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Cleaning & Disinfection

Showers & Cold Water Storage Tanks


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Have you been told you need to have your Cold Water Storage Tank regularly cleaned & disinfected?  If you have, you have most likely been given the wrong information and are paying for services that you don't need.  The ACOP L8 and HSG274 part 2 deals with hot and cold-water systems that are used for a "Domestic Purpose".  Water used for a domestic purpose is water used for drinking, cooking, washing, etc.  It does not include water used in heating only systems.


At Water Wise Services we carry out the cleaning & disinfection of Cold Water Storage Tanks, but only when it needs to be carried out.  Tanks DO NOT need to be cleaned & disinfected every year just for the sake of cleaning them.  Our service team includes Water Industry Approved plumbers who know how to correctly identify your tank, its purpose, ensure it meets legal requirements and if it requires cleaning.


Following a survey, which includes taking water samples, we will advise you if your tank actually needs to be cleaned.  The water samples that we take cover Legionella and Water Analysis for other bacteria such as coliforms and E.coli.  These samples allow us to set a benchmark for the condition of the tank and water.


If the tank requires cleaning, we will provide you with a quote for the work.  It may be that we also make other recommendations such as replacing the tank with a smaller one to increase water turnover which would reduce the risk of bacterial growth or, removing the tank altogether and switching to mains pressure water.


After the tank is cleaned & disinfected, we will take a second set of water samples to measure the effectiveness of the cleaning.  Testing should then be repeated within a year to ensure the tank remains clean.

Regular Cleaning & Descale of Showers


If you have a shower in a property other than a domestic property the HSE's ACOP L8 requires that the shower head and hose be stripped down, cleaned and disinfected on at least a quarterly basis.  The cleaning of a shower is far more involved than a spray and wipe with an anti-bacterial cleaner.  The work also needs to be recorded in a log book.  At Water Wise our service team can quote and arrange to carry out this work for you.

Why are Heating Only Systems Excluded?


Water used in a heating only system should never reach an outlet i.e. water from your radiator should never come out of your shower.  You would also expect the heating system to be in regular use and for the water to reach temperatures that would kill Legionella bacteria.  If you are using a Combi Boiler the water source is most likely direct from the mains supply, filling a combi boiler is normally done manually through a filling loop, this is called a closed system and presents little to no risk.  If you are using a more commercial type of boiler then your heating system may be supplied through a Feed & Expansion Tank.  If your tank supplies a heating only system, then it is not used for a "Domestic Purpose" and is excluded from the scope of the ACOP L8.  Heating only systems that incorporate a Feed & Expansion Tank should be regularly maintained as part of the heating system.  The system should also include chemicals such as inhibitors which would make the water unfit to be used for a domestic purpose.  If heating only systems or heating in general was a part of the HSE's ACOP L8 it would detail checking temperatures in radiators etc... which it does not.


So why are you being given the wrong information?


If you use a Legionella Risk Assessor or service provider that has been trained under the ACOP L8 (which does not cover heating only systems) and they do not have any wider competence then very simply they do not understand the different types of tanks and their functions, during an assessment all they see is a tank that stores water without any understanding of what the tank actually does, so, you are told you have a Cold Water Storage Tank which may not actually be the case.  You are then advised that the tank needs to be cleaned & disinfected annually to be compliant with the HSE's ACOP L8, again that is not correct.  The ACOP L8 recommends that Cold Water Storage Tanks are cleaned & disinfected when there is reason to do so, it should not be an automatic action.  You should only clean & disinfect a Cold Water Storage Tank when a visual inspection identifies a potential risk, a water sample shows increased levels of bacteria or there is reason to believe that control & prevention steps are not being effective.


Is it a problem Cleaning & Disinfecting Feed & Expansion Tanks?


It is not a problem to clean & disinfect any water system if it is done correctly, when cleaning a heating only system you would normally have this done as part of a power flush and not just to clean the Feed & Expansion Tank, you also need to ensure the system is protected after the cleaning.  When refilling a heating only system the correct level of inhibitor also needs to be added.  If your using a service provider that did not correctly identify the tank in the first instance and recommended that the tank be cleaned & disinfected, it is doubtful they would refill the system correctly.

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