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Water hygiene and safety

enjoy clean, safe water

It is really important to keep your water supply clean and safe. Dirty taps, showers and toilets can harbour all sorts of nasty bugs and bacteria that can make you unwell.

  • Run your water regularly. We recommend you run all your taps, showers and other water outlets for a couple of minutes each week to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria.
  • Going away? If you are likely to be away from your home for a long period of time, try to arrange for someone to flush the toilets for you. And always flush your toilets when you return home after being away on holiday.
  • Keep it shut. When you’re not using it, keep your toilet lid closed to avoid bacteria spreading into the air.
  • Keep it clean. Showerheads and taps should be cleaned regularly. As well as regular weekly cleaning, we also recommend that once a month you soak them in a mild bleach or limescale solution. This can be done by popping a bag containing cleaning solution under and around the tap or showerhead, tying it in place and leaving it to soak. Then run water through to rinse it off.
  • Keep it hot. Make sure that the thermostat on your hot water system is set to a minimum of 60°C and leave it on for at least one hour before use. This will kill any nasty bugs that might find their way into your system. 

 

Stay safe

Although the number of people drowning in and around the home is low, it is still a risk and children under the age of 6 and the elderly are more at risk. Hot water is also dangerous and can cause nasty burns and scalds, so stay safe and follow this simple advice.

  • Take care when using your hot water to avoid scalding, especially if you don’t have a mixer tap.
  • Never leave children alone in the bathroom or kitchen.
  • If you feel sleepy while having a bath, get out.
  • If you have a pond, putting a fence around it or a grill over the top will prevent anyone falling in. And never leave children alone in a garden with a pond.

 

Legionnaires' disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal disease that is caused by legionella bacteria.

People can become infected by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria, but the disease cannot be passed from one person to another.

Everyone is potentially at risk of infection, but some people are more at risk. This includes people over 45 years of age, smokers and heavy drinkers, those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease and people with a low immune system.

Legionella bacteria are common in natural water courses such as rivers and ponds. Since the bacteria are widespread in the environment, they may contaminate and grow in other water systems such as hot and cold-water services. But they are killed by high temperatures.

The symptoms of legionaries disease are often mistaken for the flu. They include a high temperature, fever and chills, cough, muscle pains and a headache. In a severe case, pneumonia can develop, and a person can have diarrhoea as well as signs of confusion.

If you develop these symptoms and you are worried that it might be Legionnaires’ disease, see your doctor. If you are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease please contact us.

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