What about maintenance?

Provided some simple maintenance is carried out, the expected life of a solar water heating system is in excess of 20 years and we have many solar systems that have been installed for more than 20 years and are still working properly and efficiently.

The following is maintenance and trouble-shooting guide primarily for owners of our new installed systems but it could also be used as a basis for other types.

For older systems which have an incomplete service history, We recommend an initial inspection by an experienced, competent solar engineer followed by an overhaul if necessary. ANNUAL INSPECTION (USUALLY BY OWNER) Externally observed from ground:

1.    That the glazing seals are weather-tight and sound.

2.    That all insulation is firmly attached.

3.    That there is no evidence of serious corrosion or persistent condensation.

4.    That all covers, fixing screws, etc., are in place and the panel is secure.

5.    That the anti-bird wires are in place (if fitted), specifically for closed-loop 
       solar systems.

6.    That the panel sensor is secure in the pocket provided, specifically for closed-loop
       solar systems.

7.    That the automatic air vent (may alternatively be in loft) shows no leaks 
       and the dust cap is on. Internally

1.    That all air has been expelled from the system.

2.    That all insulation is firmly in place.

3.    That there is no damage to pipe-work.

4.    That there is no evidence of leaks.

5.    That the system is at the correct pressure (for sealed systems aprox. 1.5 Bar).

6.    That electrical controls and operational indicators are working correctly
        (Closed-loop systems only).

7.    That the sensors are securely fitted into the pockets provided in the cylinder
        (Closed-loop systems only).

8.    That all components are securely fixed and that all covers, fixing screws, etc., are present.

9.     That the pressure relief valve releases fluid when briefly twisted.

Any points arising from above should be dealt with by a competent person.    

SAFETY NOTE If a period of hot weather coincides with certain circumstances (e.g. an extended power cut or the system left switched off during a holiday period, etc.), very hot temperatures maybe occur in the system.

The system is designed to cope adequately with this. However, very hot water may reach the taps so to avoid the risk of scalding check the temperature of the water before placing your hands under it and, if necessary, run off a volume of water into the kitchen sink.

When draining down under such conditions ensure that the drain hose runs to a heat resistant outlet (e.g. the kitchen sink) as certain materials (e.g. ceramics, plastics) can be damaged by excessive heat.    

The main reasons why older solar water heating systems malfunction are: Temperature sensors displaced from the correct position. Circulating pump seizes. Loss of fluid due to evaporation or slow leak usually through automatic air vent.  

The main reasons why some solar water heating systems perform poorly are: DTC differential wrongly set. Other heat appliance continually on. Missing or damaged insulation of pipes and store. Incorrect location of temperature sensors. Inadequate air removal from pipes. Incorrect pump speed.

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