Legionnaires’ Disease can be caused by the bacteria, legionella. This bacteria can be found occurring naturally in the environment. It is partial to water, especially warm water, in areas like aesthetic fountains, hot water heaters, and whirlpools. This disease can be deadly in up to 30 percent of patients who contract it. According to the CDC, as many as 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with Legionnaire’s each year.
Common Causes of Legionnaire’s Disease
Although legionella is commonly found in water systems, it can also thrive in various plumbing systems, cooling towers, and air conditioners. These bacteria reproduce best in stagnant water that is about 95-115 degrees Farenheit, which are common conditions found within HVAC systems and plumbing systems. The bacteria can then enter the air through the HVAC system and potentially spread disease, especially in large buildings where many people gather at once, such as hotels and hospitals. In fact , air conditioning units and their parts are the most common culprit of the spread of the legionella bacteria.
Legionnaire’s Disease and HVAC Systems
Currently, Europe has set, evidenced-based standards in place to help prevent and reduce the incidence of Legionnaire’s Disease. It has been found that prevention is best done when it is focused on throughout all phases of the HVACs life cycle, from its design and install and through operation and maintenance. A wrong step at any of these turns could put the system at risk for developing this potentially deadly bacteria and spreading it.
Prevention is Key
The best way to reduce the risk of legionella bacteria, is to prevent its growth and spread in water systems in the first place. There are several guidelines which must be adhered to regarding the care and maintenance of water systems, such as appropriate water temperatures and treatment of water with chemicals.
Poor indoor air quality from HVAC systems can lead to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease. As a consumer, choosing the right system and HVAC professional can decrease your risk of contracting this concerning and sometimes fatal disease. Follow us for everything you need to keep your home running efficiently.