As the Government announces further easing of the lockdown over the coming weeks, second home owners will soon be able to stay at their houses and flats. For details of the easing of restrictions, please refer to the Government and Police websites and news channels.

With many houses and flats having been unoccupied for a prolonged period of time, we thought it would be helpful to provide some advice on water hygiene for when you do finally return (where we have given block/property specific water hygiene information then this should continue).

ALL OUTLETS – A prolonged flush of all hot and cold outlets for at least 10 minutes on low flow settings would be prudent (showers flushed with heads removed) and shower heads and hoses then fully descaled and disinfected.

LOCAL STORED WATER – In the absence of any communal systems, we assume each flat to be directly mains fed, which would reduce the risk and controlled flushing of all the cold outlets should remove any bacteria. However, if any of the flats include a small water tank- i.e over the hot water cylinder , then these are likely to be stagnant and as a minimum, prolonged flushing would be needed to drain and re-fill the contents.

HOT WATER SYSTEMS – In terms of hot water, this is likely to be of greater risk if you have a hot water storage cylinder which has been switched off for some time. In this case, it would be advisable to first run all hot taps to flush out the cylinder contents and thereafter, to ensure the cylinder is switched on and preferably pasteurised by increasing the storage temperature to >60C for one hour and to then flush through to all outlets before re-setting to 60C. Care should be taken to minimise aerosols and to consider scalding risks.
If hot water is instantaneous, i.e via a combi-boiler, the risk is lower but it should be ensured that the unit is set to operate at 60C and again, all outlets flushed through.

Once you are back to your second home, please also undertake a thorough inspection and ensure that you check plumbing connections and drainage outlets from appliances like washing machines and dishwashers so as to avoid leaks. If you need a plumber then we have contact information on our website.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Matthew Strong
Managing Director – Rebbeck Brothers Ltd.