If you’ve had a solar pumping system for more than a year, you may be acquainted with the possible pains of the piercing cold of winter temperatures and its relationship with your water pumping system. Preparation for the winter weather ahead can make a significant difference in ensuring your solar pumping system operates with maximum efficiency.
There are many other ways to prevent busted pipes due to freezing. We encourage you to take the precautions that fit your situation:
- Keep the pipes deep underground
- Insulate the well or tank
- Winterizing the solar pumping system until the weather warms up.
Here are some more tips to help prepare for the winter season, and even things to do after to maintain performance.
Change the angles on solar panels to increase the amount of sunlight a solar panel can capture, and therefore the amount of energy it can provide. An appropriate angle for a solar panel is your location’s latitude plus 15 degrees.
For example, Oklahoma is at 35.5 degrees north, so the ideal solar panel angle is 50.5 degrees. Try one of the many longitude and latitude maps online to identify your ideal angle position.
Apply a weep hole to pipes. A weep hole is a small opening below the frost level that allows water to drain freely from the pipes when the solar pump shuts off at night or during very low light conditions. Without the weep hole, the pipe can trap water when the solar pump is not running, which can freeze as temperatures drop. This can burst the pipes, due to the water’s expansion within the pipe, and they’ll need to be thawed or replaced. All of this can damage your pump. When the pump turns on in the morning and works against the restriction, it can damage or ruin the pump entirely.
Set the pipes at an angle from the wellhead to the tank that allows the water to completely drain. There shouldn’t be any low areas or loops in the piping, as this will prevent water from becoming trapped or creating an ice plug. Also, the delivery pipe cannot be in the water in the tank.
The delivery pipe to the tank should not face due north against the bitter winter wind. This can cause the water to freeze in the delivery pipe at a much faster rate. Consider placing an elbow on the delivery pipe and turning it down toward the tank to prevent the wind from blowing upward into the pipe.
Clear off fresh snow. Seems simple enough, right? Sunlight can be scarce and blotted out by the clouds during the winter months, but nothing is worse than premium sunshine finally showing itself and realizing your solar panels are hidden under a layer of snow. It only takes a few seconds to grab a push broom and keep the snow cleared, but this simple routine maintenance can do a lot of good.
It is important to us at Advanced Power Inc. that our customers are happy and that their solar powered water pumping systems are free of any trouble and inconveniences. Please take the necessary measures to protect your solar pump system from this winter season by following the tips above, so that when you need water, you’ll have it.