Air carries microbes, and the use of faucet aerators pulls these microbes into the water you drink and wash your hands with. An aerator draws air into the water stream to make the water feel softer and reduces splashing to ensure water stays in the sink.
“That’s the ideal place for legionella to grow,” says Larry. While the experience of using this water is a nice feature, “hospitals don’t use aerators anymore, because if there’s bacteria in the air then it gets into the water.”
Lucky for you, aerators are not the only way to make your water soft and control the stream. Consider a laminar flow (pictured, right), which doesn’t allow any air into the stream but provides the same, soft water effect.
“A laminar flow outlet is like what you see coming out of a garden hose,” says Larry, “it creates a nice stream, like a waterfall. It doesn’t allow any standing space for water droplets to stay and grow bacteria.”
Other options include a flow control spout which uses a flow regulator (pictured, right) inside the spout to limit the flow of water and both soften and control the stream.
“Using laminar flow and flow control on faucets are standard practices in the medical facilities we work with,” says Chris.
As you walk through your facility, identify any aerators in your plumbing system. These can all be replaced with other outlet options to reduce the introduction of airborne pathogens.
What you don’t want to do is simply remove the aerators and allow the faucets to be used with no outlet. This creates a major problem with water splashing all over and the facility will then have safety liability issues. Water ends up puddling on the floor and creating a slip hazard, in addition to growing microbes right there on the floor of the restroom.
The laminar flow outlets shown below have additional antimicrobial silver ion coatings that we've seen work well in healthcare facilities.
If you have any questions, or want help identifying the right solutions for your exact needs, call 1-800-336-8900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk remotely with one of our technical sales consultants.
Check out the rest of this award winning series: Best Practices for Anti-Microbial Plumbing