FAFCO solar panel tube repair? (repost, didn't work first time)

contraptionSeptember 11, 2010

I've got an 8-year-old FAFCO solar panel (pool) installation with a leaking tube (or two, or three).

Anyone had any luck repairing these themselves? Any tips to share?

Thanks!

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poolguynj

When the tubes leak, all you can do is plug the offending tube with a stainless screw near the pipe ends. I have yet to find a glue that would hold an over sized piece of tubing fitted as a coupling to cover the hole.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:02AM
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contraption

Thanks Scott. I've run across a repair plug kit on the web - looks interesting, but doesn't use any adhesives. It seems that the plugs just press fit into the tubes at the header. Kind of expensive though, a stainless screw sounds like an economical way to go.

http://shop.solardirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=139

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:23PM
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keithw

I have Falco panels as well and have plugged a number of holes with epoxy. It works fine and I have some patches that have been on it for years.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 7:19AM
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azbabs

kiethw what type of epoxy are you using to plug the holes? I'm in phoenix and the summer heat is wicked on my poor solar system. We have plugged a lot of leaks, but hate that you lose that tube for heating/summer cooling.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 5:36PM
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keithw

Just standard two part epoxy from a box shop. They are $5.00ish a tube. Mix a small batch and smooth it over the hole. If it is leaking from both sides, do the top and bottom. Works like a champ. I have at least 5-8 of them on my three panels.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 7:24AM
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serickson28_yahoo_com

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I used the two part Plastic epoxy from ACE and it worked. Dealer wanted $125 to come out and fix.

It was a little messy. So don't try and be pretty with it. Use it all and do good coverage.

Best of luck and thank you all.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 6:59PM
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contraption

Following up my original post. I tried the epoxy approach first, but that failed after a few weeks.

I finally just bought the "Fafco clone repair kit" from Solar Direct http://shop.solardirect.com/product_info.php?products_id=139

Took me 10 minutes to plug the top and bottom of 3 tubes. Worked like a charm!

The Solar Direct website looks pretty dubious, but the kit was delivered fast and worked great. I also spoke to them on the phone and they were friendly and helpful. The website description implies that it only works on smaller Fafco panels, but it did work fine on my larger, roof-mounted panels (14' long) with the 2.5" header tubes. I do recommend respecting the "2-inch from header" dimension on the instructions - that way you have a chance of actually getting two plugs into the tube back to back if necessary. If you get too close you'll only have space for 1 plug.

Though more expensive, this looks like the right long-term repair approach, but you have very little to lose by trying the epoxy trick first.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fafco solar panel repair kit

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 8:26PM
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