Monthly Archives: February 2021

Solar panels – do they have to be cleaned?

In the same way that we maintain the car to keep it working properly, so should we be looking after the solar panels to ensure that they are working efficiently. In the same way that we keep our windows clean, so should we be keeping the solar panels clean.

Common hindrances where solar panels are concerned, are dust, fallen leaves and grime carried by the wind, and bird droppings. A little dust is not a big problem, but it can reduce the efficiency of the solar system. Rain is likely to deal with a little dust reasonably well. But dirty panels will affect the power that your system generates, and this equates to monetary loss as your power bill will show.

Leaves and storm debris on the panels will block the sunlight. And worse than this, are bird droppings. So if you have trees nearby, you will get leaves, and you will get birds. Debris from both will build up over time, and it is important to check this out and get them cleaned on a regular basis.

Scientific tests have compared the yield from solar panels that are cleaned regularly, against those not cleaned. They state a 30% difference in yield.

If you live in an area of high pollution from factories or highways, or near the beach with salt and sand in the air, your panels may collect more build-up than the average house, and cleaning the panels becomes more and more important.

There are people whose job description includes cleaning solar panels. Obviously they have more knowledge about the processes than the average homeowner. But if you decide to clean the panels yourself, there are some tips to help you.

Firstly, keep safe. If it is possible to clean the panels from the ground, stay grounded. Don’t use anything that would scratch the panels, instead use a soft brush, a squeegee blade and sponge, with a long pole, and train your hose onto the panels. Start with just water and rub over with the sponge. If required, use a mild dishwashing detergent. Don’t use a high pressure washer, which may cause damage. And do it on a day which is not too hot, not too cold, not too sunny, and not raining. Too hot, and your hose water will evaporate on the panel quickly, perhaps leaving muddy residue. Too cold, and you won’t have any help from the weather to gradually dry out your panel. Too sunny, and you will be looking skywards and may be blinded by the sun. Obviously, if it’s raining, then the rain will do most of the work.

If you can’t reach the panels from the ground, please think safety first. If you have to go on the roof, it is recommended that you use a safety harness and hard hat. If this is not something you want to do, contact someone who has experience, like solar panel cleaning Canberra, to do the job for you. He will have the safety equipment necessary. You don’t want to injure yourself, or even lose your life, if you try to do it yourself without knowing exactly what you should do.

Organising the mess in your garage

You are not alone. The garage is where the car lives, but usually we don’t spend a lot of time there. We pass through the garage. So the garage is where we put things that we don’t want in the house. And because we don’t have to look at it very often, it just piles up and eventually becomes a mess.

When you’ve grown tired of tripping over the clutter in your garage, it is time to do something about it. Do some planning. Work out what can be culled and what must be kept. Set aside some areas where you can sort out your chaos. It may be better to do this on a fine day, for obvious reasons. Put all the bikes, scooters, skate boards etc in one pile. Other areas can receive your sports equipment, another for tools, gardening, another for toys, ….. whatever your household needs to store. It would be a good idea to keep related equipment together. Then you know exactly where to look for them, rather than rummage over the whole garage. Consider storage options, such as shelving, cupboards, hooks and hangers. Maybe spend some time in the hardware store storage section, and see what it easily available and how it can be used to deal with your particular needs. Remember of course how much space you have.

Consider high storage, so that the car can be parked underneath. Does the garage have rafters? Use them – ladders, surf boards and the ilk can be put up out of the way. Tools can go on hooks in a pegboard, or small tools on a magnetic strip. If you have relegated an old piece of furniture to the garage, put it to good use as a storage space. Make sure that whatever storage systems you use, will still allow room for your vehicle with its doors open. You need enough space to walk around the car. If you have closed cabinet storage, you also need to allow space for their doors to open, so they don’t bump into the car.

Keep things that you will use. Maybe not every day, or every month, but once in a while. But they can be stored on the high shelves, in the back corner. Don’t keep it “in case” you will use it, keep it because you “will” use it. “In case” is not a good reason to keep something. And don’t think you must keep something useless just because someone gave it as a present. Move it on.

One of your sorting piles should be dedicated to the things you can live without. Broken toys, old books/magazines/newspapers, legless chairs, the box the washing machine came in …. You really won’t use it again. If there are things you can do without, but they are still in good condition, someone else may be able to use them. Ask around. Check with a charity. RECYCLE.

But if you find that there is more in the RUBBISH pile than in the RECYCLE pile, you can call in the assistance of a rubbish removal company to cart it all away. They might take away the recycle pile as well, as they know the best ways to deal with those goods.