Home' The Bunyip : October 28th 2015 Contents "THE BUNYIP" GAWLER, Wednesday, October 28, 2015 Page 23
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Time for a solar panel check-up
SOLAR panels are a godsend for those
keen on cheap electricity bills and who
care for the environment.
But while most modern panels are known
for their durability, almost all will require a
clean every now and again, and all need
regular check-ups to ensure they are
performing as planned.
Town & Country Solar owner Mick Flak said
there are two aspects to consider when
maintaining your roof solar panels -- safety
Carried out by qualified professionals, a
quick performance check can be done
annually, while a complete safety check-up
can be done every two years.
"A system check really involves a visual
inspection and then digging into the
electrical connections and making sure
they are not compromised at all, or that
the weather-proofing of equipment is not
compromised, " Mr Flak said.
"Obviously, water and electricity don't mix
so it's quite important all those aspects are
" ...A lot of systems are warranted for a DC
(direct current) rating performance over
time, and, unless that's actually checked,
you wouldn't know how well your system is
actually performing," Mr Flak said.
Every now and again, panels can be
affected by a noticeable build-up of grime,
from dust or bird droppings.
A simple clean can be carried out by the
homeowner using just water and a bit of
elbow grease, but it's important to know
when to call in the professionals for safety's
"A lot of time, you just wipe them down
with warm water, " Mr Flak said.
"Chemicals aren't generally a good idea
because a lot of people have a rainwater
catchment facility and you don't want any
of that stuff ending up in your rainwater
"But, unless you've got a harness and
proper safety equipment, it's not a good
idea to be on a wet roof."
Mr Flak warns many companies offer a
solar-panel cleaning service, but not all are
qualified or capable of doing a complete
safety/performance check as needed.
"Unfortunately, there are people who
use solar-panel cleaning people and that
really only takes care of part of the
maintenance -- it doesn't take care of
any of the safety aspects of running
a system long term, " he said.
"So if you do have your panels
cleaned, you should have a full safety
inspection with it, and that safety
inspection should be detailed, as
far as the performance of each module for
light levels, the degradation and the actual
ongoing performance. "
With the summer sun on its way, there is no
time better than now to get ahead on your
NOTICING a fresh crack in your
wall or ceiling can be frustrating,
especially if you already have a
few about the home.
The good news is that most cracks are
superficial and take little expertise or
effort to repair.
One of the most common causes of
cracking is the movement or settling of
the earth beneath the house -- so it's
not uncommon to have a lot of cracking
occur within the first couple of years after
a fresh build.
Cracks can also occur with minor
earthquakes or vibrations, such as from
slamming a door.
Moisture can also lead to plasterboard
bowing and eventually cracking.
In the case of minor cracks, where the
crack in the plasterboard is only a few
millimetres wide, repair is fairly simple
and can usually be carried out by the
Gaps can be filled with plaster paste, a
special joint compound or putty, found
at local hardware stores, and then,
once dry, sanded down to re-create the
It may be necessary to repeat the
process a couple of times to ensure the
larger cracks are completely repaired and
The area can then be repainted.
Most commercially available fillers
provide a protective film and help prevent
similar cracks from occurring again.
When cracks are quite large, there may
be a bit more effort required for repair.
You will need to remove any debris or
dust from the crack before you can apply
the putty, and you may need patching
tape, to ensure the patching has enough
to stick to.
There's no exact method for determining
how serious a wall crack is without
hiring an expert to examine the area, so
it might be best to call one in if you are
As a general guide, if the crack is
horizontal or runs at a jagged 45-degree
angle, it might mean there's a more
serious problem lurking, such as severe
foundation shifting or water damage.
A professional may need to carry out
some reconstruction work before the
crack can be repaired.
If moisture is the cause of cracking, then
the source of the moisture needs to be
This may mean some extensive repairs,
but it could also be as simple as opening
more windows and making use of
Most minor cracks can be repaired by the
Annoying wall cracks an easy ﬁx
Solar panels need to be checked occasionally
to make sure they are performing as well as
Enjoy a lazy
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