Do you have a solar water heater, or are you planning to install one?
Are you concerned about keeping up with your solar water heater repairs?
What are some of the most common issues you might encounter with a water heater like this?
Keep an eye out for these problems:
- Panels are not attached to the roof anymore – Over time, the panels may become detached or loose, especially if they weren’t installed correctly in the first place.
- Leaks have developed – Leaks can form at any point in the water heater system, and they can reduce the pressure or heating capabilities of your solar heater.
- Solar panels have broken – Sometimes, your solar panels may become broken or damaged due to weather, nature, or accidents. This can happen to any type of solar panel, and not just to solar water heaters.
- Water is no longer heating – This problem is common in older heaters, but any heater can suffer from this issue if something goes wrong.
- Water heater has frozen – Last but not least, sometimes, water heaters may freeze during colder weather and need maintenance to get them up and running again.
There may be other issues that crop up while you operate your solar water heater as well. Typically, solar heaters don’t have as many problems or concerns as electrical or gas water heaters. However, this doesn’t mean they’re completely without fault, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the possible issues you could encounter when you use one.
Read through the information below to learn how to service solar water heater issues. These tips and suggestions will help you deal with some of the most common problems, but don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help if you’re dealing with something we haven’t covered here, or if your problem is too concerning.
Solar Hot Water Heater Repair
Materials and Equipment Needed
- Any repair kits that may have come with your solar water heater
- Tie-downs or other attachment hardware
- Replacement valves
- Replacement pipe fittings
- Replacement solar panel glass
- Replacement gauge
- Insulation for piping and tubing
- Large brush or broom
If your panels are not attached to the roof anymore:
- You may need to use tie-downs or repair kit items that could have come with your solar heater to reattach it to your roof.
- Tie-downs can be used to lash the panels to the roof by following the directions included with your solar heater. Each heater is different, and each one is attached to the roof in a different way. Contact the manufacturer if you do not still have the directions for attaching yours.
- If wires are exposed, you will need to call a professional unless you are very skilled with wiring repair.
If leaks have developed:
- Valves will likely need to be replaced. You should not try to fix a broken valve, but should instead buy a new one and replace it so the leaking doesn’t continue.
- If replacing the valves doesn’t fix the problem, or if you can tell the leak is coming from somewhere else in the system, turn off the system and then check all the fittings and pipes for holes, damage, or loose components.
- Replace any pipes or fittings that have become damaged and are causing the leak. Carefully check nuts and bolts throughout the system as well, and replace as needed.
- Look for corrosion or hard water buildup that could be contributing to the problem. Replace corroded or built-up elements as well.
If the solar panels have broken:
- Contact your local hardware store for tempered glass that is made to fit solar panels. Be sure to provide the size measurements you need to replace yours.
- Remove the damaged glass and replace it carefully with the new piece.
- If any damage has occurred beneath the glass, there is a chance you’ll have to replace the whole panel. You may need to reach out to a professional for more information if this happens.
If your water is no longer heating:
- Check for leaks as well as valves or gauges that are no longer working properly, and replace any damaged or malfunctioning hardware.
- Check for blockages from corrosion or hard water. Replace as needed.
- Wrap the storage tank and pipes with insulation to keep the water warm and flowing, even in colder months.
- The sensor wires could be the issue. If this is the case, a professional may need to replace the sensor wires for you.
- Finally, if all else fails, you may simply not have your heater in the best possible location in your backyard. Be sure it’s getting enough sun every day for best results.
If your water heater has frozen:
- Always position your water heater so that water can drain properly out of it during cold months. This will prevent it from building up and then freezing in place.
- Some water heaters have freeze protection in place. If yours freezes despite this, the sensor wires may be malfunctioning and will likely require a professional to repair them.
- Use a large brush or broom to keep snow from building up on your water heater. Every day it snows, go outside and check the heater to ensure no snow or ice is collecting on it.
- Insulate your pipes and tank to prevent freezing.
Did you learn something about how to handle problems that might arise with your solar water heater? Do you feel comfortable and prepared in dealing with these issues? Is it ever okay to DIY your solar water heater repair, or should you always leave it to a professional?
Many problems that occur with solar water heaters can be fixed by any homeowner who knows how to use tools. However, some of these issues may require more intermediate know-how and an understanding of water lines. Still others require knowledge of energy, electricity, wiring, and more. These are the problems that should likely be left to professionals who have experience repairing this type of damage.
However, you can always try to DIY just about any issue with your solar panels as long as you have the knowledge to do so. Never try to repair anything that you don’t feel comfortable working with, and never push yourself beyond the boundaries of your own experience. When in doubt, call a professional! Professionals know what they’re doing and are not likely to get injured or to further damage the solar heater while trying to repair it. This peace of mind alone may be worth the cost of hiring someone experienced to handle the job.
If you do choose to learn more about how to fix whatever might be wrong with your solar heater, look up YouTube videos and how-to guides to get more specific, detailed information on how to solve the problem. With some skill and guidance, you should be able to repair your damaged solar water heater in no time.
Finally, don’t forget to wear safety gear when working on repairing your solar water heater or any other DIY project around your house. Use good common sense when working, and always make sure someone else knows where you are and what you’re working on. Safety first!