How much does it cost to repair a solar water heater?
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Solar Water Heater Repair Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Maintaining and repairing a solar water heater is important to guarantee an uninterrupted hot water supply for you and your family. Regularly scheduled maintenance usually includes lubrication of parts, replacement of antifreeze and corroded parts, cleaning of solar collectors for maximum efficiency, and repair of blemished or bent connectors. Regular maintenance is a way to extend the life of your solar water heater, but issues can still arise and need to be repaired by a qualified technician.
The national average cost for repairing solar water heaters is between $150 and $750, with most homeowners paying about $400 for replacing a damaged or broken coil. This project’s low cost is $50 for repairing a leaky pressure valve. The high cost for this project is $2,000 for replacing a large water tank.
Cost to Repair a Solar Water Heater
|Solar Water Heater Maintenance Costs|
|National average cost||$400|
Solar Water Heater Repair Cost by Type of Repair
Various parts make up the overall system of a solar water heater, and damage can occur to all these parts. The cost of your solar heater repairs largely depends on the affected parts. The table below shows the main repair types you might need, along with average repair costs for each one.
|Type of Repair||Average Repair Costs|
|Insulation||$100 - $500|
|Collector||$100 - $800|
|Tank||$400 - $1,000|
Solar Water Heater Insulation
Solar water heater insulation repairs average $100 to $500. Insulation is necessary to maintain the water temperature and improve efficiency. Fiberglass blankets and other forms of insulation can be placed around the tank and hot water feed pipe.
Solar Water Heater Collector Repair
Repairs to the collector of your solar water heater cost between $100 and $800. The collector is the part of the system responsible for collecting solar energy, so this is where the solar panels and tubes are. Collector panels and other components can get damaged, which may interfere with the water flow and system efficiency. For example, dirty panels may need to be cleaned, or resin applied to patch any cracks or superficial damage.
Solar Water Heater Tank Repair
Repairs to the water tank of solar systems range from $400 to $1,000. The water heater tank is responsible for storing the heated water, ready for use in the home. Tanks are made from sturdy materials and last many years, but they can get dented, cracked, or damaged in other ways, requiring patching and fixing by professional technicians.
Solar Water Heater Repair Cost by Type of Replacement
Solar water heaters contain a wide range of parts, from thermostats and valves to the water tank. Problems can arise with all these parts, and each one may need to be replaced if the damage is too great. The table below shows common solar water heater parts, along with the average costs for replacement:
|Replacement Part||Average Repair Costs|
|Thermostat||$100 - $250|
|Relief Valve||$100 - $250|
|Tube||$250 - $600|
|Panel||$300 - $500|
|Glass||$300 - $500|
|Coil||$350 - $750|
|Pump||$500 - $800|
|Tank||$750 - $2,000|
Solar Water Heater Thermostat Replacement
Thermostat replacements for a solar water heater cost between $100 and $250. The thermostat is a vital component because it monitors and controls the temperature of the water and keeps the system running smoothly. Replacement thermostats are relatively easy to install, and the process can be done in less than an hour.
Replace a Pressure Relief Valve for a Solar Water Heater
Replacing a pressure relief valve in a solar water heater averages $100 to $250. This valve is essential for controlling the pressure in the water tank as the water inside heats up or cools down. It works to prevent leaks and tank ruptures, and it is relatively cheap and easy to replace. A professional first drains the pressure of the tank before removing the old valve. Then they screw in the new valve and tighten it before reconnecting everything and checking that it works.
Solar Water Heater Tube Replacement
Solar water heater tube replacements range from $250 to $600. These tubes, sometimes known as evacuated tubes, are a key part of the solar collector system. A collector can still function with a couple of broken tubes, but it will be less efficient. If you want the best results from your collector, remove and replace any cracked or broken tubes with fresh ones. Costs vary depending on how many tubes need replacing.
Solar Hot Water Panel Replacement
Solar panel replacement for a solar water heater costs between $300 and $500. Panels are a key part of the collector system for your solar water heater, helping gather solar energy from the sun, which is used to heat your water. Since they are exposed to storms, the elements, and open air, they can become damaged over time.
Solar Panel Glass Replacement
Solar panel glass replacement ranges from $300 to $500. Usually when the glass in a solar panel breaks or cracks, the panel continues to function, but it will not be as effective. Professionals cannot replace the individual parts of the glass directly because of how these panels are constructed, but a new glass panel can be purchased and installed to replace the damaged one.
Solar Water Heater Coil Replacement
Replacing the coil in your solar water heater averages $350 to $750. The coil, or heat exchanger, is what helps heat the water, taking heat energy into the tank and allowing the system to function as intended. A broken coil can lead to your home having no hot water, so this part needs to be replaced quickly once any issues are detected.
Solar Water Heater Pump Replacement
Replacing the solar water heater pump costs between $500 and $800. The pump is one of the most important parts of your solar water heater system because it circulates the water through the collectors and into the home. When the pump fails, the entire system essentially becomes ineffective, so broken pumps should be replaced as soon as possible.
Solar Hot Water Tank Replacement
Solar hot water tank replacement ranges from $750 to $2,000. The tank is one of the biggest and most expensive parts of any solar water heater system. So clean and repair it whenever possible because full replacements can be very expensive. If the tank is damaged beyond repair and causing leaks, a replacement will be necessary.
Solar Water Heater Repair Cost by Type of Problem
A wide range of problems affect solar water heaters, from mineral buildups to leaky valves. These problems affect different parts and have varying causes, which require specific steps of diagnosis and repair. The table below shows common problems you may encounter with a solar water heater and the costs to fix each one.
|Type of Problem||Average Repair Costs|
|Leaking Relief Valve||$50 - $250|
|Leaking on the Roof||$50 - $500|
|Faulty Sensor Wires||$100 - $200|
|Mineral Buildup||$100 - $250|
|Loose Panels||$100 - $250|
|Scaling||$100 - $250|
|Banging Noise||$100 - $800|
|Wrong Orientation||$150 - $500|
|Freeze Damage||$150 - $500|
|Heat Loss||$250 - $600|
|Not Working at Full Capacity||$250 - $850|
Solar Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Leaking
Fixing a leaky pressure relief valve costs between $50 and $250. Sometimes, leaky valves simply need tightening or resealing, which is inexpensive and can be done in a matter of minutes. Other times, they may need to be replaced, leading to a higher repair cost because you have to factor in the price of the new valve and the extra labor required to remove the old one.
Solar Hot Water Leaking on the Roof
Fixing a solar water heater that is leaking on the roof ranges from $50 to $500. This is a common problem with heaters and is usually caused by a damaged or broken pressure relief valve. Have the valve repaired or replaced to fix this issue. It could also be caused by pipe leaks within the solar panels, which can be more costly to repair.
Faulty Sensor Wires
Fixing faulty sensor wires averages $100 to $200. Sensor wires could be reversed, connections loose, or controllers faulty. To fix this, the technician tightens all loose connections, cleans and seals exposed areas, and connects the sensor wires properly.
Removing mineral buildup in your solar water heater tank costs between $100 and $250. Minerals from hard water can form scale and blockages in the system, which have to be flushed out. A technician inspects your system, replaces any corroded piping, ensures that the isolation valves are open, and flushes the buildup of minerals to remove the blockage.
Fixing loose panels for a solar water heater ranges from $100 to $250. If your solar panels have not been installed properly, they could come loose. Regular inspection and maintenance of solar panels are important to ensure there is no damage. Refitting loose panels should never be attempted by inexperienced homeowners because there is an increased possibility of damaging the panels beyond repair. To keep the solar water panels firmly in place, a qualified technician will check them to ensure that these elements do not loosen to the point of malfunction. The technician will also tighten or refasten the screw fixings and install additional ones when necessary. If the panels are loose because of corroded fixings, the professional replaces these with new ones.
Dealing with scaling in your water heater system costs between $100 and $250. Scaling occurs when a mineral film, which is formed of mineral salts from calcium, magnesium, silica, aluminum, or iron, coats the entire surface of a heat exchanger. These salts are the impurities that reach the deposit site in a soluble state. They precipitate out of the water directly on surfaces that transfer heat or by suspended deposits in the water precipitating on the metal and becoming hard and adherent. To deal with this, the system will usually need to be flushed.
Solar Hot Water Heater Making a Banging Noise
Fixing a solar water heater that is making banging sounds averages $100 to $800. There are many potential causes of this issue, and a banging noise is not a good sign regarding your heater’s health. It may indicate a problem with the sensors, pump, valve, or temperature controller. If it is a simple valve issue, the repair costs should be minimal, but prices can rise for more severe system damage.
Fixing panels with the wrong orientation ranges from $150 to $500. Panels need to be oriented and angled correctly to get the most light and be as efficient as possible. But some panels can be improperly installed in a way that puts them in the shade for large parts of the day. The technician will check if the solar panels are properly oriented and remove or trim any vegetation obstructing the system’s sun exposure.
Repairing freeze damage to your system costs between $150 and $500. The greatest risk to a solar water heating system, which uses liquids like water as heat transfer fluids, is freezing. Freezing occurs when the temperatures fall below 32º Fahrenheit. The water collector supply and return pipes are more vulnerable to freezing, especially if they run through an unheated space or outside. Freezing causes the pipes to expand and burst and could damage the water heater. Pipes that have been damaged due to freezing usually need replacing.
Water Heater Losing Heat
Fixing a water heater that is losing heat ranges from $250 to $600. This issue might be caused by a lack of insulation around the tank or pipes. To fix it, solar professionals might use insulation blankets. They will also insulate the pipes and seal the tank, joints, and pipes.
Water Heater Not Working at Full Capacity
Making improvements to a water heater that is not working at full capacity averages $250 to $850. Solar panels must work at 80% capacity or greater for water to be heated to the maximum temperature. If the capacity of the solar panels drops below that threshold, replacements or repairs are needed. Low-efficient solar water heaters increase energy bills, whereas highly efficient water heaters minimize the energy bills by almost 20% and warm your water faster.
Solar water heater professionals will inject foam insulation between the water collector and its outer membrane for increased heat retention. Other components that a technician may recommend replacing are glass liners for making water tanks less prone to corrosion. For increasing efficiency, a new conventional storage unit may also be recommended.
Solar Water Heater Maintenance Costs
Professional solar water heater maintenance costs between $100 and $250 per checkup. Technicians who are experienced in working with solar water heaters visit your property, inspect the system, carry out various diagnostic checks to ensure that everything is working, check the valves, tighten any loose fittings, look for any signs of wear and tear, clean the panels, and flush the system of minerals if needed. These checks and maintenance visits are a useful way to keep your water heater in good working order. Have an annual inspection to extend the life of your water heater.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- The efficiency of solar panels is reduced on cloudy days and produces only around a third of their typical electricity output. This does not mean that the solar water heater is broken.
- If an old solar water heater system has been severely damaged or is encountering recurring problems, a full replacement may be the wiser option instead of paying for repeated repairs.
- With good care and regular maintenance, a solar water heater system can last 20 years or longer.
- Solar water heaters are typically more complex than traditional gas or electric heaters. So, it is important to seek professional repairs and maintenance from technicians who are skilled and experienced in working with these systems, rather than trying DIY repairs or relying on someone who has not worked with solar systems before.
- Why is my water heater overflowing?
An overflowing water heater may be caused by problems with the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR) when the temperature or pressure becomes dangerously high. Or, it could be because of thermal expansion when the element heats up and the volume of the water inside the tank expands, causing it to overflow.
- Do solar panels leak water?
Well-installed solar panels should never cause leakage of water. If any leakage is identified, the cause could be poor installation of the solar panel or a too old or damaged roof.
- Will solar panels ruin my roof?
Solar panels do not damage your roof when installed properly by a licensed and qualified professional.
- How much does it cost to replace a solar hot water system?
Average costs for a new solar water heater range from $8,000 to $10,000. You may pay less for a replacement because not all the parts may need replacing, or you could choose a smaller and more affordable system.
- How long do solar water heaters last?
Solar water heaters last around 20 years on average.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
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