Water hygiene

Your health and wellbeing is really important to us and ensuring that the water in your home is safe and hygienic is a top priority.

Although the risk is extremely low, there is a small chance that legionella can develop in your water. This could potentially lead to Legionnaires’ disease - an illness similar to pneumonia.

People can catch Legionnaires’ disease from hot and cold water heating systems which aren’t functioning properly or haven’t been in use for some time. This could result in bacteria developing. Showerheads and taps are the main areas of risk where bacteria can increase to dangerous levels and spread.

On average, there are approximately 500 reported cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the UK each year so it is very rare.

We have recently carried out water hygiene risk assessments to some of our homes to assess any risks to your wellbeing. The risk is extremely low and we
have taken appropriate steps were required.

Follow these simple tips to keep your water supply clean and healthy

  • Do not interfere with the settings on your boiler or hot water system. The hot water should be set so that the water is heated up to 60°C.
  • Keep all shower heads, hoses and taps clean.
  • Flush through showers and taps for 10 minutes following a period of non-use, for example after you have been on holiday.
  • If showers are used only occasionally then flush them through by running them for at least two minutes every week. Don’t stand near the shower whilst this is being done.
  • If you think your shower, taps, boiler or hot water tank aren’t working properly, please let us know. Report it online or log onto your customer login area on the website. Alternatively give us a call on 0330 303 3000.

For more advice please download our Water Hygiene Fact Sheet

Advice on cleaning your showerhead

Cleaning your showerhead isn’t a common chore on most people’s to-do-list however it’s something that needs doing regularly to prevent bacteria building up. As showers generally run at 45°C it makes them the perfect place for bacteria to grow and this can be bad for your health as the bacteria would be present in the water when you are having a shower. Fortunately, cleaning your showerhead isn’t difficult and once it’s been done you’ll get a better, stronger spray of water.

What you need:

  • Descaling agent (available from most hardware stores) or white vinegar
  • Small soft brush (an old toothbrush would do the job)
  • Sandwich bag

What to do:

  • Unscrew the head of the shower from the hose. This may be quite stiff. Make sure you do not lose the rubber washer which sits in the hose fitting and if possible, unscrew the rose attachment from the shower head.  This is the area where the water sprays out. There may be another screw in the centre of the rose; don’t lose this.
  • Give the shower head a clean with descaling agent or white vinegar with the soft brush to remove loose scale.
  • Soak the parts in the descaling agent or white vinegar overnight in a sandwich bag by hanging it from the shower rail. In the morning, rinse them thoroughly.
  • Reassemble the parts, checking that the rubber washer for the hose is in place as this seals the joint and prevents it leaking.