Whether you have a Viessman, Aquatherm brand solar pool heater, there will come a come when you need a repair, and eventually it will come time to replace the system. But how do you determine whether it is time to repair or replace it?
Solar pool heaters from major brands, including the Viessmann brand we offer, are warranted for years to the original owner. As a result, you would expect that they should last at least that long and replacement should not be due until the panels exceed 6 years in age. However, a variety of issues may bring you to the conclusion that it is time to replace your system before that time period. You may find that solar panel repairs involving non-warranty (not manufacturer defect) issues are becoming costly, and a new system with a new warranty is preferable.
THIS SOLAR POOL HEATER IS FALLING OFF THE ROOF AND THE PLUMBING IS BADLY WARPED. IT IS IN NEED OF REPLACEMENT.
The main reason you would consider repairing a system over replacing it is to resolve a minor leak. Repairing solar pool heating panel leaks is fairly straightforward. All brands have a preferred method of plugging panel body tube leaks. This is the most common leak repair and is quick and cost effective. Leaks in the header pipe of an individual panel usually requires panel replacement.
Leaks in the PVC pipe plumbing are also a reason you may consider a repair. PVC pipe is relatively easy and inexpensive to fix, and leaks usually occur at joints. In some cases, especially with black pipe, you may have warping, sagging, or burst pipes caused from stagnating water from improper drainage.
Panels that are causing roof damage due to sub-par installation techniques is a good reason to replace a system before damage becomes serious. PVC pipe or panel couplings digging into the roof membrane is a serious issue that we avoid using our exclusive roof protection system.
Improper or sub-par installation can exacerbate leak issues. Not following the manufacturer’s recommended installation method can result in catastrophic panel failure where replacement is really the only option. This usually stems from lack of proper substrate or racking systems under panels that require it.
When we are asked to evaluate a repair or replace decision, we look at the entire system. Plugging leaks in one place often leads to additional leaks in other areas in a short period of time. Chasing leaks is an annoying, frustrating, and costly course of action. A visual inspection of the system, how it was installed, the type and age of the panels, and other clues lead us to a recommendation to repair or replace a system. Often we are asked for a replacement quote when a simple repair is advisable, allowing a system owner to limp along with a very old system. Other times, what appears to be a simple leak could be an indicator of a larger problem that will continue to result in costly and repeated repair services.
If a system is older than 15 years, in all likelihood we are going to recommend replacement, but there are cases where panels can last substantially longer. Buying a new system with a new warranty and newer methods and products is something we ask people to consider any time we find poor installation methods and products. Throwing money at a system where there are other problems unrelated to the reason for a call is not a good idea. We will work with you to determine the best course of action in your situation.
If you do decide that replacement of your system is necessary or preferable, there are some important considerations: