A long-lasting hot water system is possible regular maintenance.
Leaving your solar hot water system without service or maintenance is never a good thing. Under the Australian weather conditions, you can expect your device to fail after only half its lifetime. As solar water heaters last around 20 to 30 years, the last thing you want is to replace this investment soon.
Much like any electronic system, solar hot water systems need servicing. These systems need regular maintenance and servicing, keeping them in tip-top shape. As the unit ages over time, it would also need its components repaired and replaced.
With that said, what kinds of checks and upkeep does a solar hot water system technician need to do? Let’s find out.
How much maintenance do solar hot water systems need?
Properly maintained solar water heaters could last as much as 20+ years. There are many hot water systems installed in the 70s and 80s that are still in use today. When compared to traditional water heaters, you can expect them to only last half as long.
Why would you need to have a professional do regular maintenance for your heater? For starters, heaters are both electrical and plumbing. Most of the work for these units are outside the normal scope of skills of the average Aussie.
Even if you can do some DIY work, solar systems need episodic maintenance to keep peak efficiency. Routine inspection, at the very least, can help keep its operations optimal. The biggest enemy of solar water heating systems is the elements.
Australian weather is a pervasive threat to the life of a solar system. Depending on where you are, your solar water heaters can experience:
- Extended sun exposure
- Dust build-up
- Acid rain
- Storms and torrents
- Heavy winds
Aussie weather is hard on any material. It can cause physical damage, dents, corrosion, and scaling, and even freezing in some areas. You must take steps to prevent any of these from happening.
Sure, some of you can handle doing it. The problem? Plumbing and electrical work needs a licensed contractor. You want to have a qualified technician do the job to prevent any damage in the future.
Most manufacturers and installers will recommend a site inspection every three years. You would also want to budget around 2% to 5% of the total cost of your system for annual maintenance. This amount for maintenance is paltry compared to any damages in the future.
Common issues for maintenance inspection
What kinds of inspection can solar hot water system professionals do for you? These vary depending on the solar system components that you have. One of the more common issues come from issues with the solar PV collectors on the device.
Shading, soiling, glazing, and seal problems can cause efficiency loss over time. Shading affects the performance of the system as it can hinder solar collection. Vegetative growth over the cells can produce shade. This vegetation takes the sun rays that the device needs.
Soiling is typical in dusty areas of Australia. Particulates can hinder light extraction, which is a problem.
Periodic cleaning and dust removal are essential for the solar panel’s efficiency. Cracks in the PV panel glazing and seals can result in physical damage and added wear and tear.
Plumbing and insulation
Another issue that a solar water heater technician needs to inspect is plumbing work. Many solar water heating system businesses do their job well; some others are not as good. Lousy plumbing and ductwork can result in corrosion for the unit. It also results in excess moisture growth that can damage your home.
Your solar hot water technician will make sure that there are no fluid leaks on the connections. They’ll check for potential wear and tear in the seals, together with tightness. Loose plumbing can be detrimental to your home if left unchecked.
Licensed professionals will also look at the wiring, duct, and piping insulation. These parts can degrade over time, especially if animals decide to peel it off.
Your solar water heating system technician will also look for areas of penetration. Flashings and sealants should be in superior condition. The pressure relief valves should also be easy to operate.
Corrosion and scaling in solar water heater units
Two issues affecting efficiency in solar hot water systems is corrosion and scaling. Solar water heating systems with poor builds and installations are more prone to these problems.
Scaling becomes an issue when water with strong mineral content is in use. Calcium and magnesium salts in water are responsible for the scaling in solar PV water heaters. Known as hard water, it can occur in many places at the same time. Solar PV systems, piping, heat exchangers, and plumbing can be the victim of such a phenomenon.
If you’re experiencing scaling, the likeliest solution is to add water softeners. Even then, you need to have a qualified technician do this for you. Some devices can work better with some water softeners, whilst others are better without it.
As for corrosion, a proper solar hot water system will likely have less corrosion. It is usually in the form of galvanic corrosion, which happens through the electrolysis of two metals. When this process happens, it causes the surface to oxidise and form rust-like surfaces.
To take care of this issue, you want a technician to install non-metals into the loop. You want to have copper, bronze, plastic, or brass in the plumbing for open-loop systems. You would also want either plastics or glass lining in your storage tanks if any.
Talk to a licensed solar hot water professional now
For your solar hot water systems, servicing for maintenance is a crucial process. You should engage a qualified technician to give your heating system a check every three years. You would also want to have enough budget to make sure solar water heater is in superior condition.
If you need efficient solar hot water systems, you need professionals who know what they’re doing. Hogan Hot Water & Air Conditioning is your answer.
Hogan Hot Water installs, maintains, and services solar water heaters in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and Central Coast area. This all-Aussie family business is here to make sure you get the best service this side of the state.
Talk to us at Hogan Hot Water and get a free quote today. Our expertise, at your service.