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Water Hygiene

Hot and cold water supply is your responsibility.

As a Futures Housing Group customer, you are responsible for the hygiene of the water system within your property. If you notice any defects, you are also responsible for reporting these to us

Tips on water hygiene

The water supplied to your home by the water company must meet strict standards set in the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000.

The water company is monitored by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) which carries out regular tests to ensure water quality is of the required standard.

The areas covered are:

  • Bacteria.
  • Chemicals, such as Nitrates and Pesticides.
  • Metals, such as lead.
  • The way water looks and tastes.

How you can help

What you do in your home can affect the water quality. Here are some tips to help prevent bacterial growth and contamination of the water supply.

Hot and Cold Water System


If you have a domestic hot water cylinder in your home the thermostat should be set at 60ºC. Do not reduce this setting or the setting of your boiler thermostat, as bacteria can multiply at lower temperatures. If you have a combination boiler or multi-point water heater, the thermostat should be set to achieve similar temperatures.

If you are away from home for long periods (for example holidays or hospital stays) the water in your system can deteriorate if unused.

When you return home, heat up your system to the normal temperature, open each tap and run for at least 3 minutes. Cold taps should be flushed until the water runs cold.

When flushing taps and other outlets, open slowly and take care not to cause splashing or release spray droplets to the atmosphere.

Flush the toilet twice to circulate fresh water through the system and empty the cistern.

If you have water storage tank and you notice the lid is missing or damaged, exposing the stored water to contaminates, please contact Futures Housing Group and report it as a repair.

Tap Hygiene


Tap spouts on your bath, basin and sink may become contaminated from external sources.

To be safe, sterilise tap spouts by wiping with a dilute bleach solution. If the tap is heavily scaled or contaminated, this can be dislodged using a nylon brush.


If you have a shower fitted with a flexible hose, make sure that a hose retaining ring is fitted to prevent the shower head falling into your bath water, as this may cause back-siphonage leading to contamination of your mains water.Do not use rubber push-on shower hoses on your bath taps.

Shower spray heads also present a small risk in domestic properties, and should be dismantled and cleaned of scale and debris using a nylon brush then soaking in a bleach solution on a regular basis. This is recommended every 3 months

Following a holiday or extended period away ( 1 week plus) where the shower is not used, it is essential that the shower head is lowered into a bucket or plastic bag, and the shower run to the operating temperature, whilst taking care not to make or release spray droplets to the atmosphere.

Other Fittings and Appliances

If you have an outside tap, the installation must comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations and incorporate a Backflow Prevention Device, usually a double check valve.

Any appliances you buy which are connected to the water supply must comply with the Water Regulations. All domestic appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers comply to the appropriate standards but many commercial appliances do not and are not suitable for home use.


Water Filters

Both jug and fixed types must be cleaned and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Legionnaires’ Disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia. Anybody can catch it but it is more likely to affect people aged between 40 and 70 who are unwell, have low immunity or smoke.

There is no evidence to show that the disease is contagious and only 200-400 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported in the UK each year.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by inhaling very small droplets of water suspended in the air that contain bacteria, such as spray from a shower or tap.

The disease does not appear to multiply below 20°C and will not survive above 60°C. Stagnant water stored between 20°C and 40°C is where Legionnaires can multiply.


How to prevent bacteria breeding in stagnant water and lime scale

  • Flush out shower heads on a regular basis.
  • Ensure that taps that are not normally used are flushed regularly.
  • Ensure shower heads and taps are free from limescale.

For information on using water wisely visit our water saving tips page.

  • Last updated: 02/06/2016

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