Legionnaire's disease is caused by bacteria which eventually causes pneumonia. If this condition is left untreated, it can be fatal. Fortunately, it is easy to treat with antibiotics. Did you know that, while it is rare, the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's disease could be lingering in your household plumbing?
What is Legionella?
Legionella is the name of the aquatic bacteria that causes the Legionnaire's disease. This bacteria thrives in warm water. It is not uncommon for this bacteria to grow in hot tubs, fountains, swimming pools, and other areas that are both wet and warm.
The Water Heater Could Be The Source
Legionella thrives in temperatures between 68 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, it takes 32 minutes at 140 degrees for the bacteria to die. It is important to keep in mind that households with small children are encouraged to keep the water heater at a maximum of 120 degrees. This is to prevent children from being burned by hot water. This temperature, unfortunately, isn't hot enough to kill the bacteria.
If you have small children in your home and decide to set your water heater to 140 degrees to kill the bacteria, make sure you always check the temperature of the water before allowing your children to take baths or showers. Furthermore, consider investing in anti-scaling technology to protect your children.
How Does The Disease Stick To Your Pipes?
Your pipes are made to allow water to flow through without allowing any bacteria to grow. If you have hard water it can build up a film on the inside of your pipes that will allow bacteria to grow. Checking your water supply for hard water or having a professional come in to test it will let you know if you are risking bacteria in your pipes.
If you find that your water is hard, there are treatments to get which can soften it by getting rid of the calcium and magnesium that makes it hard. If you aren't sure how to go about it, then you can hire a professional to treat the water for you.
Kill It With Chemicals
Chlorine is commonly used to treat household water. If your water isn't treated with chlorine, then this can be a good way to eliminate the possibility of Legionnaire's disease in your water supply. Chlorine is the only compound that can kill microorganisms, such as the disease, while still keeping the quality of your drinking water.
There are some things you can do around your home to help prevent Legionnaire's disease from hiding in your pipes. If you've been gone for several days, you can clean your water and kill any lingering bacteria by running hot water through all of your pipes. If you have a hot tub, make sure you clean the pump and filter the tub periodically to kill any trace of the bacteria as well. For more information, contact a business such as Able Plumbing-Pumps & Well Service.