Solar Collector issues When disconnected

Its been a while without blogging.  But we are back.

This week a potential customer called us with a very unusual problem.
The family installed a solar water heater from a solar company who is not in business anymore. Sadly this is a common practice we see all over the country, but we generally try to help the person, as means to make the industry in general look better.

Anyway, our techs arrived to the property. The solar water heater was leaking profusely.
It was properly connected. It had sensors and an expansion tank (very unusual as most plumbers do not install it in Texas).  The pressure relief valve was working.

The techs asked if any unusual activity in the house was done. The customer told our techs “We were on vacation and the water company disconnect the water for a bit…”

Disconnecting the water from an open loop solar water heater is like having a fry pan in the stove for days without anything on it, only much more worse.

If the water heater is not fed with continuous water , the system will prevent overheating by expelling the water through the relief valve. Normally, cold water will replace the hot water and the relief valve will close.  If no cold water is available, the heat will increase the pressure inside until it bursts the tank open.

When your installer installs a solar water heater, its convenient to place a sign for the water company to let them know not to disconnect the water from the property, or the water heater will be damaged.

This is the reason we prefer to installed closed loop systems.

I didnt find anything on this issue online, but please post if you find any links on similar problems.

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