How to Remove Solar Water Heater Panels From a Roof

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A home with solar panels installed on its roof that supply power to the water heater will be more energy efficient than a standard home. Solar panels can save you 50 to 75 percent on your monthly electric bill. Over time, you may need to remove and replace solar panels from the roof of your home. Also, you might choose to remove the panels completely. The removal process is relatively straightforward, but certain steps must be followed.

Things You'll Need

  • Toolbox
  • Replacement panels
  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Place a ladder against the side of your house in order to gain access to the roof. Put on a pair of sturdy gloves before touching or handling any of the solar panels. Some solar panels have contents that are not safe for long-term exposure, so use caution during the removal process.

  • Determine which panels are damaged or not working. Solar panels have a life expectancy of 25 years, so check with the company that manufactured the panels to determine if they are under warranty. Purchase replacement panels, if necessary.

  • Turn off the pump that is connected to the solar water heater panels. Allow time for the pipes to drain adequately before removing any panels. Deactivate the pump so that it does not dry out and become damaged while the solar panels are being removed or replaced.

  • Determine what tools will be necessary in order to remove some or all of the solar panels. A variety of mounting equipment could have been used, including screws, brackets or wing nuts. Save the mounting equipment if new panels are going to be installed.

  • Disconnect the pipes at either end of the solar panel. Drain any excess water out of the pipes and panel before removing the panel from the roof. Continue the removal process until all of the panels are removed or the damaged ones are replaced.

  • Connect any new panels and turn the water pump back on. The new panels will not work to full capacity for 24 hours. Check with your local environmental agency or the EPA to determine how to dispose of the solar panels correctly.

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