Commercial Buildings Need to Prioritize Water Safety
Whether you own or operate a commercial building providing domestic hot water to its residents, the rise in reported cases of legionella disease nationally has to concern you.
Consider the following graph from the CDC website:
Legionella cases reported to CDC have been on the rise since 2000. Health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the United States in 2018, up from barely 1000 cases in 2000, but even that is probably not the whole story. Because many cases of Legionnaires’ disease are improperly diagnosed and unreported, this number almost certainly underestimates the actual occurrences. A recent study estimated that the true number of Legionnaires’ disease cases may be 1.8–2.7 times higher than what is reported. More illness is usually found in the summer and early fall, but it can happen any time of year. The CDC estimates that every year approximately 7.2 million Americans get sick from diseases spread through water.
While some of this increase may be due to increased awareness and ease of internet reporting, there is no doubt that the overall number is on the rise. Factors such as an aging plumbing infrastructure, extended length water piping, and increased aeration in the water due to low flow fixtures and the increasing use of tankless commercial systems installed without mixing valves, can all be contributing factors. In their official Legionella prevention toolkit, the CDC directly recommends the installation of a mixing valve to prevent waterborne disease while preventing a scalding hazard at the sink.
The chart below encapsulates some of the studies on Legionella growth and the temperature ranges involved.
How Heat-Timer® Products Help Create Safe Water Delivery
Water safety in a commercial building or hospital requires careful analysis of many factors in the design of your water distribution system. However, without a doubt the use of water storage systems is a key area to address the elimination of Legionella risk. By storing water at temperatures high enough to kill bacteria while delivering it at safe temperatures to end users, mixing valves have been solving that problem for decades.
The Heat-Timer® mixing valves like our ETV (Electronic Tempering Valve) or our pre-plumbed version called the ETS (Electronic Tempering Station) take safety and accuracy of mixing to the next level.
Our computer controlled valve includes a large, easy-to-read display and user-friendly adjustment module that can be located up to 500 feet from the valve. This allows outlet water temperature to be monitored at a glance and for the temperature to be adjusted without having to access the valve piping.
The ETV Platinum Plus combines a rugged stainless-steel valve body, reliable electronic actuator, and a microcontroller module. The control module constantly monitors the outlet temperature of the valve which is continuously displayed and can be read across the room in virtually any lighting condition. Based on the set point, which is user-adjustable in 1° increments, the control employs PID-type logic to adjust the actuator. The actuator mounts directly to the valve body and mixes the hot and cold water required to produce the desired outlet temperature.
Installation can be incredibly fast and simple if you opt for our ETS which is a pre-plumbed, small footprint solution using our ETV. Simply connect the hot and cold water supply to it and plug it in and you are good to go. This kind of convenience is essential when trying to minimize water supply downtime in an actively used or occupied building.
The ETV control quickly restores the desired water temperature, even after large changes in load conditions, with a minimum of fluctuation. Below is a photo taken of water temperature monitoring before and after the installation of an ETS in a large college dormitory.
Note the wild fluctuation of delivered water temperature prior to installation. After only a few hours of downtime, our ETS was installed and note the straight horizontal line at the right, indicating perfectly consistent water temperature.
Legionella safety is a concern for all of us. There are tried and true solutions out there today for your building. Give Heat-Timer® a call today to see how we can help. https://www.heat-timer.com/