Your guide to preventing Legionella
This leaflet gives you information on Legionella, and how you can prevent it. As your landlord we must tell you about health and safety risks so you stay safe.
What is Legionella?
Legionella is bacteria found in most water sources, including rivers and lakes. It can also be found in mains water.
All hot and cold water systems in residential properties are a potential source for legionella. The main areas of risk are where the bacteria can multiply and increase to dangerous levels and then spread. This can happen in spray from showers and taps, water tanks which are not regularly used, or in supplies to communal buildings.
Is Legionella harmful?
Legionella bacteria can lead to Legionnaires disease, which is a type of pneumonia. You usually get it by breathing in mist from water that contains the bacteria. The mist may come from showers or air-conditioning units for large buildings. Legionella can also multiply on limescale or rust. The bacteria does not spread from person to person.
Legionnaires disease is particularly harmful to the elderly or those with chest or lung problems. Symptoms include high temperature, fever or chills, headache, tiredness, muscle pain and/or a dry cough. If you are concerned at all seek medical advice.
Legionella is only harmful if the bacteria has the right conditions to grow. It is more likely to grow between 20 and 45 degrees Celcius.
What Luminus is doing to prevent Legionella
We have a regular servicing programme for all water services that includes routine checks for temperature and cleanliness. We also ensure that all empty homes have their water systems flushed out and cleaned before a new tenant moves in.
What you must do to prevent Legionella
- You should not adjust the temperature settings on your boiler or hot water system. The hot water should be set so that the water is heated to 60 degrees Celsius.
- Contact us if the boiler or hot water tank is not working properly.
- Contact us if you find any debris or discolouration in the water.
- Use all your taps at least once a week.
- If you have been away for more than a week:
- Heat your water system to 60 degrees Celsius or above
- Slow run all taps for at least two minutes
- Flush the toilet with the lid down.
Showers and taps
If your shower is used only occasionally then flush it through by running it for at least two minutes once a week. Keep out of the way whilst this is being done to avoid inhaling any droplets. You could switch it on and then leave the room.
Cleaning showers and taps
Clean, descale and disinfect your taps and showerhead. This must be done at least every three months. There are a variety of products available for use in cleaning your taps and showerheads:
- For gel products: Wearing rubber gloves, remove the plastic cap. Use the brush to cover the limescale, working it into corners. Leave the gel to work for 10 minutes. Wash away any remaining gel and rinse thoroughly. For heavy scale, repeat the process as necessary.
- For vinegar products: Pour some white vinegar and lemon juice into a plastic bag. Put the showerhead into the bag. Tie an elastic band round the top of the bag and leave it for a few hours. For taps, rub with a cloth soaked in vinegar.
If you have any further questions on how to prevent Legionella, please contact Luminus on 0345 266 9760.