How to maintain your solar water heater

The solar water heater is not immortal… Installing a solar water heater is a wise choice for a household, because it provides hot water at a very low cost, most of the day and for many years.

Most of us, however, forget that the solar water heater is an electrical – hydraulic device that manages a large amount of water that contains salts and “up there at high altitudes” is exposed to the weather. So remember that we need to maintain the solar water heater before our solar system no longer heats water as before or not at all.

How often should I check and maintain my solar water heater?

From a technical plumber,– Αποφράξεις Αντωνίου, it must be done at most every 2 years and ideally every 1 year. However, every owner of a solar water heater, even if he does not notice any problem in the operation of his solar water heater, it is good to examine him twice a year. Below we explain in detail why and how.

Is it necessary to maintain a solar water heater?

Yes! After each new solar water heater installation, there is a maintenance process recommended by the manufacturers and there is a new solar water heater installed in the booklet.

Maintenance of the solar water heater is not only necessary to ensure the continuous production of hot water, our safety and the long life of the water heater. Maintenance is necessary to ensure the manufacturer ‘s warranty (5 or 10 years, depending on the case).

Thus, most manufacturers recommend every 1 or 2 years (depending on the manufacturer), to be checked by a licensed technician and to replace the magnesium anode as well as to supplement if the antifreeze-anti-corrosion fluid of the closed circuit of the collector is needed. Only then does the warranty given to us by the manufacturer apply. 

Magnesium anode protects the water tank (boiler) from corrosion. Due to electrolysis and the antifreeze from freezing water and the accumulation of salts in the solar collector circuit.


When is the best time to maintain a solar water heater?

Regular maintenance of the solar water heater is best done in September-October, ie before winter comes. This is because reduced sunshine and low winter temperatures reduce the efficiency of the solar water heater and in fact, less hot water is produced with the help of the sun. 

If we are sure that everything is working properly, the uninterrupted and safe operation of the water heater is initially ensured in order to avoid a fault that will suddenly leave us without hot water.

Also, if the solar water heater operates at maximum efficiency, we save money because we will not need to turn on the electricity often to heat the water.

What other work can be done when maintaining a solar water heater every 2 years?

The technician who checks our solar water heater every 2 years, must also check the other parts of the solar water heater to judge if some small or even bigger repairs are needed.

During the regular maintenance of the solar water heater, the technician will do the following:

  1. checks pipes, fittings, flanges for any water leakage, or whether they are loose or worn. Any damage is repaired.
  2. controls the boiler and resistance for the accumulation of salts and mud or corrosion. The inside of the boiler is revealed anyway when the magnesium anode is replaced. If the accumulation of salts and mud is intense, the boiler and the resistor are cleaned. It is recommended to clean the boiler every 5 years so that you always have the maximum efficiency.
  3. checks the safety valve (pressure relief) if it has a salt buildup and if it is working properly. If it does not work properly it must be replaced.
  4. controls the insulation in the water pipes. If damaged, they are replaced to protect the entire system from very low temperatures.
  5. checks the electrical circuit to see if the thermostat and fuse are working. If there are loose or damaged joints and to repair them.

Can I, as the owner, do something to ensure the proper operation of my solar water heater?

Yes of course! To ensure the longevity, continuous efficiency and safety of the solar hot water system, each owner must inspect and maintain the solar water heater twice a year. Preferably in April and October. 

The controls and maintenance that the solar water heater must do on the owners themselves include:

  • the maintenance of the solar panel
  • check for any water leaks
  • protection from very high temperatures
  • protection from very low temperatures

Maintenance of the solar collector

First, we need to look at the crystal of the solar collector. It must have no cracks at all, be clean of leaves, dust, etc. and not in the shade.

If the crystal is broken even a little, it must be replaced immediately because the entire solar panel system can be damaged. In this case, we cover the crystal with plastic and call the technician to replace it.

If there are trees that have grown and cast their shadow on the solar panel, then make sure they are pruned so that the collector receives the maximum amount of solar radiation it can receive.

If there is dust or leaves on the crystal of the solar panel that has not been washed away by the rain, then wash the crystal with lukewarm water and dishwashing liquid and remove them. Be careful, not in time with intense sunshine, so that intense contractions do not occur- expansions.


 Check for water leakage

We check the piping, connectors and flanges of the solar water heater. Is there a water leak or are the connectors and screws loose or worn?

We check the safety valve on the boiler. Has a lot of salt accumulated around her? This may have affected its operation and may not be activated.

Water leakage from the safety valve is normal. If it is not done continuously and if the amount of water leaving is small. If we know how to do it, we can see if the safety valve is activated by pressing the lever with a tool.

Finally, we have in mind any water leakage, even small, in all plumbing that brings hot water to our home, as well as in taps.

In any case, the damage must be repaired to prevent further damage to the solar water heater or a sudden failure that will leave us with no hot water at all.

Protection against high temperatures

In the summer months, if we see that the temperature of the hot water is too high or if we do not use a large amount of hot water, then we cover part of the solar panel with an opaque cover (eg cardboard), starting from the bottom of the collector…

During the summer we are on vacation, we cover the entire surface of the solar panel with an opaque cover. So that the collector is not strained for no reason by the high temperatures.

Protection from low temperatures

We make sure –Αποφράξεις Αντωνίου Αθήνα that the level of antifreeze in the collector circuit is regularly checked and supplemented.

We check that the insulation in the water pipes is always in good condition.

In cold weather, if the water in the water pipes is frozen, we do not turn on the solar water heater.

So if we regularly check and maintain the solar water heater, it will provide us with uninterrupted hot water for many years. And we will have earned the maximum depreciation for the investment we made!

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