Here are some essential questions you should ask your solar hot water installer before your system is put in
How many collectors are needed for my home and why?
Make sure you understand how your installer determined the number and size of collectors needed for your home. Most installers base the number of collectors on the number of bedrooms or people living in a home.
Will my system include remote monitoring?
Many solar hot water systems are installed with internet connected monitoring. This allows the homeowners and the installers to monitor performance of the system and identify any issues early. Talk to your installer about whether this is a good option for you.
What is the installation price and what incentives are available?
Make sure that you understand upfront who will apply for any incentives that you are pursuing and when you need to apply (before or after installation).
What annual costs can I expect (such as regular maintenance or parts)?
MassCEC suggests that you have your solar hot water system inspected every one to two years. Ask if your installer performs routine maintenance or if they have someone that they recommend.
How far in advance can we plan the installation and how long does the installation process last?
Be sure to communicate if you have particular time constraints and get a sense when your installer will be available to do the installation. Summer is the busiest time of the year for solar hot water installers and many installers have some delays during the summer season.
What should I do to prepare for the installation?
Make sure you understand from your installer if there is anything you need to do to prepare to have them working in your home.
Do you provide a warranty for the systems you install? What are the different warranty options?
Make sure you have a sense of what is covered by any warranty offered by your contractor. Some warranties cover labor, some cover the equipment, and some cover both.
What relevant training, certifications, and licenses does your team have? Can you provide references from previous customers?
As with any home improvement project, it is important to ensure that your installer has the right training and a good track record with past customers.
Will you hire subcontractors to complete portions of the project? If so, what will they do? What are the names of these companies and how long have you worked with them?
Many solar hot water installers sub-contract the plumbing work.
Will you provide training for me on how to properly operate and maintain the system?
Solar hot water systems are relatively simply to operate, but there are a few differences compared to other hot water systems, and your installer should be a good educational resource.
Talk to your installer about scheduling an annual to bi-annual maintenance check to make sure that everything is running smoothly.
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