Anyone who owns or is responsible for the water system in a building likely has many factors to think about when considering how to care for the water, piping, and machinery. However, you may not be aware that Legionella could be a risk; this potentially dangerous microbe can grow in any freshwater system, so it is critical that you remain proactive in your strategy to prevent Legionella so that it never threatens the health of the people who visit the property.
How Does Legionella Get in Water?
Legionella may enter the water through a number of potential locations, such as pipe cracks where contaminants from the soil may infiltrate. Once Legionella is in the water supply, it is generally passed to humans through vapor or droplets of water in the air that are inhaled. This may occur as a result of mist produced by cooling towers, aerosolized water from flushed toilets, or steam from hot tubs, among many other possibilities.
Suggestions for Legionella Prevention
Legionella prevention is a task that should be undertaken by anyone, whether they own a residential building or a large commercial facility. Experts in water and systems are valuable resources during this process, as they can comprehensively review an entire system and offer personalized advice for how to eliminate any existing Legionella and prevent future growth.
In the Home
In an individual’s home, the risk factors for Legionella may present differently than they would for a commercial building owner. Most residential homes will not have cooling towers, but they may have hot tubs or showerheads contaminated with Legionella microbes.
Maintain Your Water Heater Properly
Legionella bacteria thrive in lukewarm water, which is why many experts suggest setting a home’s water heater to no less than 140 degrees. However, in an effort to save money on energy costs, many homes and families have elected to turn their water heater temperature down. This opens up the possibility of Legionella growth within the water heater, which can be spread to the family wherever hot water is used, such as showers and while doing dishes.
Use Humidifiers With Caution
Humidifiers can be one of the most dangerous items in the home when it comes to Legionella. Because this dangerous microbe passes to humans via water droplets, humidifiers that are housing Legionella can quickly pump contaminated air throughout a room or entire side of a house.
For Building Owners
Commercial building owners are responsible for following local government regulations regarding Legionella risk assessment, typically at least once per year. However, in addition to undergoing this evaluation, building owners can remain vigilant and confront problems before they arise.
Determine If Your Building Is at High Risk of Legionella
One of the first steps a building owner can do to protect visitors from Legionella is to determine whether the building itself is at high risk for Legionella growth. Facilities with cooling towers are one of the most common perpetrator of Legionella outbreaks, because cooling towers vaporize air during their normal function.
Make Sure to Follow Industry Standard
When building or maintaining a water system in a commercial facility or large building, be sure to check the industry standard. Experts in the field and scientific organizations have determined what processes should be a regular section of your maintenance as part of the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard, which informs you about certain steps to take and how to keep your water system safe.
Develop a Water Management Program
One of the best things you can do to avoid a Legionella issue is to work with a professional to develop a water management program that prevents the bacteria from growing in the first place. Water treatment experience and Legionella compliance companies can assist you with this task, which will review everything from your water temperature to any potential locations where Legionella can enter your system. You may also receive water treatment guidance for using chemicals like chlorine to make your water less habitable to Legionella. Biocides to remove algae and biofilms, a reduction in corrosion and rust, and removing dead legs of stagnant water can all play a part in keeping your water safe from Legionella overgrowth that can make people sick.
Work With the Legionella Prevention Experts
If you are concerned about the Legionella risk in your water or you would like an expert to help you build a comprehensive and effective Legionella prevention plan, it is best that you reach out to someone with experience. Tower Water would be happy to sit down with you to develop a personalized strategy that will keep your water system safe from Legionella, whether you maintain a large commercial facility or a small residential home. Reach out to schedule an appointment with an expert who can provide individualized guidance.