I recently got a phone call from a Real Estate Agent that went like this:
Agent: I just had a home inspection and my home inspector said there are solar panels and I should get them inspected.
Me: Ok, is there a particular issue?
Agent: Well, they’re connected to pool, or something, and we’re not sure they work.
Me: So they are pool solar heater panels and not electric solar panels?
Agent: I am not sure.
What became obvious from this phone call is the inspector in question did not know what to look for when coming across solar panels. At IM Home Inspections, I have taken the time to seek out special training on solar panels.
3 Types of Solar Panels
Commonly, solar panels come in three varieties:
- Electrical solar panels, that produce electricity for the home.
- Pool solar panels that heat pool water.
- Water heater panels that heat water to supplement a home’s water heater.
Inspecting electric solar panels is complex, because it does not just include inspecting the physical panels on the roof. It requires inspecting the attic and inspecting the electrical system of the home as well. This is why it is best to inspect the solar panels as part of a general home inspection so all the components can be examined during the home inspection. Inspecting electric solar panels as a separate inspection essentially requires a full home inspection be done.
Inspecting pool solar panels requires inspecting the visible pool plumbing system and pool pumps and checking for leaks in the system.
Solar water heaters are more simple, as they are usually a small panel connected to a supplemental water heater tank via copper pipes.
As solar panels become more and more common in the Los Angles area, it is important to hire a home inspector who understands solar panels and is willing to inspect them as part of home inspection process.
If you are buying a home in The San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Conejo Valley, or a surrounding area of Los Angeles, and the home has solar panels, be sure to call IM Home Inspections for your home inspection needs so that your panels are inspected right the first time!
Note: Questions about the average or maximum output of a system, energy efficiency of the system, or the potential money savings of a system is beyond the scope of an inspection and should be referred to the company that installed the system.