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3 Quick Steps to Legionella Testing

Fill Legionella Testing Bottle/s with Water

Your kit will include a sterile bottle/s, simply fill it with water from your hot taps / showers.

We’ll Collect the Sample for FREE

Place your sample in the
supplied bag and contact
us to collect.

We Test and Provide a Certificate

We will conduct your Legionella test in our laboratory and will send you the results and a certificate in the post.

Would you like more information about Legionella & Water Testing?


Legionella Testing Kits

Is Legionella Testing required by UK law?
One of the legal responsibilities of a person in charge of maintaining a property (such as a landlord) is to ensure that their property is free from hazardous elements such as Legionella bacteria. This is also true for employers and other duty holders who are responsible for premises and the health & safety of others.
Legionella testing is not a legal obligation but the Health & Safety Executive stipulate they feel it is appropriate in numerous situations including:

  • High-risk areas or where there is a population with increased susceptibility, eg in healthcare premises including care homes.
  • Water systems where the correct temperature is not consistently achieved.

If your stored hot water temperature drops below 60°C, even for short period of time – then the HSE would expect legionella testing to be undertaken.

Is it difficult to use a Legionella testing kit?
Using a Legionella testing kit from Aquacert is very easy indeed. We provide easy to follow instructions along with the kits we provide. First thing you do is fill the provided bottle/s with water from your taps and/or showers. Then contact us to let us know you have taken the samples so we can collect for testing. Lastly we will test your samples in our professional laboratory and will come back to you shortly with your test results and legionella certificate.
How long does it take to get my Legionella test results back?
It can take up to 13 days to get your results. This is because the samples have to be incubated in our laboratory for at least 10 days before we can examine the cultures.

You will get a detailed test result from our laboratory and service teams. If there are high levels of bacteria detected, then you will also find information on what you need to do to prevent further contamination or exposure.

Will you provide a Legionella test certificate?
Yes, you will receive a legionella test certificate, this is a part of our service package. Your certificate will be sent to you by email or post.

We will also keep your legionella test results in our database for at least 10 years – if you need a copy just telephone/email us.
We also send out reminders when your next legionella test is due, these are sent via post or email.

Regular testing is essential, even though you may not have the Legionella bacteria in your water systems now, as Legionella bacteria occurs naturally you cannot tell when it will start to grow in your system.

Do I need a Legionella test kit to test my water system?
It is a landlord’s duty to keep their property safe from exposure to Legionella bacteria and must therefore take responsibility and conduct risk assessments and water testing if required. The frequency of Legionella testing will depend on two factors: The first one is the type of water system in your property, the other is the result of the risk assessment. For those that use cold water systems, testing should be every quarter. For those using enclosed hot and cold water systems, testing should be exercised when there is doubt that the control measures in place are effective or when there is a lack of consistency in the water’s temperature or biocide level.
How many days does a Legionella test take?
Once we collect your water sample, it will be cultured for 10 days in our laboratory as per the requirements of UKAS and the HSE. The full testing period usually takes about 12 to 13 days from water sample collection to result verification.
How do I use the Legionella test kit?
When you receive your Legionella test kit (to your chosen address), first check that both the testing bottle/s and a ‘Courier Pick-Up Request’ form are present.

Then use the bottle/s to collect water samples and fill out the ‘Courier Pick Up Request’ form and send it back to us via email/fax. Place the bottle/s and form in the supplied bag and we will arrange and pay for the courier to collect the bag from you and deliver the samples to our laboratory for analysis.

If the analysed results come out as positive, we will provide you with instructions on what actions need to be taken to control the spread of the bacteria.

Depending on your needs, the legionella results certificate can be sent directly to your test address or if you prefer a head office address.

We will keep the result information in our database for future reference so you can request copies at any time.

Lastly, you will receive an email from us with information on your next test schedule.

How often should I retest for Legionella?
6 monthlyl monitoring to check for Legionella bacteria is advised, you may need to do it more often in case of a Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak, or when you have a new water treatment procedure, or if a nearby property has been tested positive for presence of Legionella bacteria.

You will also need to do a retest if your water samples come out as positive in an initial legionella test. A retest will be used for verification of the first test and to identify the source of the bacteria.

A retest is also performed after the proper course of action has been taken to check if the Legionella bacteria has been removed. For more specific instructions, refer to the resampling and retesting standards found in the HSG 274 documentation.

How often you should do a retest will depend on the type of water system you have, and how much bacteria is found.

So that you will not forget when it’s time to retest, we will be sending you a reminder.

How many legionella testing kits should I order?
To decide on how many Legionella testing kits you will need, you need to consider the kind of facility you have and how many hot water systems, taps and showers are in your property. Your risk assessment will detail this data and should include information on which locations should be sampled.
We have simple and easy to use testing kits packages for all types of property and business type. You can check out the complete list of legionella testing kits here to find what you need. If you cannot decide what kit best suits your needs, call us on 0800 048 1737 for advice.
Can you help me prove that my property have been tested for Legionella bacteria?
Property managers who are in charge of controlling risks of Legionella are expected to keep record of tests they have performed, therefore we have made it part of our service to keep a record of your testing results and certificate, we make it easy for you to obtain the details when needed.

The information on the bacteria levels in your sample and expert recommended actions to be undertaken are all in the test results we provide. Your certificate will be sent to your preferred address.

Will I receive reminders when I need to retest for Legionella?
We will send you a reminder when your next Legionella test is due. We will send it through via your preferred method (email, fax or post).
Can I order a legionella test kit online?
Yes you can, this website includes an extensive range of legionella tests for a wide range of uses, and all can be ordered easily online.
Is there anything I can do to prevent Legionella disease?
To prevent contamination, and worse exposure to legionella bacteria, you can do the following:

  • To help prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria, keep cold water maintained at a temperature below 20°C, and for stored hot water keep it above 60°C.
  • Employ the services of someone who is skilled in performing routine water checks, inspections and regular cleaning of water systems.
  • Search for and remove any stagnant water within the premises. This is achieved by removing all dead ends / dead legs in your pipework. You will also need to flush out all taps and showers that are not often used, do this each week.
  • At least every quarter, use a product like Showerhead Plus to descale and disinfect shower hoses and showerheads.
  • Have your water systems routinely checked and analysed making sure you do not have an unacceptable count of Legionella bacteria in your premises. How often you should do this will depend on your risk assessment and previous results.
Does chlorine kill legionella?
Chlorine has been used to prevent infection for almost 200 years and as a drinking water disinfectant for over 100 years, so its properties are well known to the scientific community but does it kill legionella bacteria?

Legionella bacteria are relatively easy to kill, it can be done by heat, UV light or by chemicals. There are numerous biocides which do a very efficient job in destroying the bacteria but unfortunately only a few can be used in drinking water supplies, why?

Well, if a chemical can kill single living cells (such as bacteria) they may damage us humans too since we are just a collection of many single cells (about 40 trillion).
Chlorine belongs to the small group of chemicals that is allowed to be dosed in drinking water supplies, it only needs to be used at a very low concentration to kill bacteria; at these low levels it doesn’t do too much harm to humans.

So does chlorine kill legionella bacteria? yes it does!

Hospitals and care homes have legionella testing regimes, whenever the bacteria is isolated in their water supplies, there’s a high likelihood that they will use chlorine to disinfect them.

Regular legionella testing and chlorine disinfections are used to keep their water quality safe since people staying in healthcare facilities are generally more prone to contracting legionnaires’ disease and have a higher risk of it being fatal.

Does bleach kill legionella?
It’s a common question but ‘bleach’ means different things to different people.
For most of us, bleach is strong chemical we get from the supermarket which we use in washing clothes or sanitising kitchens and bathrooms. These are chlorine bases products, usually sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite.

Other people may use as hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate and they often call their favourite chemical ‘bleach’ too.
What’s common to all these types of bleach is that they are strong oxidising agents and are used as disinfectants and laundry cleaning products.

So does bleach kill legionella bacteria? Yes it does!

Each separate type of bleach will disinfect water and has the ability to destroy legionella bacteria fairly quickly and at low concentrations. However, they have slightly different properties, some are better at penetrating biofilms to reach the legionella bacteria living there – others are more efficient at killing the free floating planktonic bacteria.

Water treatment specialists will determine the best type of bleach depending on the water system and the results of the legionella testing.

Getting rid of legionella bacteria
For most people, the phone call which tells them we have found legionella in their water fills them with dread. Of course we will explain the different ways of getting rid legionella, most of which are simple and inexpensive, so it seldom isn’t as bad as they feared.

There are several ways to kill legionella which include heat, chemicals or ultra violet light. The method you choose will depend on the type of water system and level of disruption you are prepared to accept.

The easiest method is heat, this involves getting the water hotter than usual and preferably above 65°C. Naturally this is not suited to your cold water systems but works well for your hot water systems. You need to warn staff and visitors that the water will be hotter than normal to avoid scalding. Aquacert can provide detailed information if this method is applicable to you.

If your system is not capable of attaining 65°C or if it’s the cold water which has legionella bacteria, then the chemical approach may be more appropriate. Whilst there are numerous chemicals which are highly effective at killing this organism, only a small number have the necessary approvals to be dosed into our domestic water supplies. The most common chemicals used as disinfectants for this purpose include chlorine, chlorine dioxide and hydrogen peroxide.

Some of these are slightly better at killing the bacteria and others better at penetrating the biofilm which is home to most of the legionella bacteria. Apart from deciding which chemical to use, you’ll need to determine the dose rate. Higher concentrations allow shorter contact times but the downside may be the corrosive effects or disruption caused to staff or production processes. Choosing a lower concentration but then extending the period the disinfectant is in the water may offer an alternative solution.

Some situations call for using very low levels of chemical, these are dosed continuously for days or even weeks.

Occasionally UV light can be used on its own but it is more likely to be more effective when used in combination with a disinfectant.

So whatever type your water system may be you won’t be the first person or company to have legionella bacteria grow in it, so relax! It may be an ‘unknown’ to you but for AquaCert it is something we manage every day for hospitals, care homes, offices, factories and church halls!