Solar FAQs

Photo by Lex20/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Lex20/iStock / Getty Images
 
 

WHAT IS SOLAR THERMAL?

Solar thermal is water that is heated by the sun. This heated water can then be used as domestic hot water for showering, dish washing, etc., or to pre-heat air for forced air heat, or heat water for base boards, fan coil heating units or radiant floor heat. Panels are often placed on a south or west facing roof or mounted on the ground. These panels have liquid that flows through them gathering the suns heat. This liquid (water, glycol or in older system, oil) is heated and then recirculated to a holding tank and used to heat the coil in a your hot water tank or warm the air in your furnace or preheat the water in your boiler.

 

I HAVE AN EXISTING SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM. HOW DO I PROPERLY MAINTAIN IT AND HOW CAN I DETERMINE IF IT IS IN PROPER WORKING ORDER?

The first check you can make is to feel the solar storage tank pipes where they connect to the top of the tank – carefully – they could be hot or should be at least warm by the end of a sunny day. There should be pipe insulation over the pipes and you will have to remove a little or slide it out of the way. Almost all solar heating controllers give an indication of when they are in heat collecting mode. Observe the lights or display (if you have one) on the controller to determine when it is giving an output to run the collector loop pump. If this is not evident, we may be able to guide you. Please contact us with your questions.

 

I NEED TO HAVE MY ROOF REPLACED AND I HAVE SOLAR PANELS, WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

If you are looking to replace your roof and you have solar thermal panels on the roof, you will want to contact a certified solar thermal technician to remove and replace your panels to prevent any damage. Just like you would NOT want solar technicians replacing your roof, you do not want a roofer to remove and reinstall your solar panels. These are complicated systems that need to be properly removed and reinstalled to prevent panel damage, pipe damage and keep you from having expensive repairs in the future.

And if your roofer suggests you just remove your system, remember that a properly working system is a $10K - $20K investment that can save you $250 to a $1000 a year in heating costs.

Contact us if you have any concerns about your new roof and your existing solar system. It could save you a lot of money to have all the facts before you make a decision. 

 

I BOUGHT A HOME WITH A SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEM, WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?

If your system isn’t running or if no one gave you instructions on how to operate it, the best investment you can make is to get a solar analysis. This is a complete checkup of your system (and we’ll walk you through how to operate it as well), with every item checked to make sure it is working properly and if any repairs are needed. With just a small investment, your existing system can save you 75-90% on your gas bill yearly.

 

Still have Questions? Give us a call! 303-589-4428 We love solar and are happy to talk with you about your system.