10 Common Errors in Residential Solar Care and How to Avoid Them
Did you know the United States added 13.2 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity in 2021? People across the country are jumping on board the solar train, realizing how beneficial the technology can be.
There are several ways people make common errors in residential solar care. Take this list to prevent mistakes and save time and money. You want to pay attention to these because you can damage your equipment or yourself.
Read on and explore some of the most common errors you should avoid when it comes to the maintenance of solar panels.
1. Inadequate Battery Maintenance
Inadequate battery maintenance is one of the most common errors in solar upkeep. Batteries are a crucial part of the solar energy system. Poorly maintained batteries can result in decreased performance and an increased risk of failure.
To avoid these issues, do not overcharge or undercharge batteries. Keep track of the battery’s storage levels and charge levels. You should also check for corrosion and warping visually and with a voltmeter.
Store the batteries at the optimum temperature, and directing a fan across them can help to prevent heat damage. Lastly, allow the batteries to rest periodically. This can make sure that they are not over-discharged and are able to hold their energy capacity for more extended periods of time.
Additionally, solar owners should dispose of batteries carefully to prevent any damage. Following these simple maintenance steps helps to increase the lifespan of solar batteries.
2. Neglecting Cleaning Protocols
Dirt, discoloration, and debris can accumulate on the surface of the panels. This can reduce the amount of solar energy the system generates. This can cause electricity bills to rise as the solar system won’t be able to absorb as much sunlight as it should.
To avoid this error, residential solar owners should keep up with regular cleaning protocols. First, when cleaning solar panels, always use mild soap and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. This will help avoid accidental scratches and potential damage to the board.
Second, never use water pressure washers or sharp blades to clean the PV cells. This could damage the cells or even compromise the sealant around the edges.
Third, always be sure to check the temperature before commencing a solar cleaning cycle. You should only clean them when the temperature is between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius.
Following these protocols can help ensure the solar system is working at its peak efficiency and reliability. This will also help prevent critical errors that could be costly.
3. Not Investigating the Solar Panel’s Warranties
Different solar panel manufacturers offer warranties ranging anywhere from 10-25 years. A knowledgeable solar panel installer should know the benefits of each panel’s warranty, but it’s vital to ask about these details.
Warranties can offer protection against any product defects, reducing customers’ cost of repairs down the road. Solar consumers should also read the fine print of the warranty and take note of required maintenance to stay up to date.
Understanding your solar warranty can save you from being caught with any unexpected fees or repairs down the line.
4. Delayed Replacement of Equipment
Common errors in residential solar maintenance can be costly and inconvenient. One such error is delaying the replacement of equipment. When solar system components need replacing, they should be replaced as soon as possible to keep the system running efficiently.
Failing to replace components on time can lead to costly repair or replacement that could have been avoided. Also, if the components are not replaced, the system may underperform and decrease the amount of energy generated.
To avoid this standard error, homeowners should pay close attention to their solar system’s performance. They should note any changes in energy output or strange noises from components.
If one notices these changes, one should contact a qualified solar installation professional to check the system and arrange a replacement. Learn more about expert installers to help you choose the best one. Taking these precautions can help ensure the solar system is running at its best performance.
5. Underestimating the Importance of the Inverter
An inverter converts direct current from the solar cells to alternating current. The inverter is vital in achieving optimal output and efficiency for your residential solar system. Without a functioning inverter, your residential solar system cannot produce energy.
It is crucial to regularly inspect the inverter for any signs of wear or damage. Also, check the connections and wiring of the system to ensure that they are fastened.
Additionally, you should strive to find an inverter with a reliable warranty. As inverters tend to be one of the most costly parts of the entire system, it is best to invest in a trusted and reliable brand. Lastly, ensuring a quality output voltage and frequency is essential for long-term inverter performance.
6. Incorrect Electrical Connections
Electric connections should be corrected when maintaining residential solar systems. A significant error is not connecting the solar panels to their intended places correctly. This can disrupt the power connections and cause arcing and create damage to equipment and wiring.
It’s important to check connections for corrosion or fraying over time to avoid this. If you notice any of these signs, immediately call a professional for maintenance. They can help ensure that all electrical connections are safe and working correctly.
7. Inadequate Weatherproofing
Without proper weatherproofing, the outside elements of the roof, such as rain, snow, debris, and insects, can damage the solar panel. This can reduce efficiency and shorten the panel’s lifespan.
To avoid this problem, check for possible weatherproofing holes around the solar panels, and seal them with caulk or construction adhesive to protect your panel from the elements. Make sure to regularly inspect your panels to be sure that your weatherproofing is working.
Additionally, using quality, water-resistant materials over components exposed to the elements is vital for maintaining a stable, functional solar system over the years. With proper weatherproofing, a residential solar system can last a long time, ensuring your home maximizes its energy savings.
8. Under-Inflating the System
This happens when a solar panel is charged with too little air. When panels are not properly inflated with nitrogen gas, vacuum pressure can cause the cells to wear out quickly.
To avoid this, inspect the solar panels regularly and check the air pressure. Also, ensure the panel manufacturer’s recommended air pressure is being used – too much or too little pressure can cause damage.
Ensure leakages are also checked for. If there is a loose fitting or broken seal, air will slowly escape from the panel into the environment. Fixing this is easy with suitable instruments, but if left unchecked, it can cause further damage that could be costly to repair.
9. Not Checking for Corrosion on Systems
Corrosion is caused by a lack of care for the metal components, exposing them to the elements and allowing them to corrode. When this happens, it not only weakens the system but can also damage the protective coating and insulation around the system. This can lead to further degradation and increased wear and tear.
To avoid this common error, it is important to perform a solar care routine for the system. Tools like visual inspection, testers, and other diagnostic tools can help homeowners detect corrosion that’s too small or deep to be seen with the naked eye.
During these inspections, the homeowner should look for deformation, irregular coloring, or any other signs of corrosion. Corrosion should also be checked on any connections or components, such as wire junctions, bolts, and terminals, as these can corrode easily.
It is also essential to keep the system clear of debris and vegetation that could trap moisture and encourage the growth of rust or corrosion. Applying a rust inhibitor to parts of the system that may be more susceptible to corrosion is also recommended.
10. Not Checking the Sun Angle
One of the common errors in residential solar maintenance is failing to check the sun angle. This is vital for gaining the optimum energy generation from your solar panel. Without checking the sun’s angle, the electricity produced will be lower and could result in higher electricity bills.
To avoid this mistake, use an online tool or a sundial to measure the sun’s angle. Check this each year or when the first significant snowfall occurs. This will help you mount the solar array in the correct direction.
Set the solar panel at the angle that gives the most sunlight. This usually points south so that the system can generate the most energy. This will help you minimize potential losses in energy production and ensure optimal output.
Avoiding Errors in Residential Solar Care
Common errors in residential solar care can be avoided with the proper installation process. Following the tips in this article and working with a reputable contractor to install and maintain your solar system can help you avoid these issues.
Taking the time and effort to maintain your system will pay for itself many times. Be sure to do your research and make responsible decisions for a successful and smoothly running solar system.
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