The lockdown has forced many people to work from home to avoid the risk of contracting the coronavirus at work. But while our offices and workplaces are empty, water is sitting in the pipes, getting old and potentially dangerous.

When water isn’t flowing, organisms and chemicals start to build up in the plumbing. This can happen in empty gyms, office buildings, hotels, shops, and even schools. It can only take a few days for these organisms and chemicals to reach unsafe levels, so what happens when water has been sitting for weeks and months?

Unfortunately, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic means that there have been no long term studies for what happens when buildings are reopened after a long shutdown.


What happens when water gets old?

If water systems are not maintained, harmful organisms, such as the bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s disease, can grow. Devices such as water filters, heaters, and water softeners can potentially become incubators for the bacteria.

With certain types of plumbing, especially in older buildings, water can accumulate harmful levels of lead and copper, which can cause learning disabilities, cardiovascular effects, nausea and diarrhoea.

The danger lies not only in drinking this water, but also from contracting infections from inhaling airborne droplets of water in aerosol form when water is splashed, such as in showers, pools, flushing toilets, and even washing your hands.

Now that offices are reopening, it’s vital that maintenance teams intentionally flush the building to replace all the old water with new. This can also be done weekly, and it will help remove any sediment that had accumulated along the pipes.

Taps, water heaters and softeners, fridges, toilets, and many other water systems need to have a high water turnover and may need specialised attention.

Ensure your office water supply is safe upon your return to the workplace, and if you are in a hard water area, and looking for water softeners in Beaconsfield, get in touch!