Water safety

How to keep the water in your house safe for use

We care about your wellbeing and want to help you keep your home clean and safe so you don’t become unwell. Water can sometimes cause illness and make you sick if it isn’t kept fresh.

What can I do in my home to keep my water safe from bacteria?

There a few simple steps you can follow to help reduce the risk of bacteria growth in your water system at home:

  • When you first move into your home, run the bath and hand basin taps continuously for at least five minutes. This will flush through any potentially stagnant water.

  • If your shower has not been used for a week or more, run water from both hot and cold supplies through the shower hose and showerhead for two minutes. To ensure no spray escapes from the showerhead, run it through a bucket of water or full bath.

  • If your shower has not been used for two weeks or more, disinfect the showerhead. The showerhead should be removed and the shower run for two minutes. The showerhead should be disinfected before being re-fitted by immersing in any descaler/disinfection solution. Showerheads should be regularly descaled and disinfected about four times a year.

  • Raise the temperature of your hot stored water to 60°C or higher. Temperatures above 60°C will kill Legionella bacteria so make sure that the temperature of the hot water in your boiler/cylinder is set at a minimum of 60°C. Beware of burns and scalding and take extra care if you have children. Legionella can survive in low temperatures, but thrive at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C.

  • If your property has been empty for a while (e.g. after a holiday), flush the whole water system for two minutes or more. First flush your toilet, then let the kitchen taps and the hand basin taps run for two minutes or more to let both hot and cold water pass through. Next, flush the shower through as described above. Finally, let any other taps run for two minutes. Harmful bacteria can build up in your taps or on your shower head after a period of no use, so it is important to flush it through.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that can affect anybody, caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease can be very dangerous.

Don’t panic, we carry out regular assessments of our properties to ensure water systems are flushed regularly. We always make these checks before we let out a property and as part of our health and safety programme you can expect a review of your waters hygiene in the near future.