Innovative new press fittings have been released to help design specifiers and installers combat the threat of Legionella bacteria in heating and potable water installations .
The specially engineered looped wall plate elbow fitting and a 180° return bend have been added to the >B< Press copper press fittings range manufactured by Conex Bänninger.
The range is ideal for combating ‘dead legs’ and is available exclusively from distributor Reece.
The term ‘dead legs’ is used to describe runs of pipework with areas of stagnant water.
This creates the conditions for the build-up of harmful germs, such as Legionella bacteria that can breed in temperatures between 25°C and 45°C, doubling every eight hours.
While in healthy people the resulting Legionnaires’ disease may cause only cold or flu-like symptoms, it can be much more serious for those in ill-health or those with a vulnerable immune system.
In health and aged care settings, the mortality rate from Legionnaires’ disease is as high as 40 per cent.
The opportunity for the potentially toxic dead legs can arise over time as a system is extended or its use by the building’s occupants changes.
Conex Bänninger international sales director, Pietro Cardente, said despite best intentions, inadequate water circulation can occur in almost any building over time.
“Health and water hygiene are obviously of the highest priority in hospitals and in settings that care for the elderly, but they can occur almost anywhere where there are hot and cold water outlets,” he said.
“That could be schools, hotels and apartments, big commercial offices, private homes and large-scale public buildings, even in safety showers.”
The looped wall plate elbow is used in a looped system, which avoids stagnation in sections of pipework connected to feed lines that are infrequently used.
Cardente said the loop system helps pull through and circulate the water, even when only one tap is opened.
He said the water is also maintained ‘at temperature’, with fluctuations kept to a minimum.
This compares to the traditional tee installation that directs water only to the outlet activated by the user, and which fails to flush water through any pipework for services that are not in use, leading to dead legs.
Using a loop system means maintenance engineers only have to open one tap to clean the system, avoiding the more usual but very lengthy process of having to open every tap.
The 180° return bend is used to reverse the direction of pipework using just one fitting, whereas as previously two elbows would be needed.
As a press joint, >B< Press fittings are flame-free and have the benefit of Conex Bänninger’s 3-point press, with one mechanical press either side of the bead and the third, hydraulic, press crimping the EPDM O-ring.
Unlike the ‘traditional’ brazing technique, the risk of fire is eliminated and there is no requirement for a hot work permit.
Press fittings are also much easier and quicker than brazing, without having to wait each time for a weld to cool down.
“These new fittings can play an important part in the reduction of dead legs and standing water throughout a system, as well as being quick and easy to install, providing a secure and permanent joint,” Cardente said.