What Are Common Issues With Solar Water Heaters?

Solar water heaters for your home or business have many benefits, from free energy to a reduced carbon footprint. Just like any appliance, problems can come up and they can start to become less efficient or stop working all together. 

Don’t get discouraged if you find that your solar water heater starts malfunctioning. The benefits you will get from this piece of technology is worth a few moments of troubleshooting. Here are a few common issues that can come up when you own a solar water heater and some tips on how to deal with those issues as well.

What is a solar water heater and how does it work?

A solar water heater is a heating system that gets its energy from sunlight stored in solar panels. The energy from the panels is then converted into heat and transferred to a water tank, where it warms your home or business’s water supply. They are very eco-friendly and provide great energy efficiency since they are a natural renewable energy source. 

Common Issues

1. Fluid Leaking Out

A leaky solar water heater is one of the biggest issues your heater could face. This issue is normally caused by the collector glazing being broken, but can also be caused by the pressure relief valve being damaged and open. Another possible cause of water leakage in a solar-powered water heater can occur due to loose pipe fittings and thermal expansion.

How to Fix

  • Tighten any loose connections or replace broken pipes.
  • Replace the temperature or pressure valve with a new one or replace the seal.
  • If the glass on the panel is broken, replace immediately.
  • Adjust the thermostat settings to reduce the system pressure.

2. No Hot Water Being Produced

On cloudy days or if the solar panel is broken, it won’t be able to trap enough energy to heat up our water. Your solar water heater’s thermostat in the heating element could also be faulty or set too low. 

How to Fix

  • Make sure the solar panels are positioned correctly where they can receive the most solar energy and also check that the glazing is not broken, covered, or in shade.
  • Clean the panels with a rag to remove the dirt, leaves, and other.
  • Check the thermostat for appropriate settings. But if it is damaged, replace it.
  • Check to ensure that the sensor wires are correctly connected.
  • Lastly, make sure that the solar collector is installed properly and there are no obstructions. 

3. Pump Making Noise

If when you turn on your solar water heater, you can hear an unusual noise coming from the pump, you can expect there to be sediment buildup on the pump’s impeller, which makes it so the impeller can’t rotate. Bearing failure can also cause noise in the pump. 

How to Fix

  • Clean the impellers of any deposits or debris.
  • Lubricate the bearing with an appropriate lubricant.

If the problem persists, you may need to replace the pump, which requires professional assistance.

4. Loose Connections

Open circuits going along the connection line can cause your solar water heater to stop working. Check for bad wires or open connections running the length of the wire connection line. 

How to Fix

  • Follow the wire connections and check for broken cables or loose connections.
  • Use the appropriate tools to cut the defective part of the cable and reconnect with new cable or call in an expert to do so.

5. Issues with Panel Itself

Solar panels can develop issues over time and the collectors wills stop being able to trap the maximum amount of solar power. Check the panel for cracks or broken glass. A local company will have to come in to replace the glass. 

Also, if there is condensation on the glass, it can affect the panel’s performance and effectiveness of the panel. 

How to Fix

  • If the solar panel glass is broken, replace the glass or replace the entire solar panel.
  • If the coating or absorber paint has started to deteriorate, then repainting the panels with a heat resistant paint is needed. 
  • Add a small hole on the bottom of the solar panel to fix the problem of condensation on the glass.

Get the Solar Advantage

 Independent Water Service has proudly been serving Yakima and Kittitas counties since 1986. We now serve as your local solar water heater provider as well and are here to help you with all of your solar heating needs. We provide easy to install and maintain systems that save you time and money in the short and long term with many benefits to you and your home’s value. 

For a free quote, give us a call today with any questions you may have on our solar powered heating systems. Independent Water Service’s expert technicians are here to provide you with the best service. Get ready to save money with solar!