Managing legionella in care homes’ hot water systems

June 12, 2017

With outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease still being reported in Britain, and indeed further afield, one risk likely to be at the forefront of the industry’s mind is the spread of the bacteria behind the disease.

Found commonly in water, legionella bacteria multiply where nutrients are available and temperatures are between 20-45°C. Warm standing water is the ideal growing environment; anything cooler than 20°C and the bacteria lay dormant, while anything above 60°C and they do not survive.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia, contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing viable legionella bacteria. Such droplets can be created, for example, by hot water systems, atomisers or hydrotherapy baths.

While anyone can develop Legionnaires’ disease, the elderly, smokers, alcoholics and those with cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory or kidney disease are at a higher risk. As such, it’s vitally important that water delivery systems used in public buildings such as care homes or healthcare centres avoid using standing water whichzip inline cex over and undersink options for multiple outlets, once circulated through the building, can spread contamination.

Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, HSE, published document L8 in 2013: ‘Legionnaires' disease. The control of legionella bacteria in water systems’. The Approved Code of Practice and guidance document states that a low risk solution to Legionnaires’ disease-causing bacteria is to have hot water fed from an instantaneous water heater.

Zip’s InLine product, an instantaneous electric hot water product (IEHW), offers the ideal solution. IEHW is a highly effective means of delivering instant and continuous hot water within residential and commercial projects. Heated at the point of use and only utilised when needed, the InLine is perfect for a range of applications. Whether it’s for single or multiple units, the system can supply both sinks and showers, and ensures peace of mind for those responsible for water heating systems within large institutions.

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