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Keeping your Static Caravan Safe After Lockdown

Legionella after lockdown

While there may have been be other, more publicised health crises, the threat of Legionella should not be taken for granted. Whenever you return to your static caravan after a time away, learn how to manage this potentially dangerous bacteria. With a few simple steps, you can keep your friends and family safe on vacation.

As the Government starts to ease travel restrictions, your thoughts may now be turning to when you’ll be able to visit your static caravan for a holiday or change of scenery. When the time arrives, to make sure you can have the break you deserve, we wanted to share some thoughts on how you might keep your ‘safe space’ safe and healthy.

A common theme in the hospitality industry, post lockdown, is the risk of Legionnaires’ disease, or more accurately Legionella, the bacteria that causes it. And that got us thinking, it’s not just limited to the hospitality industry and is worth considering for your holiday property too. Remember, you’ve been away for longer than you may have been expecting.

It may not be headline news, but this nasty little bug can cause some really very serious health problems, however, it’s also very easily managed, if precautions are taken.

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Managing the risk of Legionnaires’ disease

Legionella awareness and safety

Although more commonly associated with office blocks and the hospitality industry, Legionnaires’ disease, or more accurately legionella the bacteria that causes it, can be a risk factor for any property or accommodation that has been left unoccupied for a period of time. This could include holiday homes, unoccupied properties, a new home, static caravans, touring caravans and even boats, basically anywhere with plumbed water systems.

Although a heightened consideration following the pandemic lockdowns, Legionella should be a consideration after any period of vacancy, especially during hotter seasons. Whether you have a static caravan, touring caravan with a water tank, boat or a house, if you are returning after just a few weeks learn how to manage this potentially dangerous bacteria. Even after unoccupancy during colder months when the risk is lessened, good plumbing hygiene is important and with a few simple steps, you can keep your friends and family safer.

It may not be headline news, but this nasty little bug can cause some really very serious health problems, however, it’s also very easily managed, if precautions are taken.

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What is Legionella?

Legionella is a bacteria naturally present in water, but will grow where water is allowed to sit, and especially thrives in warm water conditions between 20-60°C. If this water is then inhaled through droplets, mist or vapour, or consumed, it can cause a lung infection known as Legionnaires' disease.



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How do I keep my static caravan safe?

You can help to manage the risk with a few simple steps when preparing your property. Even if your needs are simple such as washing your hands during an unoccupied property inspection, it’s important to take measures to protect yourself that can be as simple as running a tap before using it.

You will no doubt be familiar with basic PPE (personal protective equipment), you will likely have been wearing facemasks and gloves at the height of the pandemic. To prevent the potential inhalation or ingestion of the legionella bacteria, we suggest wearing your medical grade (FFP2/N95) mask and PPE when carrying out your ‘Legionella Sweep.’

Firstly, check for any blocked drains or areas where water may have been left sitting and clear these.

Where you have a filtered water system, you might need to change the filter (check the manufacturers guidelines).

For caravans or boats that use an external water tank check these are in a good condition then clean using a bicarbonate of soda solution ensuring the water is rinsed around the whole unit and ideally leave it for 24hrs. If your plumbing has the facility to by-pass the water filter you can then use this water to flush through the system, otherwise rinse with fresh water.

Flush through all your water systems, even where you will have turned off the water and drained-down for unoccupancy, to ensure any sitting water has been dispersed. You will need to fully flush any hot water systems too. It is as simple as running each of the taps in your property, hot and cold, for a few minutes, and flushing the toilets. During drought period such as in 2022 you may wish to preserve the water to use in the garden. Remember there is still a risk that Legionella may be present so unless boiling the water we wouldn’t recommend using it for other purposes such as cleaning.

Where you have a shower, remove the head first to drain any water before replacing and running water through as with the taps.

If you have any electrical equipment that holds water such as a kettle, or has a water reservoir such as a coffee machine or portable cool air humidifier, ensure these are drained and cleaned before use. Although the bacteria cannot survive in temperatures over 60C it is a good precaution to drain and clean where water may have been sat for a long period of time for example chemicals found in plastic may have leached into the water.

In addition, washing machines and dishwashers should be run empty on the hottest cycle (60C+), not only will this help to kill bacteria and distribute any stagnated water they may have retained but it will help to rinse the filters avoiding smelly laundry and contaminated plates.

If you have one, do not be tempted to turn on the hot tub until this has been fully drained and cleaned, or has run a full chlorinated filtration cycle. Hot tubs account for the highest proportion of recorded Legionella related illnesses.

And finally, this is not an exhaustive list; therefore you should consider all water systems in your property, not forgetting about any drinking water dispensers and portable air conditioning units.


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Why choose Towergate for your static caravan insurance?

As a specialist insurer of caravan insurance for 20 years, we’ve worked with our customers to understand what they want from their insurance. We’ve developed our product to offer a flexible approach to insurance, giving customers the ability to select additional products to meet their needs.

We’re proud of our staff and their expertise, with a strong emphasis on training, academies and hands on experience of the caravans and leisure homes we insure. Our aim is to give you peace of mind for your leisure home.

Can we help you with anything else?

As one of the largest insurance intermediaries in Europe, Towergate offer a huge range of specialist insurance products. In the leisure department alone we offer insurance for; touring caravans, park homes, beach huts, marine and small water craft and our hire car excess brand offers great value hire car excess waiver insurance.

Get more information on our static caravan insurance or call us directly on 0344 892 1413 for a quote.

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About the author

Adam Summersby, caravan insurance articles author

Adam Summersby is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.