Solar energy has become rather popular in the US, with nearly two million solar households that are currently registered. This popularity is only expected to rise in the years to come. Thus, it’s important to discuss matters such as fire safety. When it comes to fire safety and solar, what homeowners need to know is that although solar systems are pretty safe, there are still some dangers to consider.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about solar systems and fire safety and make sure your home is protected.
What Causes Solar Panel Fires?
Every system involving electricity carries, to some extent, potential fire risks. Solar panels are no different. When fires involving solar panels do happen, they pose an increased threat to both homeowners and firefighters. But it is important to mention that these fires are not very common.
In most cases, component defects, faulty installation, and design flaws are the main causes of solar system fires. These issues can cause arcs between hot spots or conductors, which can then ignite any flammable materials nearby.
The most common type of mistakes that cause fires concern isolator switches. Sometimes, companies install AC isolator switches in DC circuits. The wrong type of switch causes a build-up of heat within it. The heat then quickly leads to a fire. Another common mistake is the absence of a switch altogether.
Can You Prevent a Fire?
Whatever its cause, a fire can be avoided if the solar providers and suppliers are reliable and have a lot of experience. If a solar company has a good track record and great experts working on panel installation, the possibility of errors is rather small.
It is important to ask for a certificate of quality of the panels before the installation, as an independent party often issues it. You should also do a lot of research on the company you want to buy your panels from. Finally, no matter what type of solar system you have, it needs to be installed following safety codes and standards.
That is, more or less, all you can do to prevent fires caused by your solar system. If the fire occurs anyway, there are still things you can do to make sure you are covered financially.
You Need to Get Insurance
You should consider getting insurance for your panels regardless of any potential fire risks. If your home already had panels when you purchased it, chances are that your insurance covers them as well. Still, you must check.
However, if you install panels on your home, in many cases the home insurance you have will not cover them. In such cases, you need to contact your insurance company and revise your insurance plan. Fortunately, solar panels are considered a part of your home’s structure, so including them will not be a big hassle.
If your panels are ground-mounted or you have a carport, the situation is a bit different. Then, they are not a part of your property, so you will need a separate plan for them. Regardless of the situation, getting insurance is a necessary step to ensure your home is safe.
When it comes to fire safety and solar, what homeowners need to know is that there is a lot they can do when it comes to fire prevention. Proper installation by a trusted company is key to staying safe. If a fire still happens, it’s important to have insurance. You cannot predict when a fire can happen, but with the steps we mentioned above, you can at least be prepared.