Common reasons why your solar water heater is not working correctly and how to fix them
8th May 2018
Solar-powered water heaters are an extremely effective way to maintain a constant supply of hot water in the house. Solar water heaters are durable and reliable. However, that doesn’t mean that they do not experience problems from time to time. Below, we look at some of the common problems and the solutions.
Water from the solar water heater is not hot enough
One possible cause of the water not being hot enough could be that the solar collectors or plates are positioned incorrectly on the roof. They could be placed at a position where objects such as trees are casting shadows. Direct solar radiation is required for optimal performance. A professional will be able to work out whether the solar collectors need to be moved and placed on a different part of the roof.
Another possible cause could be wrong sizing. Solar tanks come in different shapes and sizes. They are not a one size fits all solution. As such one needs an expert to assess the requirements and size the solar accordingly. For instance, you could be having a 100 litre tank while your hot water needs require a 200 litre or 300 litre tank.
If you find the water is leaking from the roof (and it is not raining) the most common cause is the leaking temperature and pressure relief valve on the solar heating system. The temperature and pressure-relief valve in the solar panels might start to leak if it has become damaged. It is important to consult a qualified technician who will access the pressure relief valve and if necessary replace it with the brand new valve or replace the seal. Excessive pressure in the panels may also be the cause of a leak. Pipe fittings can also come loose and create leaks. Check out the piping fittings, and tighten the loose connections.
Problems with the circulation pump
If you find that the circulating pump on your solar water heating systems is running all the time, or it won’t run at all, you might have the problem with the faulty solar controller or the pump is not plugged into it. The controller might be damaged due to voltage surges, short circuit, lighting or corrosion.
If you find that the solar water heating system is noisy it might be that the pump bearings need lubrication.
Bearing failure. One of the most common problems is the bearing failure, which often occurs if the pump is not properly installed. Also the air can be trapped in the housing affecting the water circulation.
The pump may also not operate because the impeller is locked up or motor winding damaged (burned-out motor), requiring pump replacement.