never leave a dead leg on the pipework. Is called dead leg where the water is not moving through the pipe, and in stagnant water, the bacteria will grow.
  • Check your cylinder at least once a month.
  • Keep your plumbing system clean. Describe your showerheads and hoses. If can book a plumber who can wash out your cold water systems and hot water cylinder do it.
  • You can’t take a shower at 60°C, because the thermostatic mixer valves in the bathroom mix the water to a desirable temperature.

Prevent hot and cold water stagnation and dead leg

dead leg in the plumbing system pipework

When the hot water inlet, isn’t flowing well, it becomes stagnant and creates an environment where the bacterium will grow.

Water flow can be challenging to inspect. Knowing where stagnant water may accumulate can save your building from the spread of the bacterium.

How can you prevent bacterial growth in hot and cold water systems?

Your plumber has to design water systems that comply with the WRAS health and safety regulations.

  • Don’t leave any dead legs on the pipework.
  • Keep the pipework short.
  • Hot and cold water cylinders need to meet health and safety laws and regulations.
  • Insulate your pipework and storage hot water pipes and cold water tanks, and don’t forget to put on the cold water tank cover.

Other methods can be used to prevent the disease

Check your hot and cold water systems regularly that you have the appropriate temperatures. Book a plumber who can carry out a risk assessment, take water samples and analyse the bacterial growth.

In a bigger water system, you can also use copper and silver ionisation, copper ionisation and biocide/chemical treatments. The chlorine dioxide will kill the bacterium. Every month, legionella control monitoring should be carried out. The microbiological count in water should be less than 103-104.

Frequently Asked Questions About Legionella Bacteria

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