Water hygieneHow we keep your water safe and what you can do to make sure it is
All of our properties contain water. Water is fed into the property via an external water mains. It is then either stored in your system water tank (in the loft) and immersion heater, where it is heated up, or fed directly into your boiler. If you have a type of boiler called a ‘combi-boiler’, you will not have a tank storing water in your home. This kind of boiler just heats the water as it passes through from the mains.
All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where something called ‘Legionella’ can grow. Legionella is a bacteria which can cause Legionnaires’ disease. This is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella.
Legionella requires a certain environment to grow so dirty taps, showerheads, and areas of low water usage are ideal for it. If water is left to sit in pipes and stagnate, and outlets are left uncleaned this provides the ideal situation for legionella to feed and grow.
There is no need to panic though. Domestic water systems, such as the one in your home, are considered low risk as they use plenty of water. If you have a combi-boiler the risk is even lower.
Not all of our properties have been risk assessed for legionella, but we do carry out a basic water hygiene assessment when we install new boilers. We have completed assessments on approximately a third of our stock. We aim to have 100% of our housing stock assessed by 2030.
What can I do to keep my water safe from bacteria?
- Keep any taps or water outlets clean and free from debris and limescale build up.
- Clean showerheads thoroughly every 3 months.
- Flush water outlets you don’t use much or showers for a few minutes every month to keep the water in the pipes flowing.
- Don’t adjust the temperature on your water storage heater. Stored water needs to be kept at 60 degrees minimum.
- If after running the cold tap for a few minutes the water is warm let us know.
- If after running the hot tap for a few minutes the water isn’t heating up sufficiently let us know.
What about legionella outside my home?
We have completed legionella risk assessments on all of our shared communal spaces where water is present. We employ a licensed legionella contractor to carry out our risk assessments. Their licence means that all assessments are completed to a high standard.