A Rancho Bernardo man contacted NBC 7 Responds after he said his roof was leaking where his solar panels were installed; the company that installed those panels was not returning his calls.
By Tom Jones and Consumer Bob Published November 22, 2016 Updated on November 22, 2016 at 5:28 pm
A Rancho Bernardo man contacted NBC 7 Responds after he said his roof was leaking where his solar panels were installed; the company that installed those panels was not returning his calls.
Mark Huettinger is all about alternative energy, from his electric cars to the solar panels on his roof.
“I think every home that’s built in San Diego should have a 2-3 kilowatt system,” Mark said.
But Mark thought the solar panels were causing problems inside his home.
“The leak was in the roof and I’ve got one bedroom that has a big stain on the ceiling,” he said.
Mark suspected the solar panel installation nine years ago was causing water to seep into his home, so Mark called Borrego Solar, the company that did the original installation.
“I called for three or four weeks and kept doing that; finally I got an email from somebody saying sorry it took so long for me to get back and then I never heard anything for another week,” Mark said.
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When Mark did talk to someone, he said nothing changed. So his wife suggested he call NBC 7 Responds.
Within days, a Borrego Solar employee contacted Mark and made it clear that they would get to the bottom of the leak.
“He said ‘it doesn’t matter what else is going on, I’m going to remove your panels at no charge and get them put back at no charge, even if it’s not our fault,’” Mark said.
Borrego Solar officials told NBC 7 Responds the company got out of the residential solar business years ago and which is part of the reason no one had gotten back to Mark. The company explained the problem came out of company reorganization and Mark’s calls were simply not being relayed to them.
“No matter what, we were a part of the install and we’re definitely going to be a part of fixing anything that happens,” Borrego Solar Employee David Marks said.
Borrego Solar took off the panels and inspected the roof, to determine the damage.
“They took off one tile and said you’ve got a really big problem here,” Mark said.
Borrego Solar told Mark the solar panels were put on incorrectly the first time so the company offered to make it right.
Mark only had to pay one subcontractor 400, but he says the value of the entire work done by Borrego Solar was probably worth more than 12,000.
“They really stepped up and took care of it,” Mark said.
Borrego Solar said they were sorry for the way Mark was treated at first and made an exception to their own warranty to fix Mark’s roof.
Problems With Solar Panels On Roofs
Solar panels on roofs, whether they are for your pool or for your home, can cause many problems. While they sound nice, let’s look at the disadvantages and issues that may arise when you have solar panels on your roof.
Problems With Pool Solar – Leaking Water On Roof
There is one issue specific to your pool solar system compared to all solar systems. And that is, your solar panels can leak water onto your roof.
When It Can Happen
This can easily happen over time since the small rubber tubes dry out and crack. Also, this can easily happen during the installation process or when people are on the roof.
During the installation process, someone can easily hit a small rubber tube which causes a costly leak. over, if someone were to accidentally step on the tubes, this can again cause a leak.
Detection of Leaks
It is quite common for these leaks to go undetected causing higher in your water bill. For this reason, you should inspect your solar panels yearly.
Damage To The Roof
While water is leaking onto your roof and draining down, your roof gets more worn in these areas. This means you are more likely to get leaks in these areas faster than other areas of your roof.
Final Thoughts on Problems With Pool Solar
You should continuously inspect pool solar panels so you can stop leaks early. Also, you should consider the extra cost on water and wear on your roof from possible leaks.
Issues With All Solar Panels
Now above was just specific to pool solar systems, but what about all solar systems including pool solar?
Solar Panels = Penetrations = Roof Leaks
This one is often overlooked. While most solar companies may claim they leave their installation leak free, leaks will develop over time.
As a purchaser, you will need to understand your roof will need more maintenance and more repairs over time because you have more roof penetrations.
Honestly, as a home inspector, almost every solar panel I have inspected that is 5 years old, has developed leaks.
Removing Re-Installing Panels During Reroofs
Again, another common problem with solar panels that is often overlooked. If you have solar panels installed and say your roof has 10 years of life left, you will have to pay extra to have the solar panels removed and reinstalled.
If you do order solar panels for your roof, be sure to do it after a new roof is installed. (However, it may void your roofing warranty). If not, understand the costs involved for removing them and reinstalling the panels.
Annual Maintenance Inspections
Solar panels are not installed once and then forgotten about. Most manufacturers will recommend yearly inspections. Also, it may be wise to have yearly inspections on your roof.
Having maintenance and inspections on your solar system will enable you to gain more life from the solar panels, and from your roof.
You should think about the budget adjustments you may need if you have to have maintenance and inspections every year.
Not to Mention Technical Issues
There are many technical issues with solar panels that could happen. Some may be more expensive than others.
You should consider warranties that are available, and future costs on replacement parts you may need.
While solar panels on roofs can be more efficient when you do not have enough land, they can cause many unforeseeable problems.
Being fully aware of all all the pros and cons of solar panels can help you make an educated decision. importantly, you may be better understanding of the actual cost savings of solar panels once you factor in the problems with solar panels.
If you are wanting to learn more, we have another blog on solar attic fans you should read.
Solar Will Make Your Roof Leak! This and 6 Other Rooftop Solar Myths
There are many myths Oregon homeowners run into when researching solar. Some of the most persistent solar myths are about how solar can affect your roof.
Green Ridge Solar receives these questions often, and we are dedicated to dispelling the many solar myths we run across. Here are 7 of the most common rooftop solar myths you should beware of.
Solar Will Cause My Roof to Leak
Installing solar on a roof often requires holes to be drilled into the roof. While this might sound scary to a homeowner, the solar industry has extensive experience dealing with roof penetrations. Solar panels installed by professionals will not cause your roof to leak.
To prevent any leaks, special water-tight flashings are installed under the shingles or over the metal sheeting and the bolt holes are sealed with sealant. This eliminates the potential for water to leak into the roof.
If you have a flat roof, a common option to avoid roof penetration is a ballasted roof-mount. Ballasted roof-mounted solar involves installing solar panels on a racking system that is weighed down by concrete blocks.
Thankfully, Green Ridge Solar has a consistent record of successful rooftop solar installs without instances of leaks. Contact us today to learn more.
Solar Panels are Too Heavy for My Roof
Some Oregon homeowners wonder, “Will solar be too heavy for my roof?” The answer is generally no.
In general, solar panels weigh between 30 and 50 pounds. If 20 solar panels weighing 40 pounds each are installed on your roof, that’s 800 pounds. This system would total approximately 350 square feet. 800 pounds divided by 350 square feet comes out to 2.3 pounds per square foot. Most standard roofs are capable of holding 20 pounds per square foot or more.
Roofs are designed and built to withstand great pressure, and solar panels barely come close to their weight limits. Most solar panels are only 1\4 the weight of an average American male, so if solar installers can walk on your roof, solar panels will be no problem.
Of course, it’s important to consider the age and condition of your roof before installing solar. You want to ensure your roof’s structural integrity can hold up to solar panels, which leads us to our next myth.
My Roof is Too Old for Solar
Looks can be deceiving. Some homeowners think their house is too old or too structurally unsound for solar.
The good news is that most houses are great candidates for solar, they might just need a bit of work.
Trustworthy solar companies, like Green Ridge Solar, will physically come to your house to inspect the roof and its underlying structure before we agree to install. If the shingles are getting near or past time for replacement, we will advise the roof be reshingled. If the underlying structure needs reinforcement, we can work with you to ensure the structure will be able to hold up solar panels.
Are you curious if your roof is a good candidate for solar? Contact us today to find out.
My Roof Doesn’t Face South, so I Can’t Get Solar
Solar provides the best energy productivity on south-facing roofs, but that doesn’t mean other roof orientations won’t work with solar.
East- and west-facing roofs are also good candidates for rooftop solar. While such roofs might not have the ideal amount of sun exposure throughout the day, they generally get an average of 20% less sun. This can be easily remedied by adding additional modules to your system.
In some cases, an east- or west-facing roof might be better for your solar installations. Read more in our blog titled “Does Your Roof Need to Face South for Solar Panels?”
Not sure of your roof orientation? Uncertain where your solar panels could go? We can help. Contact Green Ridge Solar today for help.
Solar Panels Won’t Look Good on My Roof
Some homeowners who want to install solar are hesitant because they are concerned how solar panels will look on their roof.
Thankfully, solar technology now allows more options for homeowners who want to install solar. One of these options is to install black-on-black solar panels. These solar panels have a black backing instead of a silver backing, giving the solar panels a sleek and uniform look.
Rodents will Destroy My System
Anytime you have exposed wiring outdoors, it’s important to consider how nature might affect those wires.
One of the major concerns when it comes to solar panel wiring is squirrels. These pesky rodents can get into the nooks and crannies of a house and cause serious damage. However, when it comes to solar panels, squirrels rarely if ever cause problems.
But if you want to be safe and prevent any possibility of squirrels getting under your solar panels, a wire mesh can be installed around the bottom of the solar panels.
Solar Panel Racking will Damage my Shingles
Some homeowners wonder if the addition of solar on their roof will damage their shingles. The opposite is actually true.
Solar panels act as a barrier on your roof, protecting shingles from UV radiation, heat, and other potential elements that could degrade your shingled roof.
Solar will Heat Up my Roof
With the sun beating down on a roof for 8 hours per day, solar panels can get really hot. But do solar panels also heat up your roof?
The simple answer is no, solar panels do not heat up your roof. In fact, solar panels actually keep your roof cool!
Solar panels have a gap between them and the roof. This air gap prevents the transfer of heat from the solar panels and the roof material. So not only do the solar panels produce energy, they also reduce the amount of energy you need to cool your home!
If you are interested in learning more about solar and how you can start generating your own electricity, contact Green Ridge Solar today!
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Drilling 54 holes in the south roof could be source of frustration.
By Daniel Morrison | February 4, 2010
Alaska Builder Faces an Insulating Dilemma
Our latest Question of the Week comes from a homeowner in New Jersey. Monica is uncertain of the best way to insulate the roof of a new second-story addition on her Cape Cod home. She wonders whether it’s wise to insulate directly under the roof sheathing — especially since the mounting system for her photovoltaic array requires 54 holes to be drilled in her asphalt shingle roof.
Monica wrote, “Is spraying the roof deck with foam going to increase the possibility of a major problem down the road if a leak should develop? There will be 54 holes drilled for the solar mounting system, and even though the installer assures me they won’t leak….well….of course they will say that!”
Robert Riversong pointed out that it makes sense to bring her attic inside the home’s thermal envelope — especially since she has a furnace in the attic.
Martin Holladay pointed out that there are mounting systems available for standing-seam metal roofs that don’t require roof penetrations.
John Brooks reminded Monica that it will be expensive to dismantle the solar array when her shingles wear out.
To read Monica’s question and all of the responses it generated, see “Insulation options are of concern with solar panels.”
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12 Комментарии и мнения владельцев
homedesign | Feb 09, 2010 10:56am | #1 Twice as Many Members Agree as of today. 67% agree that Compact Insulated Roof assemblies are more problematic and should probably be vented to avoid problems! Do you realize that we are taliking about 2 out of every 3 members! 😉 voting members
homedesign | Feb 09, 2010 11:37am | #2 Surge in Voting A recent surge in voting is swinging towards non-vented
homedesign | Feb 10, 2010 12:06pm | #3 OK, Sorry about the joking around Consider a hypothetical. there is only a 2% chance that a penetration might leak. If there are 54 fasteners. what are the odds that at least one fastener/penetration leaks? of course I am just making up the 2% number
neutral_grey | Oct 18, 2022 05:06pm | #12 that would be 98%^54 = 34% chance that the roof does not leak. Your 2% figure is must be very high, or these installation methods would never be used. BUT it certainly shouldn’t be zero. I’m likely going to go standing seam on my new roof for this exact reason; but nothing is prefect. Note for the OP. using a belt an suspenders approach is always a good idea. for example there might be ways to add or adjust flashing to divert the majority of water runnof at the locations of fasteners. But, FWIW, any holes would make me very nervous, too.
Whetstone Green | Feb 13, 2010 11:54am | #4 apples and oranges I don’t see what one has to do with the other. How does spraying the roof deck increase the likelihood of a leak? As mentioned by John, I would be more concerned about the difficulty (and higher cost) of future roof repairs. The decision as to whether to encapsulate the attic comes down to cost vs. potential energy savings. Closing an existing vented roof can be expensive. The ceiling insulation must be removed and the roof vent system closed. And if the roof extends over a porch or garage, that portion should be blocked off, otherwise you’ll have to seal off and insulate a larger area than necessary. It’s important to align the air barrier with the thermal boundary. In order to calculate potential savings, it’s necessary to estimate how much energy that particular HVAC system (presumably there is more than one) contributes to the overall energy bill. It would be reasonable to expect encapsulation would save 10% to 15% of that system’s operating costs. The percentage would be higher in mid winter and mid summer, and less in milder weather. Finally, don’t confuse conducted heat loss with duct leakage. The latter typically represents a bigger loss and is much less expensive to fix.
Martin Holladay | Feb 15, 2010 05:20am | #5 The likelihood of a leak Whetstone, You’re right — spraying foam against the roof sheathing does not increase the likelihood of a leak. However, it complicates leak detection and leak location, leading many to worry that a small leak might cause sheathing rot before it is detected.
user-797100 | Feb 27, 2010 11:11pm | #6 Insulated Roof deck with a few inches plenum to vent I thought an insulated roof deck can be vented by creating a suspended plenum on top of the roof deck. perhaps a little additional material for an extra layer sheathing and some 2X purlin. But you get both insulated attic and roof venting. Isn’t that what the 1st PH in IL did?
Martin Holladay | Feb 28, 2010 06:04am | #7 Venting roof sheathing Harry, You’re right, or course. It’s possible to build a ventilated insulated roof with the vent channel on top of the roof sheathing. Such a design usually requires a second layer of sheathing, unless you use metal roofing.
Carl Mezoff | Aug 26, 2010 02:16pm | #8 Replaceing shingles under solar panels While it is true that it will be difficult to re-shingle under the solar panels, the need to do is also likely to be much less. After 30 years, I had to re-shingle my house (built during the Carter administration) and was faced with this very question. Getting up close to my Revere Solar panels, I was able to see that the asphalt shingles (Timberline) under the panels were as good as new. So, we just re-shingled around them. for another thirty years of life (I hope). After 60 years, it may be time to replace the solar panels anyway. The panels do a good job of protecting the underlying shingles from ultra violet insult and most other weathering influences, so the life of the shingles is likely to approach that of the panels above.
Robert Jhon | Oct 18, 2010 09:40am | #9 Will Solar Panel Mounts Cause Roof Leaks? Yes it is right to Solar Panel Mounts Cause Roof Leaks.But it can be prevented this not a bigg issue.here i give you some suggestion to you First is to pack the whole is very carefully.another most important things is Typically, there are four options: aluminum, stainless steel, angle iron and wood. Which of these materials you choose will depend on your budget and your location. For example, aluminum is lightweight, making it easy to shape and weld. In addition, it is hardwearing and will resist corrosion. However, it can be an expensive option. Thanks
Anonymous | Oct 18, 2010 08:18pm | #10 Will solar panel mounting cause roof leaks. No leaks will be caused by a properly done solar installation. A holed drilled for a mounting will be filled by the bolt or screw. Plus a sealing compound is used as well. A flashing can be installed also. Three mechanisms to cover the hole. So how is water to get in? Hire a reputable installer. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra.
Doug | Nov 24, 2010 10:38pm | #11 My mounts leak, but they dry out because the attic is open I used pretty good practice when mounting my PV array on aluminum racking. Drilled pilot holes, filled them with polyurethane caulk, added a wad of folded butyl tape under the feet, and a litte piece of coil stock tucked under the tab above, to push the water out of the way. There are other ways to go, but this is what professional solar companies around here doI see their installs on houses we work on. I think they omit the poly and the flashing actually, but I see the butyl under the feet. That was seven years ago. This summer I noticed some black staining around two of the holes, they are definitely leaking. But the wood is dry and sound (at least for now), and I was able to stumble upon the issue, because the roof deck is exposed. The spray foam your rafters idea is decent but risky. Adding vent/drain channels is a minimum requirement IMHO. At least that way you have a chance with these intermittent, minor leaks.