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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 owners.

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 your system:

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 repair.

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.