6 Tips For Maintaining Your Solar Hot Water System

Solar hot water systems can help you to save money and protect the environment. During the day, this kind of system uses energy from the sun to heat water, which you can then use for bathing. Using the sun's energy means you don't need to spend money on electricity to heat the water you use in your home. Although solar hot water systems can be very cost-effective, they need occasional maintenance to keep them working well. Use these tips to maintain your solar hot water system.

1. Remove Sources of Shade

The solar collectors of your hot water system need full sunlight to operate at maximum efficiency. Cut back trees that grow nearby to prevent them from casting your collectors into shadow.

2. Clean the Collectors

Dust, bird droppings or fallen leaves on the surfaces of your collectors can prevent them from soaking up the sunlight they need. Clean the collectors with water and mild soap to keep them free from sun-blocking grime. Don't use abrasive cleaners, as these could damage the collector glass.

3. Check For Fluid Leaks

It's a good idea to check the outdoor sections of your solar hot water system for leaks, particularly after periods of extreme cold, which can freeze and crack pipes. If you notice any water seeping out, call a solar hot water maintenance professional to repair the damage.

4. Keep Pipes Insulated

All the pipes in your solar hot water system should be wrapped in insulating foam to prevent heat loss. Over the years, insulating foam can begin to degrade, so you need to check its condition and replace it when necessary.

5. Use Water Softener

If you live in a hard water area, minerals in your water supply can leave scaly deposits inside your hot water system. As the deposits build up, they can reduce the effectiveness of the system. One solution is to use a water softener to remove minerals from the water before it enters the solar hot water system. Alternatively, you can run a mildly acidic solution, such as vinegar, through the pipes occasionally to clean them.

6. Protect Against Freezing

When the temperature outside falls below freezing, there is a risk that the liquid in your solar hot water system could freeze. This can cause serious damage to the system, as water expands when it freezes, which can crack the pipes. To prevent this from happening, you can add an antifreeze solution to the liquid that circulates in the collector loop of your system.