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Is your hot tub making you sick?

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The hot tub is becoming an increasingly popular choice in UK back gardens, thanks to falling prices, and more budget options, such as blow-up varieties. While undoubtedly a fun way to enjoy the British summer time, hot tubs come with an element of risk – Legionella and other waterborne bacteria love warm water.

This, alongside warmer temperatures in general, are some of the reasons why cases of Legionnaire’s disease are on the rise. CIPHE is urging plumbing installers to be vigilant in order to ensure customer safety – Legionella bacteria can incubate in as little as 2-10 days, so keeping on top of a hot tub and spa bath maintenance and disinfection regime is essential.

Growing problem

Figures from Public Health England show a seasonal rise in cases from June to October. Last year saw a 20% rise in reported cases – 814 in total, of which 532 were confirmed as Legionnaires’ disease.

Kevin Wellman, CEO for CIPHE, commented: “While those of us in the industry know that all man-made hot and cold water systems can provide an environment ripe for the Legionella bacteria to grow, the average consumer has no idea it can thrive in places such as hot tubs, whirlpool baths, compost heaps and even garden hoses.

“The growing popularity in domestic hot tubs and spa baths means that many families have a potential source of an outbreak within their homes and gardens. While the CIPHE is working to raise awareness that these appliances need to be correctly installed, maintained, cleaned and chlorinated, many members of the public are blissfully unaware of the dangers.

“Traditionally, outbreaks have hit commercial and industrial premises such as that associated with a Bournemouth Health Spa in June of this year. However, it is looking likely that our industry will find itself dealing with more and more domestic outbreaks like the recurring incidence at Dolphin Square, and we need to be prepared.”

“There is no legislation covering domestic hot tub installations,” continued Kevin. “With annual deaths caused by poor plumbing now outnumbering those caused by Carbon Monoxide poisoning, we need to address the dangers that poorly designed or maintained systems can bring. The industry needs to be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to safely deal with potential Legionella sources. It’s no surprise that poorly designed, installed and maintained systems are the most at risk.”

Keep your customers’ safe

Make sure you’re aware of the risks and how to prevent them. If your customers have hot tubs and spa baths, particularly if you’ve installed them, provide advice on how to look after this equipment and offer servicing and maintenance support. No one wants to be a kill joy and with the right guidance, these luxury home accessories can remain safe and fun for years to come.

Logic4training runs a Legionella Prevention and Water Treatment Operatives course designed for installers who carryout work on water supply systems within residential properties, for more information, click here. 

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