Solar thermal systems are composed of a number of moving parts (pumps, zone valves, etc.) as well as storage tanks, expansion tanks and controllers that can and will eventually fail. 

We try to install the best components available, but even these parts will eventually exceed their service life. When these components do fail, there are a few simple steps to reduce any further damage to your system or home.

FIRST AND FOREMOST... CALL US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We don’t charge for the first 20 minutes of phone diagnosis and usually can provide basic instruction to reduce further damage(s).

Closed Loop Glycol Systems:


Loud pump: if a pump is loud it is likely that the pump is overheating as the result of having run without enough glycol. The pump relies on fluid circulating to cool it. Somehow, there may be a blockage preventing circulation. Often the bladder of the expansion tank has failed, and allowed a large pocket of air to rise to the top of the panels. This air restricts the glycol from completing its travel back to the pump station and can ultimately cause the main circulation pump to overheat and fail.

Shutdown procedure: Unplug the controller. This will keep the pump from continuing to run until the appropriate repair is made.

Drainback Systems:


Loud pump: if a pump on a drainback system is loud it is likely because the pump has been allowed to run dry. This can be because the atmospheric storage tank water level has dropped below the pump height.

Shutdown procedure: Unplug the controller

Leaking fluid: In drainback systems, the heat transfer fluid is often water. If water is leaking from the pipes or panels, it is likely because the system has frozen and ruptured the line-set and/or panels.

Shutdown Procedure: Unplug the controller. This should stop the flow of water.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Every system and every situation is unique. We certainly recommend you call us for more specific instruction and we do not take any responsibility for any damages to your home or solar thermal water heating system in the event that you implement these shut-down procedures.  These are merely intended to offer you a little insight in the event that you cannot reach us or another professional contractor by phone or email.