Hitec Helicoil panel leak

lborne

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2009
467
Vero Beach, FL
Friends just bought a home that has 10 year old Hitec Helicoil panels installed. The panels are 4 foot x 10 foot and there are about 10 on the roof. All 5 bottom panels have leaks at the lower part where the tubes connect to the header. This is where the pressure is highest and their system is running about 25 psi when the solar is on.

When we were over for the open house, I checked the system and there is no evident reason why the system is running at such a high pressure - this is just normal for them since the solar panels are quite far from the pump - complete other side of house. One thing I noticed was there was no check valve on the solar return, so that when the solar controller turns the system off, there is still pressure on the system and the leaks do not stop.

Each panel is divided into 4 - 1 foot sections of pipe connected with a fat plastic web - so there are 3 of these "web" areas about 1/2 inch wide. All leaks are occuring where the web meets the header. The leak source is not easily identified. I took a towel, dried the bottom part of the panel off, and then the water begins to fill all along the header, starting at the web. It is leaking underneath too. Not every web area has a leak. Obviously, the leak is coming from the adjoining tubes since the web carries no water.

Anyway, they asked me what I thought they should do. They got quotes of over $100 just to have someone come out and look at it. Since the leaks are at the header, I thought it might be difficult to fix. Also, there is no guarantee that additional leaks won't show up over the next season. And, considering the panels are 10 years old, it is probably best to just replace them rather than spend money on repairs.

What do you think?

Unfortunately, I don't have easy access to their house or pool, so if you have any questions, it could take a while for me to get back with answers.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
Pictures of the area that you are describing would be very helpful.

Replace vs repair really depends on the overall condition of the panels. Pictures there could be helpful also.
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
10 years is the typical warranty period on solar panels and life expectancy is up to 20 years. So, you are kind of in the middle there. I would say if there are multiple leaks in multiple panels then more leaks probably aren't far behind. I would lean toward replacing.
 
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