A leak in a solar panel requires immediate attention to save costs in lost fluids and the loss in the effectiveness of the solar panel. Leaks in solar heating panels can be repaired, but in some cases, it is not a DIY operation and requires professional intervention.
Some solar panel leaks can be repaired simply in 10-minutes with a repair kit, while others will need a professional installer to perform the repair.
Here is the key information you need to repair a leak in a solar panel.
- Establish the type of solar heating panel.
- Contact a professional for a transfer fluid solar panel.
- For a solar water panel, buy a repair kit.
- Follow the easy solar panel leak repair steps.
The key lies in establishing which solar panel heating system you have before taking action to repair the solar panel leak!
What Kind Of Solar Panel Do You Have?
There are two main types of solar heating panels used to heat water for swimming pools or solar heated geysers for the showers in your home.
One type of solar heating panel heats the water directly in pipes in the panel. The other uses a heat transfer fluid to heat the water.
There is another way solar panels can be used to heat water, which is to generate electricity used to heat the water. These solar panels cannot spring a leak, but the two types of panels that heat fluid can potentially develop leaks that must be addressed.
The two types of solar heating panels use the same principles to heat water but different methods to achieve the same result.
If your solar panel uses a heat transfer fluid, such as propylene glycol, it will be a closed system, where the fluid flows from a reservoir into the panel to be heated and then back to the storage reservoir.
The heat absorbed by the fluid is transferred to the water via induction.
The transfer fluid solar panel system is used in locations where the winter temperatures drop below freezing. The heat transfer fluid has antifreeze properties and will not freeze in these conditions.
Water would freeze in these conditions and damage the pipes in the system.
In warmer climates, solar heating panels that heat the water directly are used because they are easier to maintain and repair. These solar panels can easily be repaired with a basic repair kit which you can purchase online.
Contact A Professional Repairer For Transfer Fluid Solar Panels
If your solar panel heating system uses a transfer fluid, you cannot repair it yourself. With these systems, you must call a professional company to perform the repair, preferably the company that performed the installation.
Transfer fluid solar panels use fluids that can potentially be toxic, or at the very least, an environmental hazard. After the repair, the system must be recharged with the correct type of fluid and the correct volume of fluid.
Because this is a closed system, it usually also involves bleeding excess air out of the pipes to maximize the efficiency of the system’s heating process and ensure proper operation.
Purchase A Solar Panel Leak Repair Kit
Solar panels that heat the water directly in the panel pipes can be repaired as a DIY job. All you need is a repair kit that is compatible with your solar panel system. The main consideration when buying the kit is the diameter of the pipes in the solar panel.
Most solar panel heating systems use 0.25-inch diameter pipes in the solar panel, but there is no guarantee that your panel uses this standard.
Check the diameter of your solar panel pipes before purchasing the repair kit to ensure you get a kit that will work on your solar panel.
Most solar panel heating manufactures offer solar panel leak repair kits designed to be used on their systems.
While it is preferable to buy a kit for your solar panel brand, any repair kit can be used that matches the diameter of the pipes in the system.
SolarPoolSupply Solar Pool Heater Repair Kit is a repair kit that can be purchased online to repair a 0.25-inch diameter solar panel system.
How To Repair A Leaking Solar Panel
Once you have purchased your solar panel repair kit, performing the repair is a simple process that can be completed in about 10-minutes.
Most repair kits will have the following components included.
- A cutting tool.
- A set of plugs for the correct pipe diameter.
- A plug pushrod.
The principle behind repairing the leak is to block off the section of pipe that has the puncture. This repair technique means that if there are too many leaks, the panel should be replaced rather than repaired.
Complete the following steps to repair a leaking solar panel with the repair kit.
1. Identify The Leaking Pipe
The solar panel has many vertical pipes that connect to the main pipes the run horizontally at the top and bottom of the panel.
Identify the leaking vertical pipe, and mark it at both ends so that you don’t accidentally “repair” the wrong pipe!
2. Make Incisions In The Pipe
The damaged pipe must be plugged at the bottom and at the top end of the pipe. The normal practice is to insert two plugs in the bottom section of the pipe and two plugs in the top end of the pipe.
Use the cutting tool to make an incision along the top of the pipe, starting 3.5-inches from the bottom end and the top end of the pipe. The incision length only needs to be as long as the length of a plug, which is usually 1-inch.
Be careful while making the cuts not to damage the pipes or channels on either side of the pipe you are repairing.
Once the cuts have been made at both ends of the pipe, you are ready for the final repair step.
3. Insert The Plugs In The Solar Panel
The plugs are normally tapered at one end. Insert the tapered end of the plug into the incision you made during the previous step.
At the bottom end of the pipe, the plugs must be inserted towards the bottom of the panel.
Use the pushrod to push the plug as far as you can towards the bottom of the panel. Insert the second plug behind the first and use the pushrod to push the second up towards the first plug.
When inserting the plugs at the top end of the pipe, they must be inserted from the incision up towards the panel’s top. Insert two plugs into the top end of the pipe using the pushrod to correctly seat each plug in place.
This is the final step in repairing a leak in your solar panel.