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How To Maintain Your Solar Panel System

There is very little in the way of man-made products that are maintenance-free, and your solar panel system is no exception. If you have average DIY skills, youíre all set. Maintaining your solar panel system isnít very difficult at all.

The exterior of your solar panel system consists of the solar panels, mounting hardware and wire connections. Exterior maintenance is all about cleanliness and fighting back against the ravages of the elements. Hereís a simple 4-step process for getting it done:

1. Inspect your solar panels for cracks in the glass or Plexiglas panels. If cracks are detected, seal them with a high-temperature silicon product.

Cracks can let in moisture, and they can also grow deeper and wider if left unrepaired. Be sure to clean the area around the cracks with window cleaner and dry it thoroughly before applying the silicone. Itís best to work on the cracks when the sun is low and the glass is not superheated.

2. Clean dirt, debris, bird droppings and other foreign materials from the solar panels, and then wash it all down with a window cleaning solvent or vinegar and water solution.

3. Check all mounting hardware to make sure your solar panels are still tight. You can spray a light coating of WD-40 on the connections if they are showing signs of exposure to the elements. Replace any seriously corroded hardware. Also check the bolts going into your roof and apply some roofing sealant to the bolt heads and around the hole, if needed.

4. Inspect the wire connectors leading from your solar panels to your home for signs of corrosion or fraying. Replace any damaged wire or connectors.

Interior Maintenance
Interior maintenance is even easier. All you need to do is inspect the area where the outside wires enter your home and make sure the opening is weatherproof. Use an appropriate sealer to close up any openings. Look for telltale signs like water stains in the immediate area where the wires come inside.

Battery Maintenance
If you are using flooded batteries, carefully remove the caps and add ONLY distilled water up to the fill mark in each cell, if needed.

Remember that the fumes from flooded batteries are caustic and potentially explosive. Keep your face away from the opening and only open the batteries in a well-ventilated area.

Regardless of the battery type you use, check each battery terminal connection to make sure it is tight and free of corrosion. You can remove mild corrosion with a diluted mixture of baking soda and water. Be careful!

There are no other user-serviceable parts in your solar system, so if you have completed all of the steps above, youíre all set.

Maintenance frequency depends on your environmental conditions. If youíre in a dusty area, youíll need to clean and inspect your panels more frequently.

Whenever possible, inspect your panels, especially the mounting bracketsBusiness Management Articles, if your area comes under a hurricane watch or warning.

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Jakob Jelling runs† which focuses on solar energy and especially solar panels.

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