Solar water heaters are one of the most important plumbing fixtures in a home or business. They provide a continuous supply of hot water for domestic or commercial use efficiently and economically, using free solar energy. The system works by collecting solar energy using collectors ( pipes or flat panels ) strategically placed on the roof of a building and oriented for the best performance.
Today, solar water heaters are considered a great idea because of their durability, the designs available and they are not missing from any home.
Basic knowledge of solar water heater repair is essential if your water heater breaks down and you want to keep costs down. Like other solar devices, solar water heaters can develop problems as time goes on and the components start to wear out. If you are a homeowner and want to know about the most common plumbing problems associated with solar water heaters, including troubleshooting, then call professional plumbers of the company 24gr.gr.
If your solar water heater has recently been installed, keep in mind that periodic inspection and regular maintenance is required to keep the system efficient and operational for many more years.
But before we analyze the most common plumbing problems, let’s take a quick look at what solar water heaters are and how they work.
What are solar water heaters?
Simply put, a solar water heater is a set of solar panels or collectors, pumps, controllers, insulated storage tanks and connecting pipes. Solar panels are able to capture the maximum solar energy and convert it into heat – for free. The heat is then absorbed by water and stored in storage tanks for use in the shower, dishwashing and laundry.
They are completely safe as they are equipped with tempered glass solar panels and temperature and pressure relief valves to control the temperature and pressure of the water. In addition, the system comes with a circulation pump that helps circulate water in the system, from the solar panel to a storage tank. Since some parts of the solar water heater are usually exposed to the elements, it is vital to protect them from overheating and freezing.
Solar water heaters are categorized into several popular types:
Water heater systems
Water heater systems are used to produce hot water by heating water directly or indirectly. Heating fluid is an antifreeze, like glycol, so when you go through the heat exchanger it transfers heat to the water. The system uses the water storage tank that is installed above the collector, so that the fluid can rise by natural transfer to the storage tank without the use of the pump. This type of solar water heater is very efficient in areas with high solar energy.
The integrated system ( ICS or batch ) is, with the water heater, another passive system used in areas with a lot of sunny days and where the demand for hot water is high. They are simply made using one or more tanks that are painted black, installed inside the box and are well insulated.
Direct traffic systems
This type of solar water heater works by pumping water from storage tanks to the panels during sunny hours, thus increasing energy use.
Drainage systems – solar water heaters
In these systems, untreated or untreated water usually circulates through a loop. A heat exchanger is used to transfer heat to drinking water. The system uses controllers, sensors and pumps to turn the system on or off. In the evenings or nights, water is drained by gravity to avoid transport loops and freezing.
Indirect water heating systems
These systems operate with water circulation protected from cooling by a closed loop. A heat exchanger is then used to transfer heat to the water in the storage tank. Water-ethylene glycol and water-propylene glycol solutions are excellent examples of liquids protected from cooling.
Now, let’s take a look at the 5 most common plumbing problems associated with solar water heaters and how to fix them.
Plumbing problems in solar water heaters
As with other appliances, solar water heaters are also prone to problems, unavoidable component failures and situations that would lead to costly repairs.
The most common problems with solar water heaters are sediment accumulation, corrosion of metal parts, wear ( aging, wear ) of non-metal parts, cooling ( in cold climates ), leakage of liquids and insufficient supply of hot water or no hot water at all. water.
Some of the plumbing problems can be avoided with regular maintenance, such as smooth operation and expected performance.
Troubleshooting and what to check on solar water heaters
- Clean the collector windows of dirt, dust, leaves, vegetation and other foreign materials that may affect performance or damage components.
- Make sure that the seals are not cracked or damaged and that there is no leakage of liquid.
- Make sure that the bolts and nuts of the support structure are not loose.
- Repair any cracks in the collector glass or replace if necessary.
- Check the storage tank for leaks and make sure the valves are working, especially the temperature and pressure relief valve.
- If sediment accumulation occurs frequently, replace the heat transfer fluid if it is rich in minerals ( hard water ) or install a water softener.
- Add insulation where needed to reduce the risk of freezing and poor performance.
- Check pump, sensors and controllers, clean and replace if necessary for proper operation.
No hot water is produced in solar water heaters
Sometimes the heating system will work, but it will not produce hot water. The cause of this problem is not misleading. During cloudy days or if the solar panel glass is broken, it will not trap enough solar energy. If there is not enough solar heat, the water in the storage tank will not heat up, especially if there is no backup heater, such as electric heating elements. Another reason why your solar water heater may not produce hot water is that the thermostat ( in the heating element ) may be defective.
- Make sure the solar panels are properly positioned where they will receive maximum solar energy and make sure the windows are not broken, covered or shaded.
- Clean the panels with a cloth to remove dirt, leaves and more.
- Check the thermostat for proper settings. But if it is damaged, replace it.
- Check to make sure the sensor cables are properly connected.
- If there is not enough hot water, make sure that the solar panel is installed correctly and that there are no obstructions. Check size, inclination, orientation and obstacles ( shading ). Make sure there is no heat loss through the tank or plumbing.
Tip: Make sure all components are working properly ( sensors, controllers, pump ).
If you still can not solve the problem, ask for help from the plumbers in Athens.
Liquid leakage in solar water heaters
Liquid leakage is one of the most important problems that solar water heaters can develop. In fact, it is one of the main issues usually associated with solar water heaters.
This problem is usually caused when a manifold glass or pipe breaks, or when the pressure relief valve on the solar panels is damaged and open. Another possible cause of water leakage in a solar water heater can be due to loss of piping fittings and thermal expansion.
Before calling a plumber, do the following:
- Inspect pipe fittings and tighten any connection loss or replace broken pipes.
- Replace the temperature or pressure valve with a new one or replace the seal.
- Replace the solar panels if the glass is found broken.
- Adjust the thermostat settings to reduce system pressure.
Note: Before performing any troubleshooting work, be sure to isolate the solar panel.
Unusual noise in the pump
When you turn on a solar water heater and hear an unusual noise from the pump, chances are that there is an accumulation of sediment in the pump impeller, preventing the impeller from rotating. Another possible cause of unusual pump noise is due to bearing failure. Also, make sure that air is not trapped inside the system.
- Access to the pump and clean the impellers from any deposits or debris.
- If you suspect bearing failure, lubricate the bearing with a suitable lubricant.
- If the problem persists, you may need to replace the pump.
- Loosen the vent screw if present or vent the air. The air locked into the system could also prevent any flow, especially if the pump is not the right size.
- If you need professional help, contact 24gr.gr
Open circuit or loose connections to solar water heaters
As soon as your solar water heater stops working, it is possible that there are open circuits along the connection line. As with other cable connections, solar water heaters are also prone to loss of connections over time.
- Locate the cable connections to see if they have broken cables or a loose connection.
- Use the appropriate tools to cut the defective part of the cable.
- Reconnect the cable.
Collector problems in solar water heaters
This is another problem that homeowners need to be aware of. Solar panels can cause problems, so collectors are not able to trap maximum solar energy. One of the main themes of the solar panel is the broken glass. Because you can not fix broken glass, talk to your plumber to get the right deals before deciding what to do next.
Another reason for solar panels problems could be that the coating or absorber paint has deteriorated. In addition, if there is condensation on the glass, it can affect the performance of the solar panel.
Contact with our plumbers for problems with solar water heaters
A solar water heater is a technology that has come to stay. Whether you want to take a hot bath or clean your dishes, a solar water heater can guarantee a steady source of hot water all year round.
When the system develops problems, the repair process must be done on time and without spending too much money. It is good to know the basics so that you can deal with simple plumbing problems before getting involved in the services of a technician .