Legionella is a harmful bacteria that lives in any kind of water system and, when inhaled in airborne water droplets, it can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal type of pneumonia.
In domestic properties, the risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease is low because the daily use of water means the water supply does not have a chance to stagnate. Also, the water temperatures in the home are normally too hot or cold for the Legionella bacteria to survive. Only if a property has been unoccupied for a while is the water likely to lie stagnant in the water system, and if the weather is warm then the bacteria could start to multiply.
Are there any legal requirements?
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) sets out all of the legal health and safety requirements for organisations. Some organisations, such as healthcare providers, have a legal obligation to do regular legionella risk assessments. However, in the case of landlords (including those landlords who only rent out a single room and a holiday rental property) and small businesses, although they have a legal obligation to ensure the welfare and safety of their tenants and staff, there is no specific legal obligation to test for Legionella. Indeed, the HSE does not recognise a Legionnaires’ testing certificate for landlords. However, it is considered good practice to regularly test for Legionella, and any landlord or small business that carries out regular testing is fulfilling their legal obligation to protect their tenants and staff.
The HSE does not state how often Legionella testing should be done, but we recommend that, ideally, testing is done yearly but at a minimum every two years.
How to test for Legionella with a DIY testing kit
To test for Legionella, you can hire an expert assessor but this can be expensive, and the cost can be prohibitive. Instead you can now buy a DIY testing kit for just £40 per water sample making it more than affordable for landlords and small businesses.
This DIY Legionella testing kit is easy to use and it includes the following:
- 1 Sterile Bottle
- UKAS accredited analysis
- Free Sample Packaging
- Pre-Paid Return Pack
- Confidential Service
- Results & Certificate
- Laboratory testing takes at least 10-14 days
You take a minimum of 250ml of water from a sample point. It is important that water from more than one sample point is not mixed as this will dilute any positive results, and you will not know which outlet or area of the water system contains the bacteria. The water sample is analysed as soon as it is received, and it takes a minimum of 10 days to get the results. We can then explain to you what the results mean and if any action is needed. If Legionella is found to be present in the water supply then uRisk can help with a full range of remedial works to get the water system back to good health & full HSE compliance.
Our Legionella testing kit is a far more cost-effective, convenient and easy way of testing for Legionella than hiring an expert assessor. It contributes to you being legally compliant, giving you peace of mind that you are protecting your tenants and staff and keeping everyone safe.