I have been specifying Neoperl tap fittings for many years but have only just got round to taking up the long standing offer a of a factory tour. The UK office is in Malvern and it is an impressive set up.
The UK Sales Director Noel Neath took the afternoon out of his busy schedule so that we could play on one of the test rigs. One of the excuses for the visit was to look at the issue of spray fittings and perceived legionella risk. We have a project where the hot water strategy depends on low flow fittings for hand washing. We have regularly specified Neoperl spray fittings which are available with a built in 1.7 litre/minute flow regulator allowing them to deliver a lovely soft stream for handwashing without splashing.
However a Council’s maintenance department don’t allow spray fitting because of legionella concerns. My rather simplistic understanding is that to cause infection the bacteria must be present in high enough numbers and must be inhaled into the lungs – typically on water droplets. I can see that happening with shower heads and more splashy fine spray fittings but the Neoperl models deliver gentle columns of water.
In anticipation of being unable to win the argument for the spray fitting. Using cannibalised parts and (at my suggestion!) some Blu Tac, Noel pieced together a laminar low outlet regulated to only 2 litres per minute. At first this looked rather unimpressive. However putting hands under the flow changed our view. The very modest stream stuck to the hands providing excellent wetting but without splashing. I will report back when we know more.