FAFCO Solar Pool Heating Panels Leaking

If you find your FAFCO brand solar pool heating panels leaking, it may be time to upgrade to a newer solar panel design. We service a lot of solar panels from FAFCO that have tube weld leaks in Southwest Florida. These leaks occur frequently on tile roofs where the weld is compromised by the panel being bent over the rounded crown of the tile. These panels were mostly installed in the years 2004 to 2012, and are have been failing at an alarming rate. The Revolution and Sunsaver brands have shown to have this particular problem shown in the video below.

If your FAFCO solar panels were installed without an aluminum racking structure and/or substrate, you may be experiencing frustrating leak issues. While many panels installed with racking and substrate may not exhibit these issues, many do. Once the leaks start to occur, you may have repeated service calls to deal with water coming off your roof and your pool water level dropping. Some systems seems to be more susceptible to these issues. If you are one of the unlucky owners, we recommend carefully evaluating whether you want to keep incurring service costs or if it is time to move on and look into a different panel design that is more durable on tile roofs.

The quick fix to these tube weld leaks is to plug the affected tubes. This will not significantly impact panel heating performance, as there are many tubes per panel. Attempting to repair a panel using any method other than a proper panel plug will not work and may render the panel completely unusable. We recommend you contact an experienced solar professional for repair services.

Repairing leaks is a simple service call. However, you may find constant leaks to be an annoyance that you are not willing to endure. We also have many seasonal residents in Southwest Florida, and these issues are often found by neighbors, pool service companies, and home watch services. We recommend that you shut down and isolate your solar pool heater when away from home for an extended period of time.

Other leaks that may occur with FAFCO solar pool heating panels include:

  • Panel header splits and pinhole leaks.
  • FAFCO Revolution dimple leaks
  • Tube pinhole leaks
  • Sub-header weld leaks
  • Abrasion leaks
  • Tube weld leaks on panel edges due to obstructions
  • Coupling leaks (not technically a panel issue)

iSwim tube & web design has no welded tubes where leaks can occur.

You can avoid these kinds of solar panel leaks with a tube-and-web panel design that does not weld tubes directly together. The webbing between the tubes is extruded in one piece with the tubes, creating no welded connection that can leak. Tube-and-web panels are much more flexible laterally and can more easily conform to roofing surfaces that are not flat. In addition, zip joints in our iSwim solar panels at 12 inch intervals provide additional flexibility.

It’s true that all solar pool heating panels can leak, and eventually all solar panels will exceed their useful life and deteriorate to the point that replacement is needed. This should not happen for a long time — at least until the warranty period is exceeded. However, some installation technique deficiencies and panel failures are more common based on panel design, materials, manufacturing techniques, and installer error. The most common FAFCO leaks are due to a combination of the welded tube design and installation errors. It’s our goal to address all of these issues through selection of a panel design that is more durable, and installation methods that address common solar pool heating panel leak causes.

An iSwim solar pool heating system on a tile roof is designed to avoid leaks from uneven surfaces.

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