10 tips for avoiding the solar thermal cowboys
Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 10 December 2010 at 1:04 pm
If you're thinking of some solar thermal panels for Christmas, here's our video of 10 top tips to help you find a good installer (with a transcript for those who prefer to read):
1. Make sure that the installer looks at the condition of your roof on the inside and outside.
2. They should also look at your cylinder to confirm that it can be changed, and the new cylinder is satisfactory and that it will fit. And at all areas between the cylinder and the roof.
3. They should also be asking questions about your hot water usage and patterns.
4. Never sign up on the day. Most of the problems in the industry come from high pressure sales techniques. It's very hard to get any service from them once you've paid you're money.
We never give a price on the day. We do the survey and go away and work out what the system would be and what it will cost.
Much of the bad press is about companies who insist on payment there and then on the day, and give you price drops to entice you in. In my experience, even when the price drops get to their lowest level, they are still astronomically high, so signing up on the day is not recommended.
5. Always get two to three quotes.
6. Ensure that they've taken everything you say into consideration as every installation is different.
7. There are quite a few sales companies that are purely sales companies, they don't have their own installers. They will sell you a system, then farm it out for the cheapest price. So speak to previous customers and get recommendations.
8. You can get a quote online, but it won't be based on fact. You need to look at a site before you can give a real price. You also need to check who the people who will be doing the installation are before they come tramping through your house.
9. Look out for people putting in big collectors and small cylinders. It looks good because you always have a tank of hot water, but it makes the system inefficient, so do your homework.
10. The average installation takes at least two days - a day of roofwork, and a day for all the pipework and changing the cylinder.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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