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Solar Water Heater Damage

Out here in the Valley of the Sun, the use of solar energy to power even the smallest thing in our homes is beneficial to both our environment and our wallets. Solar water heaters serve as an economical choice to heat water. Their usability in almost any climate makes them the perfect water-heating option for both homes and industries. Despite the great improvements in materials and construction practices, the dangerous problem of damaged insulation covering pipes, ducts, and wiring make people pay huge amounts for maintenance and repairs. We’ve provided some tips to help you with basic solar water heater repairs and touch-ups to keep your machine and your home working flawlessly year to year.

Fluctuating Temperatures

Hydronic solar heating systems can malfunction due to scaling. You can prevent scaling in your solar heating system by circulating a mild acidic solution like vinegar or water softener through the domestic hot water loop or collector. Make sure that you do this every three to five years. You might also need to clean out the heat exchanger surfaces on a regular basis.

While this is not usually a problem in the Arizona desert, solar water heaters use a variety of liquids for heat transfer to prevent freezing. Such a mechanism is often a part of solar water heating systems that are installed in areas where temperatures fall below 6⁰C. If your system doesn’t have a heat transfer system and has a tendency to freezes over use anti freeze solutions such as ethylene glycol. You can also drain the collector if you think that this will fix the problem.

Damaged Pipes

Corrosion may also cause your heating system to malfunction and dispense cold water instead of the pleasantly warm water that you were expecting when you got in the shower. Every piece of hardware is subject to corrosion. Solar water heaters are no different. Most well designed systems rarely succumb to corrosion and only do so if their owners are negligent in their care.

Galvanic corrosion is often caused by an electrolytic process where two dissimilar metals come into contact with one another. In a case such as this, the metal that has a lower electrical charge will have its electrons pulled by the metal that has a higher charge. In order to prevent something like that from happening, make sure that your water heater’s plumping loop is composed of metals such as bronze, stainless steel, brass or rubber components.

Cracked Heaters

This is a huge problem if your solar water heater is on your roof (as most of them are). The heat and UV rays from the direct sunlight weakens the pipes and wiring for your unit. Once a solar panel becomes cracked, there is no way of repairing it. This is why it’s better to take preventative measures so you don’t have to break the bank when cracks appear. The solar panels in a solar water heating system require regular cleaning. This is because not only are they exposed to changes in temperature but also other elements such as dust or soil.

Cleaning the solar panel is a job which can be taken care of on your own but is better done by a professional; this is because of the potential hazards involved of not only damaging the solar panel but also of working at heights.

It is a good idea to insulate your solar water heater’s pipes, wiring, and ducts to save money. Not only will it minimize energy loss, but will also increase water temperature up to a few degrees. This will give you a chance to lower your solar water heater’s temperature and make substantial savings on energy expenses.

Not all of these tips will be lasting solutions for your solar water heater. Get in contact with a Deer Valley Plumbing professional if you find cracks or other damages in and around your heater or solar panels. Remember, it is always better to correct a problem before it becomes a real problem! 602.832.8418