Your Solar Energy Water Heater

Checklist For Purchase And Installation

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solar energy water heater installation

Have you decided to purchase a solar energy water heater? Hopefully, you have taken into careful consideration how the solar water heating system should be built to maximize your benefit.

Since every system will be different, it is impossible to provide step by step installation instructions here. The system you purchase should have instructions that come with it, but to ensure proper functioning and maintenance of your new solar water heating system you should hire a contractor who has installed a similar system previously and backs up their work with a performance warranty.

We strongly advise against trying to install the system yourself without expert help.

Here are some tips to help you with the paperwork to make sure the purchase and installation of your new solar power water heating system is sucessfull.

Solar Energy Water Heater Purchase Checklist

  • Locate and contract with a properly licensed solar energy contractor!
  • We strongly recommend you ask and receive in writing a guarantee that your installer will provide and review the system operating directions and any maintenance requirements. You should also request an actual demonstration on how to use your new system properly.
  • Make sure you have a list of exactly what you will receive for the price you are paying. This includes all parts, delivery costs, labor costs and warranties. Make sure that any exclusions are clearly documented in your paperwork and signed off by you and the contractor so there are no misunderstandings when you are ready to move forward.
  • If there is any information you are unclear about, have the contractor review it with you again until you are confident you understand.
  • Request manufacturer warranty papers on all collectors and control devices. Store them in a safe place.
  • Request a copy of the certified solar test ratings for your collectors, or at the minimum, a written statement describing and attesting to the certification.
  • Make sure the control has an Underwriters Lab (UL) label. This information can be found and confirmed by reading through the manufacturer's specification sheet or product literature.
  • Make sure the work contract specifies the manufacturer, model, and size of the solar panels and the exact model number of the controller.
  • Before the installation actually occurs, request a scaled sketch or drawing that shows the number and location of the solar collectors as well as a schematic diagram showing plumbing and control locations.
  • Make sure the collectors have current approvals for your city or county. Your contractor should be able to assist you in determining and selecting a system that meets your local state requirements.
  • In your contract specify start and end dates for your installation as well as who is responsible for any clean up after the installation is complete.
  • In your contract, state clearly how payment will be made. In many cases payments will be made after certain pieces of work are completed. Make certain down payments, progress payments and final payments clearly defined with a specific date or upon completion of a certain piece of work once approved by YOU the buyer.

What About An Existing Solar Energy Water Heater In My New House?

Some times (more and more often, as solar energy becomes more common in residential areas), a family will buy a house that already has a solar energy water heater installed. It may be in use or not.

Hopefully, the current owners have the original operating manuals and will be willing to teach you how to use the system properly. But what do you do if the owner can't help you or doesn't have the original warranties and instructions?

  • Try to contact the manufacturer or the original contractor who installed the system if they are still in business. You can utilize local phone books or business directories or search online. They should be able to direct you to a local contractor familiar with their products and provide you with a copy of the original operating instructions for the system and any warranties that may still apply.
  • You may be able to download the original operating instructions by searching the internet based on the manufacturer, make and model of the system.
  • We strongly recommend you look for a local contractor who is familiar with your system and schedule time to have them check over the system and show you how to properly use it.

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