For most Australian homes, the primary source of hot water is solar water heaters.
These highly-efficient devices help maintain an uninterrupted supply of hot water by utilising the solar energy from the sun, collected through panels positioned on the roofs of homes. Now, although they are pretty reliable and durable, they require routine maintenance and periodic inspections from time to time to keep them operating efficiently without hiccups.
While you might be able to deal with some of the maintenance and inspection work on your own, others might need a professional hand. Nevertheless, you should know the problems you might face with the solar water heater to deal with them promptly.
We have talked about some of the solutions to the most common solar water heater issues in this article. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Common Water Heater Issues And Their Solutions
Here, we have talked about some of the most common water heater problems and their respective solutions:
1. Problems With The Solar Panels
Often the collectors of solar panels fail to trap adequate amounts of solar energy due to broken glass. Therefore, you would need to have the glass of your solar panels replaced to ensure the heater is up and running.
Another reason your heater might not be working could be that the absorber paint or the coating of your solar panel has degraded. In that case, you would have to repaint the panels using a heat-resistant product.
2. Loose Connections Or Open Circuit
This is another common problem that you need to be aware of. Like most other devices with wire connections, solar heaters are susceptible to loosened connections. So, if your hot water system stops working all of a sudden, chances are it is because of loose connections or open circuits.
You would have to check for unstable connections or broken cables by tracing the wire connections to fix this issue. After that, use the required equipment to separate the problematic part of the cable. Then finally, reconnect the cable.
3. Not Producing Enough Hot Water
Sometimes your solar water heating system might fail to produce adequate amounts of hot water. It can happen if the solar panel glass is cracked or when there’s not enough solar energy for the solar panels to trap, such as during cloudy days.
So, naturally, when there is insufficient solar energy, the storage tank water will not get hot, especially when there is no electric heating element for backup. But if there is a heating element and yet the hot water system cannot produce hot water, it could be because of a problem in the thermostat.
Therefore, ensure that the solar panels are appropriately placed where they would be able to trap sufficient amounts of solar energy. Also, don’t forget to clean them with a soft cloth to remove the leaves, dirt and any other material that could obstruct their performance.
Beyond that, check whether or not the thermostat is working. If it is, keep it on the appropriate settings; otherwise, get it replaced soon. Finally, make sure that the sensor wires are connected correctly for the smooth functioning of your hot water system.
If your issue is not solved even after this, we strongly recommend contacting your local water heater expert.
4. Strange Noises From The Pump
Upon turning on your water heating system, if you hear strange noises from the pump, then chances are it is because of a build-up of sediments in the pump impeller. The build-up obstructs the impeller and prevents it from rotating, which in turn causes problems in your water heater. Additionally, bearing failure can cause the pump to make strange noises.
So, clean the impeller and get rid of any debris and deposits. If there’s an issue with the bearing, lubricate it using a proper lubricant. However, if the problem persists even after that, we suggest that you get the pump replaced by professionals.
5. Fluid Leakage
Another major problem that your water heater might face is fluid leakage. More often than not, this happens because of a broken pipe or collector glazing. Additionally, water leakage happens due to thermal expansion or loose pipe fittings.
So, if you experience this problem, we recommend checking the pipe fittings and tightening any loose connection. If the pipe is broken, replace it. Apart from that, replacing the pressure or mixing valve might help solve the issue of fluid leakage.
Here, we have provided a few additional tips that you can follow to ensure that your water heating system keeps working smoothly.
1. Clean The Solar Collectors Regularly
Clean the solar collector every now and then to ensure it is free from vegetation, leaves, dust, soil and other unwanted materials. Thus, it will help ensure that the performance of your solar water heater system is not affected.
2. Add Pipe Insulation
Next, we strongly advise adding adequate pipe insulation wherever required to mitigate the chances of low performance and freezing.
Moving on, you must check the controllers, sensors and the pump every other week and replace them whenever required to allow your water heater to operate smoothly. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on the solar storage tank for leaks.
That brings us to the end of our guide. Hopefully, our solutions have helped you solve your solar water heater problems. If not, we strongly recommend contacting your local water heater expert. After all, they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to solve all problems related to hot water systems.
Furthermore, work that involves cutting back tree limbs, walking on roofs, and going up the ladder is best left to professionals for safety purposes.
And with that, let’s wrap up this guide. Come back for more nifty tips and tricks!