Have you ever had a lukewarm shower? Are your showers not as hot as what they used to be or have you even turned down the temperature of your hot water system? Some may say, “No biggie, i'll just wait for the water to go completely cold and call the local plumber“. Lukewarm water may not sound deadly, but due to the fact hot water systems allow certain bacteria to thrive, they could be silently threatening the safety of you or a loved one.
The reason why having lukewarm showers could potentially be FATAL is due to a microscopic bacteria that can breed inside hot water tanks, hot water pipes, hot taps and even shower heads. This bacteria is called Legionella Bacteria. This Legionella bacteria can lead to catching Legionnaires Disease. This disease can be deadly.
In fact, statistics show that 1 out every 10 people who catch Legionnaires Disease eventually died from this disease. THAT IS 10%!!!
Legionnaires’ disease is typically associated with flu-like symptoms that include fever, headache and muscle aches. Some people also develop diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Legionnaires’ disease usually progresses quite quickly and the chest infection (pneumonia) symptoms become obvious, with high fever, shortness of breath and chest pain being typical symptoms.
1. Ensure your hot water is stored at 60°C or more. Even if you know you have had a plumber visit in past years and set your hot-water system to the correct temperature, systems age over time and temperature gauges can give false readings so it is imperative that your system is checked each year.
2. NEVER turn your hot water off. Some “energy savvy” blogs encourage residents to turn off their hot-water systems if they aren’t going to be used for a significant period of time. However, while you may save a few dollars in the short run, ultimately the risk of a Legionella outbreak in your plumbing will increase drastically.
3. Flush regularly. Once a week you should flush all showers and taps that have not been used with hot water at full flow for at least 15 seconds.
4. Service your hot-water system regularly. Hot-water systems should be serviced at least every 2 years, this periodic maintenance will help uncover issues like a drop in the fixed storage temperature before they develop into larger problems and potentially create great health risks.
Pass on this information at any cost! This is NOT commonly known information. Legionnaires Disease could be bubbling away at any of your family, friends and co-workers houses or workplaces. The main message is to always ensure maintenance of your hot water system is up to date and IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS, call a local plumber!