Solar water heaters require little or no maintenance. Because of the thermosyphon principle there are no moving parts and no control units that can malfunction.
Tile system will work automatically but there are some procedures you can carry out to improve the functioning of the solar water heater and thus increase electricity savings:
- Clean the glass cover regularly. Dust and dirt that is allowed to settle on the glass cover will block the sun’s rays and will reduce the output of the system. Depending on the surroundings (close to a road, dusty environment, etc.) it is advisable to clean the glass cover from twice every week to several times a year.
- Prevent any shade on the collector. Trim back the branches of trees around the collector to allow as much sunshine to reach it as possible.
- Be economical with the use of hot water. Try to minimize the frequency of hot water use. Only a small amount of energy may be lost, but if the pipes are long and you use hot water frequently, it will mount up.
- Run the hot water slowly; this will avoid the mixing of hot and cold water in the storage tank.
- Set the thermostat of the electrical backup as low as is comfortable. A temperature of 60C is usually sufficient. A higher setting will increase your electricity bills.
- Ensure that there is always a cold water supply to the solar waler heater. Always leave the valve on the cold waler inlet open and ensure that the cold water tank is a/ways filled with water.
- Once a year, flush out the complete system to remove any floating and settled dirt. If the water in your area is hard, use a water softener to prevent blockages in the collector pipes.
- Once a year, inspect the cladding of the storage tank, the collector and the pipes between tank and collector. Make sure that the cladding is not damaged, and repair it if necessary. This will ensure that no rainwater runs into the insulation of collector, tank and pipes. This will improve the functioning of your system and increase its working lifetime
Although a solar water heater is a relatively simple system and there is little that can go wrong, there are some things you should not do:
- Do not close or block the vent pipe. It is essential that this vent pipe is open to the atmosphere and is higher than the cold water storage tank.
- Do not place obstacles in front of the collector that will shade it.
- Do not use coarse materials when cleaning the glass cover.
- Do not leave the electrical backup switched on when it is not necessary.
- Do not close the valve on the cold water inlet to ensure constant supply of cold water to the solar water heater.