Re-roof or leaking tank?
Should I just throw the system away?
Many systems are too easily thrown in
the dumpster due to lack of knowledge of the facts.
The two main factors which contribute
to the disposal of a solar thermal system are big repairs or new home
A re-roof job usually means the extra
expense of paying for a Solar Contractor to remove and replace the
solar panels on the roof in coordination with the roofing company.
Many homeowners think their system is too old or it is not worth the
expense to keep their system.
Many roofers don't like dealing with
solar panels being in their way to begin with and have been known to
try to convince the homeowner that they should discard their system.
The cost to remove and replace a typical solar panel array is usually
around the 1000.00 dollar mark.
A leaking solar hot water tank is
another big expense which discourages homeowners from keeping their
system. A new 80 gallon solar tank installed is over 2000.00 dollars.
Sometimes homeowners will get hit with
what we call the "Double Whammy" of needing a new roof and having a
leaking tank at about the same time. These are the customers most
likely to remove their systems.
We have found that the original owners
of a system are much more likely to want to keep their system. They
have seen over 25 years worth of savings and in the face of rising
fuel costs most want to continue saving money.
The average home is sold within a 7
year period. That means there are many homes with solar systems
installed during the 80's which now have new homeowners. Many of these
new homeowners have very little knowledge passed on to them on how to
maintain their systems. Quite often it is hard to find a Solar Company
since many went out of business when the tax credits were allowed to
expire years ago.
Reasons to keep your system
There are several good reasons to keep
Most 25 year old solar hot water
systems have plenty of life left in them. A regularly maintained
system will still have many years of service life remaining. In most
cases a change of a pump or a new controller or a change of antifreeze
will get your system back up and running efficiently.
A solar hot water system will over a
period of time not only pay for itself but also in the long run will
pay for the big repairs such as a new tank or a re-roof job that occur
at 10 or 20 year periods. What people don't realize is that the money
they have saved year after year is the same money that they are now
using to keep their system running. If that money was put into an
interest bearing account there would be quite a nest egg of money to
more than cover the big expenses which come up when a tank needs
replacement or the roof needs to be done.
Most people never really see the money
they have saved because the savings are typically spent on daily
living expenses. The money has been saved but most people don't stop
to realize that the money they are now spending on major repairs has
already been saved and that is the money that is paying for the
Does your oil burner ever pay you back
for your investment? Is the oil free? If you have an electric or gas
fired backup water heater will you ever get any money back? The answer
is no! A solar hot water system will consistently over a period of
time pay for itself due to the usage of the free fuel from the sun!
If for example, your alternate fuel for
hot water is the oil you burn in your oil burner, most households burn
on average from a half tank to a full tank of oil over the summer
months just to heat their hot water if they don't use their solar hot
water system. If they have electric for backup the expense is even
higher as electricity is more expensive than oil to heat water. A
solar hot water system typically provides 95 percent of your hot water
during the summer months and 50 to 75 percent of your hot water during
the rest of the year. Do some basic math and you can figure out what
your solar hot water fuel cost savings are for the full year.
With the rapidly rising energy costs we
have seen over the last few years the savings realized using solar hot
water are rapidly appreciating.
In closing we hope all this information
puts things in a clearer perspective for you the homeowner and we hope
this will help to convince you to do what it takes to keep your solar
hot water system functioning.