Solar heater repair.....

bigjoe6089

New member
May 20, 2008
3
Neighbor gave us a solar heater last year that you set on your garage roof or the ground and run your discharge hoses to it. The only problem is it was cut before we got it and leaks. It's made of plastic or PVC and I cannot get anything to stick to it for long. :grrrr: I've tried PVC Cement, epoxy, that gunk for under water, nothing seems to hold. Even tried putting the stuff on cloth patches but it still keeps peeling up and leaking eventually. :scratch: Any ideas for a permanent patch for it?

Thanks,

Joe
 

HarryH3

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2008
326
Central Texas
It's probably made of polyethylene. The only way that I've found to repair that stuff is to have it welded. It takes a special tool that heats both surfaces and a plastic filler rod at the same time. The filler rod melts to the crack and fills it solid. I had a poly snowmobile gas tank fixed that way many years ago. I found the shop that could do it in the yellow pages, under something like plastic fabrication. Try calling around to see if someone in your area has the expertise and equipment to do the job correctly for you.
 

Antares

Active member
Apr 11, 2008
26
UhhhHiya
What is the manufacturer? The FAFCO panels have a 10 year warranty on them.

I had one that came with the house. It had some sort of epoxy patch on it that not only leaked, but shut down a good portion of the flow. I tossed it and bought a new one.
 

tphaggerty

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 27, 2007
218
Poughquag, NY
Depending on the panel, you can just cap off the cut tubes and use the rest. You can cap off the damaged tubes using a stainless steel screw. Coat the screws with caulk and screw them in all the way. Obviously, you have to cap both ends of the tube for this to work.
 

Likesspace

Active member
May 10, 2008
26
Illinois
Hopefully I'm not too late to help you out here.....
I have had several leaks on my panels over the past few years and here's what I do. It has worked well for me so hopefully it will help you out.
At the very edge of the solar panel there should be a "half tube". This is where the section was sheared from the factory and serves no purpose whatsoever.
Take a razor knife and cut a small piece of this half tube off. It doesn't need to be very large but be careful not to get into the adjoining tube in the panel.
Once you have this little piece you can use your plumbing torch to heat it up on the end of a wood handle knife or large flat blade screwdriver and once it liquifies just smear it over the cut place on the panel.
I usually heat the knife up fairly hot and make sure that I also melt a little of the tube on each side of the split or cut. That way you are actually joining the patch material to the tube material.
Since the patch material is of the same material as the panel this works really well and in essence you are welding it without the special tools a previous post mentioned.
Of course the panel does have to be completely dry for this to work. I usually put two or three coats over the crack or cut and then immediately fire up the panels. So far this has worked perfectly for me since the material is as good as it will get once it has set up.
Hope this information helps and gets your solar heater going. These things really help a LOT as far as heating the pool.
Dave
 

brakes

LifeTime Supporter
May 24, 2008
30
Likesspace said:
Hopefully I'm not too late to help you out here.....
So far this has worked perfectly for me since the material is as good as it will get once it has set up.
Hope this information helps and gets your solar heater going. These things really help a LOT as far as heating the pool.
Dave
Thanks Dave,
found a pinhole today, searched the forum, worked like a charm, i got a lil pen type torch, and cut a long strip of it, heated up the end till it was on fire then blew it out, and quickly melded into the crack... sealed tight...
Grateful for the information, seemed like the fafco plug thing might, but i'll 'stick' to this cure for now...

thanks
Evan
 

gonefishin

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 5, 2007
414
Joliet, Il.
Hi Evan :) Glad the repair went well for you! I also just got my solar heater hooked up and since then I managed to get two holes in the panel (don't ask! :twisted: ). I tried Dave's suggestion for both repairs. On the smaller one it worked like a charm. But I wasn't so lucky on the second hole. So I turned everything off...disconnected, drained, let dry and did the repair again. The hole was still too large for the repair to work. So, without disconnecting or draining I used the Fafco repair kit with the plugs. This also worked like a charm and there was little down time.

Having used both methods I wouldn't hesitate to order a repair kit from Fafco. In the future I plan to use Dave's repair method first. But if that doesn't work, if the hole is too big, it's nice to know that I have the Fafco repair kit which will work every time. You may never end up using the repair kit. But just imagine...you have a slightly larger hole in one of the tubes and it's near the end of the swimming season with plenty of sun. You'll be waiting for UPS to deliver the repair kit :(


happy swimming!
dan
 

catchyoulater

Active member
Apr 26, 2010
32
West Hollywood, CA
I had my solar panel in operation for two years all year round (am in Southern California, so no freeze situation to worry about) however at the end of the swimming season 2011 it sprung some leaks and it was my fault. It slipped off the rack and the bottom was cut by some nails in the rack that were sticking out. I did order that Fafco repair kit, but it seems like a lot of trouble and it seems I have a few leaks on that backside.

So, I was wondering if anyone ever tried using spray-on rubberized undercoat for cars on these? I was looking at a product called Herculiner, but one guy tried to use it on his kayak (ok, not an approved use but neither is a solar panel repair job!) and found it peeled off because his kayak was Polyethylene. I know that the Fafco panels are polyolefin, which is a version of Polyethylene -- so figured that wouldn't work. However this kayak guy found that a 3m spray-on rubberized undercoat for cars did the trick on his kayak. So I was wondering if it might work on the solar panel? It sure will be easier to spray this on the back wherever I think the leaks are.

What do you all think?

~Patrice
 

X-PertPool

TFP Expert
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
1,385
Exeter, PA
Re:

Likesspace said:
Hopefully I'm not too late to help you out here.....
I have had several leaks on my panels over the past few years and here's what I do. It has worked well for me so hopefully it will help you out.
At the very edge of the solar panel there should be a "half tube". This is where the section was sheared from the factory and serves no purpose whatsoever.
Take a razor knife and cut a small piece of this half tube off. It doesn't need to be very large but be careful not to get into the adjoining tube in the panel.
Once you have this little piece you can use your plumbing torch to heat it up on the end of a wood handle knife or large flat blade screwdriver and once it liquifies just smear it over the cut place on the panel.
I usually heat the knife up fairly hot and make sure that I also melt a little of the tube on each side of the split or cut. That way you are actually joining the patch material to the tube material.
Since the patch material is of the same material as the panel this works really well and in essence you are welding it without the special tools a previous post mentioned.
Of course the panel does have to be completely dry for this to work. I usually put two or three coats over the crack or cut and then immediately fire up the panels. So far this has worked perfectly for me since the material is as good as it will get once it has set up.
Hope this information helps and gets your solar heater going. These things really help a LOT as far as heating the pool.
Dave

cool idea, I wonder if you could heat up a metal syringe and inject it right into the damaged area.