There is nothing worse than a solar hot water system breaking down leaving you and your family without hot water.
Cold showers and costly repairs are just two of the many problems that can arise when this happens.
Understanding how a solar hot water system needs to be maintained is essential to preventing potential nightmares like this.
We will review all the steps involved in avoiding a breakdown and some tips for handling one if you experience it.
Regularly Check For Leaks And Cracks
A leak in your solar hot water system can cause an expensive repair or replacement. Check for leaks and cracks every month to catch any problems before they become major ones.
Keep The Area Around The System Free Of Debris
The panels need unobstructed access to the sun’s rays, so keep any trees or branches trimmed back from the panel area and try not to let leaves fall onto them.
You can clean some solar panels by spraying water on them, but many require particular fluid solutions.
Keep It Clean
Using a hose with a shutoff valve to clean off the solar panels from time to time will make sure that dirt doesn’t accumulate on them, which could cause the system’s efficiency levels to drop in some way or another.
However, be sure not to use soap or any other chemicals that might damage them in some way when cleaning.
Replace Worn Out Parts As Soon As Possible
The last thing you want to happen is for your solar hot water system to break down when it’s needed the most.
This means that the best practice is replacing old and worn-out parts as soon as possible so that they don’t have a chance of breaking down on you in an emergency scenario.
Check The Insulation
During cold months, pipes that run through unheated areas of the house can be exposed to cold temperatures.
This exposure can eventually lead to a break in the tube and an expensive hot water system breakdown.
To avoid this scenario, check for any insulation gaps around piping on the attic or crawl space ceilings and walls that border those spaces.
First, the pipes should be covered with a layer of fibreglass insulation.
“If you find any gaps, you’ll need to have a professional come and repair the insulation so that pipes are not exposed.”
Once that’s done, re-check to make sure there are no more gaps where pipes could come into contact with cold surfaces.
The other place to look for gaps in insulation is around the hot water tank itself.
It’s a good idea to have an electrician run new wiring from your electrical panel or switchboard directly to the water heater by bypassing any breakers used exclusively for general living areas of the house, such as the kitchen, the bathroom, or the living room.
Have An Emergency Kit Ready
If disaster strikes, it’s best to have a backup plan ready in advance of any incident so that you don’t get caught without water during an emergency. An emergency kit should contain:
- Solar system repair tools and replacement parts (if applicable).
- Bottled water or some other type of potable water source.
- A thermometer to measure the temperature of any stored water if you have an emergency supply tank.
Consider Installing An Electric Backup Heat Pump
If your solar water heating system has been in operation for a few years, and you live where there is little risk of freezing temperatures at night, then it may be that an electric backup heat pump will provide adequate protection.
A supplemental gas powered boiler can also reduce the risk during cold weather or periods of extended cloudy days.
Have A Professional Install And Maintain Your System
The key to avoiding the nightmare scenario of a solar system breakdown is going with quality.
So many benefits come from using a high-quality, well-maintained system. It can save you money in repair costs and give you peace of mind for years to come.
SolarPlumb’s solar expert plumbers are happy to assist you in this process and you can count on us to install the best system for your needs.
We understand that every household has its own needs, we’ll listen to your preferences and concerns to create a sustainable and energy-efficient solution.