Legionnaires Disease: Legionella Bacteria in Hot Water Heater Tanks
Catching Legionnaires disease from a hot water heater is a very serious condition, being a potentially fatal illness. Legionnaires disease bacteria can breed in hot water heater tanks if they are set below 60°C.
The good news is that Legionnaires Disease from hot water heaters is totally preventable.
You need to be informed to protect your family’s health…
Legionnaires Disease Hot Water Heater
Legionnaires Disease , or Legionellosis, is a sometimes fatal illness caused by a bacteria that can grow in a hot water heater. Legionnaires Disease is a respiratory disease that can cause severe pneumonia when hot water heater droplets are inhaled during a shower. It can also come from a contaminated air conditioning system.
Keeping the hot water heater set to a minimum of 60°C (140°F) prevents the Legionnaires Disease bacteria - Legionella pneumophila - from growing. If Legionella infected water is inhaled in small airborne droplets from the water heater, as would happen when taking a shower or whirlpool bath, the individual could end up with Legionnaires Disease.
Air conditioning system can also be a breeding groud for Legionnaires Disease and require anti-bacterial agents to be added to their water to stop the growth.
What About Scalding?
Added Hazard with Electric Storage Tank Hot Water Heaters
The World Health Organisation -- WHO -- recommends that water be heated and stored at 60°C.
However, Canadian studies have shown, even when the thermostat is set at 60°C, a high percentage -- approximately 40% -- of electric water heaters remain contaminated because of the lower temperature, about 30°C to 40°C at the bottom of the tank.
No water heaters using gas were contaminated.
The authors concluded that, because of design variables, use of an electric water heater was the most significant factor leading to Legionella contamination in hot water in the home.
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The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.