The importance of keeping our care home heating functional in winter 2021
With one older person dying every seven minutes from cold-related illnesses, care home managers have never been more critical to ensure their care home heating is running effectively and efficiently. Finding a qualified plumbing and heating engineer can be difficult, but that’s where Three Counties Plumbing and Heating can step in.
This month, we look at the importance of keeping our elderly population warm and why you should be getting your heating and plumbing checked periodically by a qualified professional.
Keeping your care home heating working effectively
The cold weather has already made a definite appearance this year, and we are set to see temperatures drop as December and January set in. With this in mind, it’s imperative that your care home heating installations are checked and maintained by a qualified professional like Three Counties to ensure your vulnerable people are kept warm this winter. For any health care professional, winter is often a difficult time. With winter illnesses and viruses as well as ongoing medical conditions getting worse, having your central heating installation in your care home break down can make for a difficult place to work as well as a potential danger for the residents you care for.
Energy bills are steadily increasing, and it can be a challenge to budget for a typical home’s heating, let alone a large building such as a care home or residential living. But turning the heating off is not an option in a care home, so how do you manage with these ever-rising costs when budgets just cannot match? The answer may lie, in efficient and energy-saving heating solutions. If this is your long term plan, why not speak to a qualified heating engineer to see how they can help? In the meantime, don’t forget to get your boiler serviced and plumbing checked.
Why it is so important to keep our elderly warm during the winter
The older we get, the more our bodies change and respond to colder temperatures. Our elderly population find it more difficult to control body temperatures. This means they are at higher risk of developing moderate to severe long term health conditions as a result of cold temperatures, and for this reason, it’s essential to keep their homes warm throughout the winter. Ideal temperatures for inside the house should be about 18-20 degrees, according to QCS (Quality Compliance Systems).
Older adults lose body heat much quicker than when they were younger. Heat loss from our bodies can lead to ongoing illnesses becoming harder to manage. They can also cause serious respiratory illnesses that require hospital treatment and could be fatal if left untreated. Our elderly population is prone to hypothermia if their body temperatures get too low, which can lead to organ failure if left untreated. If you suspect a resident has hypothermia, you must warm them up as soon as possible with hot beverages, warming clothes and blankets and a warm room.
Managing legionella in your care home hot and cold water systems
Heating systems should be consistently checked by a qualified professional who will identify broken pipes, boiler repairs and give energy advice to keep it warm inside your care home. Three Counties Plumbing and Heating can support home heating systems and boilers to ensure your residents remain warm this winter.
Another concern for care homes is the effective management of legionella. Legionella is a bacteria found in water with a temperature between 24-45 degrees. Legionnaires disease can be potentially fatal, particularly to the elderly or those with chronic illnesses. All health and social care providers are required to carry out full risk assessments of their hot and cold water systems, including having these systems periodically checked by a qualified professional who can identify whether legionella is present in the water.
As part of the risk assessment, control measures will be identified to control the presence of legionella. These control measures may include:
- Temperature control – As bacteria are dormant in temperatures below 20 degrees and cannot survive in waters above 60 degrees, hot water storage tanks should be stored at 60 degrees or high, and any hot water distribution should be at 50 degrees or higher. Mixer valves should be fitted if there have been scald risks identified.
- Water samples – One of the most important measures is to take water samples regularly and have them checked by a professional to confirm the absence of legionella bacteria. Results should be recorded as part of ongoing monitoring.
- Water treatments – An effective way to control the presence of legionella is copper and silver ionisation or biocide treatments. This process will need to be checked for its effectiveness and results recorded with all control measures.
- Maintenance and monitoring – To ensure that the above points are being adhered to and that their results are successful, regular maintenance and monitoring are essential. This should only be carried out by a qualified professional like those at Three Counties Plumbing and Heating.
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Three Counties are on a mission to keep your care home heating functional all year round
With what seems like constant reductions in care budgets, it’s easy to forget that most care providers are working with a very tight financial budget to start with. Keeping your care home heating functional all year round is already a significant drain on resources, but the cost of heating can increase significantly in the colder winter months.
As care homes are responsible for the health and wellbeing of their residents, it’s vital that their heating and plumbing systems are in good working order at all times. Three Counties Heating and Plumbing have a reputation for delivering a fault-free service and is known for being reliable and hard-working. If you need the support of a reliable team of professionals to keep your care home heating functional this winter, give us a call or drop us an email and we will be in touch.
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