Solar energy systems require regular inspections and routine maintenance to make them operate effectively. Likewise, components may need to be repaired or replaced from time to time. You should also take measures to prevent scaling, corrosion and freezing.
You may be able to complete some inspection and maintenance tasks yourself, but others may require qualified technicians. Before completing any work, please request a cost estimate in writing. For some systems, it may be more cost-effective to replace, shut down or remove the solar system than repairing the system.
The following are some suggested inspections of solar system components. Please also read your user manual for the recommended maintenance schedule.
Visually inspect the shadow of the collector every year (noon, noon and noon every day). Shadows will greatly affect the performance of the solar collector. Over time, the growth of vegetation or the construction of new houses or neighboring properties may create shadows that were not present when the collector was installed.
Collector glass and seals
Look for cracks in the collector glass, and check to see if seals are in good condition. If the silver getter in the tube tail has gone milk color, it means the tube is broken.
Plumbing, ductwork, and wiring connections
Look for liquid leakage at the pipe connection. Check pipe connections and seals. The pipes should be sealed with frankincense compounds. All wiring should be firm.
Pipe, conduit and wire insulation
Look for damaged or degraded insulation covering pipes, conduits and wiring.
The moisture-proof agent and sealant around the roof penetration should be in good condition.
Check that all nuts and bolts connecting the collector to any supporting structure are tight.
Pressure relief valve
Make sure that the valve is not stuck in the open or closed position.
Confirm that the distribution pump or blower (fan) is running. Listen and see if they light up when the sun shines on the collector after noon in the morning. If you cannot hear the sound of the pump, it means that the controller is malfunctioning or the pump is malfunctioning.
Heat transfer fluid
The antifreeze in liquid (hydraulic) solar collectors needs to be replaced regularly. This is the best task, which is to be completed by qualified technicians. If water with high mineral content (ie, hard water) circulates in the collector, it may be necessary to add a descaling or weak acid solution to the water every few years to remove the mineral deposits in the pipeline.
Check storage tanks for cracks, leaks, rust or other signs of corrosion.
By understanding the working parts of domestic solar water heaters and how to properly maintain them, you will have a better understanding of the repairs that need to be performed. If you can fully diagnose the problem, you can decide whether you can do the work yourself, or whether you should hire an expert to repair it.