Water Heater Diseases
Check out most energy saving tips on websites that promote green tips or initiatives and one of the number one thing recommended is to reduce the temperature of your homes water heater. What they don’t say is that this puts your family at risk of water heater diseases, more specifically, Legionnaires Disease, a potentially deadly bacterial infection that can be one of the causes of pneumonia.
Legionnaires Disease thrives in hot water environments, below is a list of where it thrives and dies at different temperature settings.
- 70 to 80 °C (158 to 176 °F): Disinfection range
- 66 °C (151 °F): die within 2 minutes
- 60 °C (140 °F): die within 32 minutes
- 55 °C (131 °F): die within 5 to 6 hours
- Above 50 °C (122 °F): survive but do not multiply
- 20 to 50 °C (68 to 122 °F): growth range
- Below 20 °C (68 °F): survive but are dormant
Legionnaires Disease is perfectly suited to survive within a conventional hot water tank as temperatures constantly fluctuate with colder temperatures at the bottom and hotter at the top. A regular tank also never completely empties so some of the bacteria will always persist and continue to re-populate. It is estimated that nearly 25% of all water heaters are contaminated with this bacteria.
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Legionnaires Disease can be tranmitted through a number of ways but these are most popular; inhaling water vapours in a shower or bathroom, though choking while drinking (contaminated water enters your lungs).
A tankless water heater does not have the potential to contract and harbour Legionnaires Disease. A tankless completely flushes its system every time the hot water is tuned on making it nearly impossible for Legionnaires Disease to repopulate the system. If you have elderly or young children in your home it may be a good time to switch to a tankless water heater.