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  • Lisamarie Lamb

Solar Heating & Legionella

The 21st century has seen critical changes happening all through the energy sector, and sustainable power sources currently give us a financially savvy, eco-accommodating option in contrast to petroleum products.

Petroleum derivatives have expanded ozone harming substances, prompting a dangerous atmospheric host of undesirable ecological issues we are currently attempting to battle.

In the interim, sustainable power like solar, wind, geothermal and so on is inexhaustible and without end.

Quite possibly the most well-known instances of these environmentally friendly power sources is solar energy. We are now be able to utilize the energy coming from the sun to warm our homes, workplaces, clinics and different organizations.

A similar energy can likewise be utilized to warm our heated water supplies.

Here in the UK, in the event that you are contemplating changing to a solar water warming framework, you should know about the dangers from legionella bacteria.

How does solar water heating increase the risks from legionella?

For a solar water warming framework to work, you need to introduce solar panels, typically on your rooftop. The panels are produced using unique light/heat cylinders or plates. The solar boards gather energy from the sun and use it to warm the water inside the property.

Similarly, as with numerous other, more traditional water heating frameworks, a heated water chamber is needed to store the water before it is utilized. With most heated water frameworks, any water that is put away in a chamber should be kept at a safe temperature. Legionella flourishes when the water temperatures sits somewhere between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius.

In a perfect world, you should warm the water to 60 degrees Celsius to guarantee it destroys any Legionella (and other) microscopic organisms that could be in there.

The issue in the UK is that water warmed by solar energy alone doesn't generally arrive at the ideal temperature (60 degrees Celsius) to keep legionella under control.

Keeping legionella under control in solar heating systems

Even cold summer's days in the UK can provide plenty of sunlight; it just might not be very warm. Yet the sun's rays are enough, and you could easily heat your stored water to 60 degrees Celcius.

The problem comes in the winter when the sun is much weaker, and getting to the desired temperature can be problematic. This means the temperature of the heated water is probably going to plunge into the legionella threat zone of 20 – 45 degrees Celsius.

In the event that you don't take care of this, legionella bacteria will begin spreading inside your water network. People who use the solar warmed water are coming into contact with unsafe levels of legionella and are potentially at risk of developing legionnaires' disease. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure these dangers are monitored.

Controlling legionella using your heating thermostat

Your backup boiler or another secondary heat source will have a temperature control thermostat, so it can turn on and off automatically when it is required to do so. In most cases this will be used to stop unnecessary heating, but it can also be used to top up the temperature when needed, ensuring that it reaches the right level to kill off legionella bacteria.

Therefore, if you are using solar energy to heat your water, you are also going to need to install a backup boiler with a thermostat to ensure that, even on the coldest and dullest of winter days, you can ensure anyone within your building is kept safe.

Speak to Assured Water Hygiene today to find out more.

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