repairs to solar hot water

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repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 25 May 2019, 09:55

Just trying to find info on repairs to leaking pipe in solar panels but all the online help sites just want to send out plumbers. I'm not ready for that yet

Does anyone know if a leaking pipe within the solar panel can be repaired or is it time for a new one?

I only moved in here last year so don't know the age of the system. The writing on the id plate is worn out and illegible. I would guess that it's at least 10 years old. Possibly more.

Much appreciated.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby HBS Guy » 25 May 2019, 11:08

Let us know how it turns out.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Texan » 25 May 2019, 14:16

I'm curious. Do you have pictures? What kind of pipe is inside? Is it like an aluminum car radiator? Can it be disassembled or is it hopelessly caked in sealant? If it is like a radiator, can a radiator shop repair it if you take it to them?

Sorry for all of the questions, but I truly am curious. We don't use solar water heater panels very much here and my roof mainly faces East and West. Not much Southern exposure. I'm considering building a shop or covered boat storage area with a South facing roof at about 32 degree pitch for feeding PV back onto the grid. I may experiment with it first by taking my chicken coop off of the grid. I have small inverters and can get free used batteries from work. All I need is the PV.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 25 May 2019, 14:36

Texan wrote:I'm curious. Do you have pictures? What kind of pipe is inside? Is it like an aluminum car radiator? Can it be disassembled or is it hopelessly caked in sealant? If it is like a radiator, can a radiator shop repair it if you take it to them?

Sorry for all of the questions, but I truly am curious. We don't use solar water heater panels very much here and my roof mainly faces East and West. Not much Southern exposure. I'm considering building a shop or covered boat storage area with a South facing roof at about 32 degree pitch for feeding PV back onto the grid. I may experiment with it first by taking my chicken coop off of the grid. I have small inverters and can get free used batteries from work. All I need is the PV.



Sorry Tex, but I don't know the answers to your questions. As far as I can tell, It's a sealed unit. Lots of rivets and silicone. I was hoping someone here might be able to shed some light on it for me. I don't want to play around with it to much without the aid of someone who knows about them because I don't wish to electrocute myself. Everything I've found on the net with similar problems has suggested I turn of the water and the power supply as there is a risk of the water getting onto the electrical components with that sort of leak. I don't think it's salvageable but it was worth the try. Of course, Murphy's law dictates that these things always happen on the weekend when tradesmen aren't as inclined to come out without charging an arm and a leg. Cold showers for me for a few days :roll

I'm thinking that instead of replacing the solar hot water unit with another one, I might just replace it with a continuous hot water unit and use the money I save to put solar panels on the roof for my electricity supply. Ultimately, the hot water will still be getting warmed up with the solar. I'm still researching at this stage. It will come down to price.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Sprintcyclist » 25 May 2019, 18:44

I am an electronics tech with a 240V restricted ticket.

Yes, if it has voltage and water leaking and is old, turn it off and get a new system.
Often a 'better repair' is to replace it.


I totally agree with your idea ' ........... use the money I save to put solar panels on the roof for my electricity supply......... '
Good thinking.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 25 May 2019, 19:25

Sprintcyclist wrote:I am an electronics tech with a 240V restricted ticket.

Yes, if it has voltage and water leaking and is old, turn it off and get a new system.
Often a 'better repair' is to replace it.


I totally agree with your idea ' ........... use the money I save to put solar panels on the roof for my electricity supply......... '
Good thinking.



thanks sprint

I've been searching what's out there on solar systems for the house.

:OMG :OMG :OMG I'm outta my depth.

It's like it's another language. I have learnt enough to not go for a cheap inverter. But my budget is tight so I need to do more homework. Any recommendations on brands or types from anyone are greatly appreciated.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Sprintcyclist » 25 May 2019, 19:51

I work in a medical research Centre.
We have nothing to do with solar power. sorry.

My experience has been equipment made in germany is overrated.
Customer support is poor from there.

Equipment made in Japan is excellent, functions perfectly. Customer support very good.

Equipment made in the US is very good. Very robust, customer support is terrific.

The longer the warranty, the better.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 25 May 2019, 19:54

:thumb
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby pinkeye » 25 May 2019, 22:27

Yes well I'd also suggest if you determine the make.. you may find there is a ph no to call for tech advice on the unit.

I use Gas for hot water and cooking..(bottled LPG) .. but I've had problems with the hot water supply. One helpful person I rang suggested I contact the number for tech info on my brochure. I did that.
And I now know what's happening.

Your situation is different. I agree that water leaking into roof etc is not good. I think replacement is better than repair.. um.. I like the instant gas Bosch external Hot Water unit I have. it is basic.. really.. I've been able to understand and repair, / adjust mine..

I wouldn't go solar replacement. Think about your alternatives.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Lols » 26 May 2019, 00:35

So we had this solar HWS (installed and new), and supposedly marine grade S/S...so after 7 years, it starts to leak.
So annoying, as it was something like $2500 after some govt rebate, but still a lot for a HWS that only lasts just under 8 years.

We find out it's the water tank that's split in some way, and leaking, if we could dismantle it, and get it welded, perhaps, but
nothing doing yet, it's just sittin on the roof doing nothing (now you remind me of this, I must nag the hubby to do something about removing it, or repairing it!)

So we get another type of HWS.....instant gas unit, (we are on LPG tanks)....so that works okay, still expensive it was, some $2700 with the plumber fitting it.

As we are in in the vicinity of Melbourne, and our winters are not as warm and sunny as Queensland, so the solar HWS wasn't always the go for us during winter, still had
to reply on some electrical back up.

Now we have a host of 20 solar panels up on the roof to cut the electricity costs.

But that solar HWS is looking a bit sorry and useless......this saga continues.

So John, if you can work out where it is leaking, and if it can be welded or something, but if you can't, then a plumber can tell you what and where the problem is, and if fixable.

Can you post some photos of it?
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 26 May 2019, 08:54

Lols wrote:So we had this solar HWS (installed and new), and supposedly marine grade S/S...so after 7 years, it starts to leak.
So annoying, as it was something like $2500 after some govt rebate, but still a lot for a HWS that only lasts just under 8 years.

We find out it's the water tank that's split in some way, and leaking, if we could dismantle it, and get it welded, perhaps, but
nothing doing yet, it's just sittin on the roof doing nothing (now you remind me of this, I must nag the hubby to do something about removing it, or repairing it!)

So we get another type of HWS.....instant gas unit, (we are on LPG tanks)....so that works okay, still expensive it was, some $2700 with the plumber fitting it.

As we are in in the vicinity of Melbourne, and our winters are not as warm and sunny as Queensland, so the solar HWS wasn't always the go for us during winter, still had
to reply on some electrical back up.

Now we have a host of 20 solar panels up on the roof to cut the electricity costs.

But that solar HWS is looking a bit sorry and useless......this saga continues.

So John, if you can work out where it is leaking, and if it can be welded or something, but if you can't, then a plumber can tell you what and where the problem is, and if fixable.

Can you post some photos of it?


Hi Lols

Once the tank splits, don't even bother trying to repair it. it's much cheaper to replace it. Tanks split because the the expansion and contraction of the metal with the alternating hot water by day and cold nights, eventually the stresses on the welds are to much. It sounds like in your case you can probably replace the tank and keep your existing panels.

In my case it's one of the water pipes in the actual solar panel that's leaking. The panel is a sealed unit so I'm not even sure I can access the pipe in question. I'm not going to take photos as you won't see anything through the tinted panel anyway. I only saw it because the water was spraying up onto the underside of the glass. The water off now so I've stopped the leak and there is nothing to see. That and I also don't feel like climbing up on the roof again :roll .

I got a few prices for a complete solar system yesterday. I'm expecting about $4 - $5k I expect some more prices tomorrow. Like I said earlier, I'll probably get a continuous hot water system to replace my solar how water, and then just get solar for the power supply to the whole house. Those continuous systems are supposed to be energy efficient anyway because they only heat up the water you use, while you use it, rather than trying to heat up 300ltrs every day and then keeping that warm. I'll just have to make sure the kids and I) get in the habit of showering before dark :grn
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Texan » 27 May 2019, 01:19

Our solar water heaters are passive systems that preheat the water before it reaches the water heater. Water heaters here are typically about 200 liters and use either electricity or natural gas to heat the water in an insulated tank. If you have electricity running into your solar water heater, you’d best leave it to the pros.

Back when I first started this job, we used water cooled load banks to provide load for testing 480VAC 3 phase equipment. That’s electricity hooked up to a load bank with a garden hose feeding and evacuating water. It was scary to watch. We use air cooled load banks now. Noisy, but safer.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 27 May 2019, 17:16

Texan wrote:Our solar water heaters are passive systems that preheat the water before it reaches the water heater.


I believe it's the same, and the electricity only goes to the tank and not the panel ... but I'm not 100% so I don't touch it.




Ok, 250ltr electric hot water system is going in tomorrow . Plumber talked me out of the continuous system. Still working on quotes for the solar system



I'm hoping i can have a hot shower tomorrow. All depends on if the sparky can make it after the plumber finishes.

Why do these things never blow in summer?
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby HBS Guy » 27 May 2019, 18:31

Murphy was an optimist.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 27 May 2019, 19:59

HBS Guy wrote:Murphy was an optimist.



Murphy was a miserable bastard :mad
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Texan » 28 May 2019, 04:36

johnsmith wrote:
HBS Guy wrote:Murphy was an optimist.



Murphy was a miserable bastard :mad

And he wrote that law.

Murphy's Law - Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Instantaneous hot water systems are expensive. It's nice that you don't have to wait for hot water and you don't have to constantly heat a tank, but the sudden requirement for energy to heat the water is tough on existing wiring unless you have propane or natural gas. They are so costly that I don't think you will ever recover your expenses over a heavily insulated conventional tank heater. They should make an intermediate system that has a more powerful heater and a smaller(20 liter?) tank that can more closely keep up with demand without having to store a massive heated tank. The smaller tank would fit in more out of the way spaces. My 50 gallon tank is in my garage on the far end of the house. I have to wait about 20 seconds for the heat to reach my shower.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 28 May 2019, 16:19

Texan wrote:Instantaneous hot water systems are expensive. It's nice that you don't have to wait for hot water and you don't have to constantly heat a tank, but the sudden requirement for energy to heat the water is tough on existing wiring unless you have propane or natural gas. They are so costly that I don't think you will ever recover your expenses over a heavily insulated conventional tank heater. They should make an intermediate system that has a more powerful heater and a smaller(20 liter?) tank that can more closely keep up with demand without having to store a massive heated tank. The smaller tank would fit in more out of the way spaces. My 50 gallon tank is in my garage on the far end of the house. I have to wait about 20 seconds for the heat to reach my shower.


I've gone away from instantaneous hot water. I've been advised by my plumber not to go that rout unless it's a gas system. With a family of 4, electric will struggle. I've instead opted for a 250ltr tank, which they finished installing about 30 mins ago. Yoohoo .... hot shower tonight.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby pinkeye » 29 May 2019, 03:08

Gas is the go.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Sprintcyclist » 29 May 2019, 06:50

johnsmith wrote:
Texan wrote:Instantaneous hot water systems are expensive. It's nice that you don't have to wait for hot water and you don't have to constantly heat a tank, but the sudden requirement for energy to heat the water is tough on existing wiring unless you have propane or natural gas. They are so costly that I don't think you will ever recover your expenses over a heavily insulated conventional tank heater. They should make an intermediate system that has a more powerful heater and a smaller(20 liter?) tank that can more closely keep up with demand without having to store a massive heated tank. The smaller tank would fit in more out of the way spaces. My 50 gallon tank is in my garage on the far end of the house. I have to wait about 20 seconds for the heat to reach my shower.


I've gone away from instantaneous hot water. I've been advised by my plumber not to go that rout unless it's a gas system. With a family of 4, electric will struggle. I've instead opted for a 250ltr tank, which they finished installing about 30 mins ago. Yoohoo .... hot shower tonight.


Good work.

A hot shower is one of the pleasures of life
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 29 May 2019, 16:36

Sprintcyclist wrote:
A hot shower is one of the pleasures of life


you don't realise how much you miss it until you want one and can't have it. I had the bath of course, boiled some water on the stove top and washed in there, but it's not the same.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby Sprintcyclist » 29 May 2019, 17:57

johnsmith wrote:
Sprintcyclist wrote:
A hot shower is one of the pleasures of life


you don't realise how much you miss it until you want one and can't have it. I had the bath of course, boiled some water on the stove top and washed in there, but it's not the same.


yes, well done
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby HBS Guy » 29 May 2019, 18:03

I was given a weekly bath in a 50L tin bath once a week in Holland. Me like daily shower better.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 29 May 2019, 19:39

HBS Guy wrote:I was given a weekly bath in a 50L tin bath once a week in Holland. Me like daily shower better.



I don't mind a bath when the hot water tap is running and I can fill up the tub. But you can't do that when boiling water on the cooktop. 4 large pots of hot water (plus enough cold water to make it bearable) didn't even get the water to the top of my legs when they were stretched straight sitting in the tub.

The bits in the water were warm, everything else was freezing. No thanks. :nah
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby HBS Guy » 29 May 2019, 20:22

I was just a kid back then, was OK.
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Re: repairs to solar hot water

Postby johnsmith » 30 May 2019, 17:15

Anyone know if it'a worth an extra $800 - $1000 for micro inverters over string inverters for solar systems? The guy trying to up sell claims they are, but I tend to not believe claims by salesmen
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