Essential Solar Panel Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
If you put in the money needed to install solar panels, then you absolutely want to make sure they are well taken care of. However, the investment in time and effort required to do this might surprise you! After all, solar panels require relatively frequent maintenance, and you need to know the basics of it, too. To help out those with no prior experience, we’ve put together essential solar panel maintenance tips for homeowners.
Buy a cleaning kit
You can, admittedly, assemble the things you need to properly clean solar panels even without buying a cleaning kit. However, the task of doing so is much more complicated. Not to mention that you might not be able to get your hands on some of the more unusual items, such as a brush with the right dimensions and extensions. Even the necessary biodegradable soap is not exactly easy to track down without ordering it over the internet. On top of all this, you really do not want to try your hand at solar panel maintenance without these tools. It is far too easy to mess up and damage something, resulting in costly repairs. So, one of the things to consider before installing rooftop solar panels is ensuring you have everything you’d need to clean them!
Make sure to stay safe
Typically speaking, the most common type of solar panels installed on residential properties are rooftop solar panels. There is a grounded version too, but they take up a lot of space and make it impossible to use your yard for much else. This presents people with another challenge of solar panel maintenance. Namely, staying safe. It would help if you got at them from several tricky angles to clean your solar panels correctly. And while it is technically possible to clean them relatively decently from the ground with extensions, it is a chore and often results in a messy cleaning. This, in turn, means you’ll need to find a way to secure yourself and prevent falling accidents! Keep in mind that one of the common mistakes to avoid when installing solar panels is not paying enough attention to safety. Therefore, try and avoid this at all costs!
Prevent dirt buildup
A considerable part of solar panel maintenance is ensuring no dirt covers the tops. Why is it crucial to prevent even a thin layer of dust or dirt from forming? Well, solar panels are designed to absorb energy from sunlight. Any layers between them and direct sun exposure will make them much less effective. Solar energy is not always available, to begin with. And if you do not keep your solar panels in peak condition, it is very easy for their effectiveness to drop to the point where maintenance costs eclipse what you’re earning from them. This is not your goal since even just the cost of investment to get them installed is significant!
Do regular inspections
Solar panels are built to last, but they are also frustratingly fragile. Intense storms, winds, or failing to trim branches near your home can all result in catastrophic damage. Even if you design your home to your specifications around them, you still can’t protect them perfectly. A solar panel is a complex mix of wires, batteries, regulators, panels, cables, and more, a combination that must work perfectly to do its job. And for an installation dealing with electricity, this is always a serious risk! Thankfully, every solar panel has inverters that are meant to trip if any damage is detected. This means you will at least have an easy visual clue if something’s wrong to assist you with your inspections.
Useful non-specialized tools
While they are not typically part of a cleaning kit recommended for solar panel maintenance, there are some tools that can assist you. These include:
- Spray bottles
- A leaf blower
- Non-abrasive cleaning implements such as sponges, brooms, and similar
- A low-pressure hose
Using these judiciously, you can make the cleaning process much easier and faster. Now, it should be noted that these are to primarily be used for quick cleaning. The type is meant to do nothing more than prevent light dirt or dust buildup. If you want to seriously clean your solar panels, you would still be better off dipping into your specialized supplies!
Things to look out for
When doing solar panel maintenance, there are some things you should never do. First, try and avoid the use of any abrasive cleaning implements. The surface of the panels is surprisingly fragile, and scratching them up would severely limit their effectiveness. You should also not use regular detergents on solar panels for a similar reason due to their chemical compositions and the fact that they tend to leave stains and marks if they’re not washed off properly, unlike biodegradable versions. Next, if you have hard water at home, do not use it during cleaning. The deposits it can leave on your solar panels are just as harmful as other buildups. Finally, do not use very cold or hot water. Water that’s too hot can leave residue, and water that’s too cold might damage the solar panel’s composition.
Consider hiring professionals at first
Our final advice concerning solar panel maintenance is to rely on professionals first. The process of adequately cleaning solar panels can be pretty tricky. Just relying on guides or videos would lead to subpar results. Of course, the frequency of cleaning solar panels required does make it impossible to constantly pay cleaning services to do it. However, you should at least give yourself a chance to learn from the pros. If you ask, most cleaning services will have no problems walking you through simple cleaning. And that know-how will go a long way!
By properly utilizing our essential solar panel maintenance tips for homeowners, you should be able to avoid any major mistakes and safely get used to maintaining your panels. Once you have more experience, you will find that the task is quite a bit easier and more manageable!
Melanie Tailor is an experienced handywoman and cleaning staff member at Peak Services Las Vegas. She has a lot of professional knowledge concerning complicated or specialized cleaning and loves to share valuable tips with people.