In order to function at their peak, solar energy systems need to be inspected and maintained periodically. You can perform some of the necessary checks by yourself, while others call for an experienced contractor. Here are some suggestions for periodic inspection:
- Check collector shading during the day. This should be done annually to ensure that new vegetation growth isn’t covering the solar panels during their prime energy collection time.
- Clean collectors. Dirty or dusty solar collectors won’t perform at their peak. Periodic cleaning is necessary in dusty climates.
- Inspect collector glazing. Make sure the seals are in good condition. If the glazing is cracked or overly yellow, it may need to be replaced.
- Check plumbing and wiring connections and insulation. Make sure there are no fluid leaks and check that all wiring connections are tight. Inspect the insulation around piping and replace damaged areas if necessary.
- Look at roof penetrations and support structures. Sealant and flashing surrounding roof penetrations should be in good condition. Nuts and bolts supporting the solar collector should be tight.
- On liquid solar heating collectors, check the pressure relief valve. This should be able to move and not be stuck either open or closed.
- In solar air heating systems, check the dampers. Make sure the dampers can open and close like they are supposed to.
- Verify the operation of distribution pumps and fans. Listen to make sure they turn on when the sun shines on the collector in the afternoon. If you don’t hear a fan operating, either the controller or the fan has malfunctioned.
- Inspect storage tanks. Look for cracks, rust, leaks, or other signs of wear that need attention.
- Replace antifreeze periodically. This task is best left to an experienced technician.
For more information about maintaining your solar system, or to hire an experienced contractor to perform routine maintenance, contact Blanton’s Heating & A/C in Fayetteville.