Water and re-opening

Refresh Water

Has your workplace been empty for a few weeks or longer? If your building has sat idle, remember to maintain your internal plumbing before reopening to ensure a fresh water supply.


  1. Before reopening, run every tap - cold water first, then hot.
  2. Flush every toilet.
  3. Maintain any other appliance or system with a water connection, such as fire sprinklers, refrigerator filters, drinking fountains, coffee makers, or ice machines.


If your building has been mostly vacant for several weeks or longer, the water in your internal plumbing is stale from sitting idle. Unused water that has been sitting in pipes for extended periods may appear cloudy or have an unpleasant taste or odor. Depending on the building and its plumbing, Legionella, metal leaching, and other hazards can also pose a health risk. WaterOne recommends flushing water through your fixtures to ‘turn over’ the unused water and flow fresh water from the water main through your building’s plumbing.

Here are the recommended steps for flushing your system before it is re-occupied. If you have facilities staff or a property manager, check with them on their plans for refreshing the plumbing system.

  1. Turn on every fixture and run cold water until it feels cool and fresh. Fresh water from the main will feel cooler than water that has been sitting in your building’s plumbing. It may take longer for fresh water to reach faucets in larger buildings.
  2. Flush every toilet as well.
  3. Next, run the hot water at every tap until it gets fully hot. This will get fresh water into your building’s hot water lines. For this to be effective, flush hot water only after all cold taps have been flushed.
  4. For larger, more complex buildings and facilities, follow the CDC’s guidance for preparing your plumbing before your workplace is re-occupied.