Five common problems affecting water hygiene in rented properties, and how to avoid them
Our team of engineers visit around 25,000 properties every year, carrying out water hygiene inspections and risk assessments for Legionella control. We’ve seen it all (the good, the bad and the ugly), so here’s our advice on how to avoid the most common problems which could be putting your tenants at risk.
Corroded pipework and rusty water tanks are often found in rental properties. Pipes and tanks are frequently hidden away in cupboards, loft spaces and dark corners, so it can be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It’s very important that regular visuals inspections are carried out of the whole plumbing system, particularly checking around joints. Corrosion and rust are food for Legionella bacteria, helping it to thrive and multiply unchecked, but a cleaning and maintenance programme will reduce the risk.
2. Redundant pipework
Dead legs, blind ends and other areas of plumbing where water flow is minimal are prone to causing stagnation. There’s nothing Legionella likes better than a quiet, stagnant corner of pipework, so make sure that your system is well-designed with ‘loose ends’ kept to a minimum.
3. Lidless water tanks
This is a really simple one, but it’s amazing how many properties have water tanks with an ill-fitting, damaged lid, or just no lid at all. A lidless tank is open to contamination, debris, animal droppings (and even dead animals), so make sure you put a lid on it!
Have it written into the rental contract that your tenant must descale shower heads on a regular basis. Scale helps to feed bacteria, and since showers are a primary conduit for Legionella by dispersing it in the steam, descaling is an important control measure.
5. Temperature control
One of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of Legionella in a domestic property is to ensure that when stored, the cold water is cold (under 20°C) and the hot is hot (over 50°C). Make sure that tenants don’t fiddle with any thermostat settings and that they report any problems with water temperature to you.
Visit our FAQ section for more information or contact us to book an engineer to carry out a risk assessment.