Solar modules need to be treated carefully for a longer lifespan like any other device. While quality solar panels ensure smooth and unobstructed work, some customers still encounter such a problem as roof leaks after installing solar modules. It is important to note that roof leak is not directly related to the solar system in most cases. The top reasons for the leak are mainly roof-based ranging from old roof condition, incompatible roof type, prior roof damage, improperly installed vents and others that have nothing to do with the solar panel itself.
Let’s discuss the most common causes of roof leaks and actions against them one by one.
Problem 1: Incompatible Roof type or Old Roof Condition
Even if most roof types can successfully accommodate solar modules, some roofs are better compatible with the solar system than others. For example, asphalt shingles are better recommended for solar panel installation than clay tiles or flat, lightweight tiles.
Besides the roof type, roof age is also an essential factor you should glance at before switching to solar. Old roofs are not compatible with solar, and if during site evaluation the specialists note that your roof is aged, they will advise you to re-roof.
Solution 1: Re-roof before installation
Switching to solar is a multi-stage process from pre-installation to post. What a perfect solar installation company will do is that they will pre-calculate and estimate the risks of installing panels on your roof and either will work on it or will suggest a reroofing to make it more solar-friendly. That’s why it is crucial to find an all-in-one-service solar installation company just because their licensed installers will do the roofing in the best and most appropriate way for the solar installation.
Solution 1.2: Partial Reroofing
The reason that homeowners shy from the re-roof is that it is costly. Since going green is widely supported in the US, some solar companies in the US also suggest partial roof repair, that is, to do the roofing exclusively on the part where the solar modules should be applied. If the modules are not going to take up the whole surface of your roof, then partial reroofing is also passable.
Final Decision: If the homeowner does not agree to the roof replacement or partial reroofing and insists on installing the panels on the original roof, then the solar company and the homeowners sign a roof waiver agreement. It follows that the company doesn’t take any liability for the potential damage to the roof because the homeowners have been appropriately notified about the potential risks before.
Problem 2: Compatible roof, poor installation
It is not always the roof to be blamed for the leak. Let’s discuss the situation where your roof is not old and the roof type is compatible with solar; in a word, you have a solar-friendly roof, but roof leaks still come as an unwelcome guest. Inadequate research and quick decisions can lead to picking an unprofessional solar company with negligent installers. Homeowners are aware that the installers drill holes into the rafter to place the solar cells, and these holes are of no damage if adequately sealed. However, poor installation does not ensure that the holes will be sealed in the correct way. In this case, the roof leak is correlated to the poor installation of panels and not the solar cells themselves.
Solution 2: If poor installation caused a roof leak, immediately contact your solar company and report the problem. The good news is that some solar companies suggest a warranty that protects a product against defects or solves the problems faulty modules can entail. This warranty ranges from 5,10, or 25 years from company to company.
If the site evaluation finds out that the leak is caused by defective solar cells, they will repair the defect at no cost.
But wait, can my solar company charge me to repair the roof after the leak?
The answer is YES! They can. This is why solar companies hire specialists for site assessment. There are cases when the installation of the panels and the roof leak coincide and there is no need to do a thorough examination to understand that coincidence. Sometimes, the specialists register that the leak is in such roof parts where solar cells are not even inverted. In this case, seek another reason that could have entailed such a situation.
To conclude, we can say that it happens once in a blue moon that the roof leak is caused by defective solar cells. It is more common that the leak after the panel installation occurs because of poor installation or an old, incompatible roof.
Choosing the right solar company will prevent you from getting into such troubles by providing well-measured pre-calculations and risk management, proper installation and warranty.