3 Common Solar Water Heater Problems and How to Fix Them

Posted on: 17 March 2016

Solar water heaters generate heat from the sun to supply hot water for use in many residential areas. They require proper maintenance and repair service to keep them running at peak level. Here are a number of common problems associated with solar water heaters and possible solutions for them.

Circulation problems

Water circulation problems often occur when the solar panel controls are incorrectly connected. If the solar power controls are turned on but the circulation pump is not running, the pump impeller may be clogged and needs cleaning. If the pump is working but there is no hot water being supplied, it could be that air is locked inside the pump collector. This problem can be sorted out by pressing the nozzle of the circulation pump using your fingers to release water through the pressure relief valve. If you notice that the circulation problems come with unusual noises when the appliance is running, you may need to lubricate the bearings on the pump.


Almost all appliances that allow water to travel through them are bound to start leaking at some point. The valves on a solar water heater are designed to stop or influence the direction of water flow. Normally, there are two valves; the ball valve and the gate valve. If one or both of these valves become loose, leakage can happen. However, the gate valve is more likely to fail as compared to the ball valve since the gate valve is usually subjected to the higher levels of pressure and temperature.

Any loose connections that may result in high water pressure or thermal expansion and subsequently cause leakage should be immediately tightened up. When you are repairing leaks, remember to turn off the appliance so as to prevent the piping from bursting.

Not hot enough water

If the water from the heater is not hot enough, this can be due to restricted water flow, low temperature or low pressure in the system. The appliance has valves with field-adjustable or factory-set hot, cold and mix ports. Valves with field-adjustable ports can be reset to provide water at varied temperatures while those with factory-set ports supply water at fixed temperatures.

When water released into the hot port is above the specified temperature setting, it is cooled by the water from the cold water port, which opens before the hot water leaves the mix port. When there is valve failure, there is a continuous supply of not hot enough water irrespective of the set temperature. The best way to deal with this problem is by replacing the faulty valves with the right brand of valves.

If you still can't figure out what the problem is with your water heater, contact local plumbers or HVAC companies that work with hot water systems