Frequently Asked Questions
Panels may be damaged by freezing when not fully drained.
Protecting your system against freeze damage is important, even in Southwest Florida where we do not experience many freeze events. The best, and only manufacturer approved way to protect FAFCO solar pool heating panels from freeze damage is to completely drain water from panels when temperatures approach freezing. Fafco Solar recommends that Southwest Florida homeowners completely drain solar pool heating panels if temperatures are expected to be below 45°F. Most systems are 100% self-draining, and no action is required except shutting off the system during freeze events.
The types of installations which are most prone to freeze damage are systems that have panels below the pool water level, or systems which have a piping configuration which does not allow for gravity drainage of the water. Some systems that are piped in a manner that does not allow automatic draining are equipped with a manual drain valve. This valve, if present, must be fully opened during freezing conditions. If you wish to operate your circulation pump and filter during freezing conditions, the solar pool heating system should be isolated by closing the isolation valves and bypassing the solar collector loop.
If panels are mounted flat on a roof (or less than 10 degrees of pitch), the manufacturer recommends that the panels are drained by removing the vacuum relief valve and end cap and lifting the panels to fully drain water from the system. Because this procedure involves getting on the roof, you may wish to have Fafco Solar do this work for you, but do not wait until freezing temperatures are imminent!
Note that operating your solar pool heating system during freezing conditions is not an acceptable freeze protection method per the FAFCO manufacturer's warranty.
Panels installed in accordance with the FAFCO installation manual are covered by warranty against freeze damage, but only when the system owner maintains the system consistent with the operator's manual. Proper maintenance includes ensuring that panels are fully drained during freezing conditions. If you have any questions, please contact Fafco Solar before freezing conditions are expected!