The Risk Of Legionella In Showers
Most of us take showers on a regular basis. Because of this, it is a source of water that you use often. Of course, l egionella can be found in most sources of water, but you can't get legionnaires' disease from drinking water. Showerheads, however, are much more dangerous because they spray water droplets into the air, which means bacteria can get into your lungs. Because of this, showers are a much more dangerous system that needs to be handled carefully. Read on to find out more.
Why Does Legionella Grow On Showerheads?
Limescale - Legionella can grow in the limescale, sludge, and rust that can build up on a showerhead. It gives them food that helps them stay alive and sometimes protects them from chlorine in the water.
Stagnation - If you don't flush it out often, the hose pipe that connects a showerhead to the water system can let water sit there for a long time. Legionella can grow in water that doesn't move, so water that doesn't move in the hose or in any dead ends or legs in the system is an added risk.
Water temperature - Legionella grows best at temperatures between 20°C and 40°C. Your shower's hot water should be at least 50°C, and a mixer valve (TMV) should be used to add cooler water to lower the risk of scalding. If water has to travel a long way through pipes, like in a hotel or care home, the water can cool down before it gets to the shower, giving legionella a chance to grow.
What Can Be Done?
Luckily, the risk isn't too hard to deal with. The first thing you can do if you are worried about your system is to do a legionella risk assessment. This needs to be done by a trained professional who knows how to assess the risk of bacteria. If you need help, we can do a full risk assessment for you!
If there is a risk, the shower heads will need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected or possibly replaced (this will need to be done by a professional), and the outlets will need to be flushed regularly to prevent water from standing still (this can easily be done in-house).