So you’ve been considering getting solar panels installed on your home. Maybe you’re pretty far advanced in the process, or maybe you’re in early stages of this project, but there’s a few things you need to know before you make a final decision on this major home improvement.
1. Ask Questions
Hopefully you’ve got, or are going to get, several estimates on your panels and their installation. Make sure to ask how the panels will be mounted, and what kind of warranty the company provides against roof leaks that may spring up after installation.
Also find out if there’s a cost to have the panels removed for roof servicing down the road.
2. Have Your Roof Inspected
The solar contractors will look over the roof, and if there’s obvious damage or defects they will see it and mention it to you, but solar contractors often aren’t licensed roofing contractors, and so they may miss things that a roofer would notice. You might also want to pay to have an independent roofing contractor provide a written inspection report before installation so that any damages possibly caused by the installation can’t be pawned off as preexisting damage.
3. Consider Roof Replacement Prior to Solar Installation
This one is a major consideration, but one you should put serious thought into. If you’re roof has an average lifespan of 25 years, and is currently 20 years old but in great shape, it might be a good idea to consider replacement no rather than later. A reroof without panels is an everyday job for a roofing contractor, but after panels are installed it’s a whole new level of complexity. Either the solar company have to remove all the panels and brackets (depending on how they’re installed) or they have to be worked around. But either way, it’s much easier (and thus usually cheaper for you) to do a roof install before solar.
Depending on your roof, you may not be anywhere needing a new roof, but don’t forget to do your regular maintenance before the solar installation, because even simple things become more tedious and time consuming (expensive to the homeowners) once panels are involved.
4. Mounting Panels on Flat Roofs
Most solar companies know this, but it wouldn’t hurt to request it; ask that your panels be mounted off the roof. If you have a flat roof on your home, the panels can often (although not always) be mounted on metal beams that span the width of the roof and rest on the parapet wall. Mounting the panels in this manner can reduce the chance of them directly causing a leak by about 90%.
Unfortunately, this option isn’t available on pitched roofs (shingles, tile, slates, etc) because of the way the roof is built. If you have a flat roof though, I would definitely recommend this route.
Solar panels are a great investment for many homeowners, they reduce you’re electricity consumption, and they can save you lots of money, but you can’t forget that they’re most often installed on the roof of the home, and a roofing contractor should be consulted before or during the process for your protection and piece of mind.
Click here to contact us if you’d like a roof inspection prior to your panel installation