Returning to the workplace? Don’t forget to turn this on after the lights

As parts of Maryland and Virginia begin to reopen from coronavirus restrictions, business owners and workers will be returning to offices and work sites for the first time in a while.

But here’s something you should add to your back-to-work routine you may not have thought of: Let all the water faucets in the building run for a bit.

Water shouldn’t just sit in your pipes for very long because, after a while, the disinfectant used to treat water wears off, which increases the risk that Legionella and other harmful bacteria will start growing and start spreading throughout the rest of the plumbing, according to the Prince William County Service Authority.

The water utility has put together a to-do list to follow anytime the pipes in your building sit dormant for more than a week:

  • Flush cold water through all plumbing fixtures (faucets, shower heads, etc.) for at least 15 minutes, starting with the fixtures located closest to where water enters the building from the service line.
  • Flush hot water through all plumbing fixtures until the water runs cold. Alternately, drain hot water tanks directly.
  • Clean plumbing fixtures according to manufacturers’ directions.
  • Replace all filters in appliances that use water, including refrigerators, ice makers and dishwashers.
  • Inspect mechanical equipment that uses water, such as cooling towers, boilers, pumps and backflow preventers to ensure they are functioning properly.

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