How to Attach a Solar Water Heater on a Tile Roof

What You'll Need
Safety goggles
3/16-inch drill bit
3/8-inch carbide drill bit
2-Lag bolt mounting systems
Chalk line
Electronic stud finder
Solar panel
Solar panel mounting bracket

As an alternative to traditional sources of supplying hot water to your home, installing a solar water heater on your tile roof is a step towards energy savings in your home. The process of installing a solar panel as a energy collector on your roof is a little more difficult than on a shingled roof. However, with the proper instruction and tools and equipment, you can install a solar water heater with less stress than you anticipate.

Step 1 - Choose Location

Choose the best location on your roof for the solar panel collector. The panel is 15.3 inches by 47 inches. You will install the panel width wise so ensure that the location you choose can handle the size of the panel without being obstructed by plumbing or roof vents. The panel will also need to slop downhill so that the pluming leaves the bottom of the panel.

Step 2 - Locate Rafter

With the electronic stud finder, locate the rafter that will be directly center of the solar panel. Once you have done this, remove the tile and drill a pilot hole with the 3/16 drill bit. Seal the hole that once held the tile in place. 

Step 3 - Secure Mounting Bracket 

Place the lag bolt bracket onto the rafter and secure it with the screws provided. Once this is done, replace the tile you removed and drill a hole directly through the center of it with the 3/8 carbide drill bit. Now slide the lag bolt through the hold and tighten it to the bracket that lies beneath the tile. Place sealant around the hole so that it is waterproof. Repeat the process and place the second lag bolt mounting bracket about an inch above the first one.

Step 4 - Solar Mounting Bracket 

Now that the lag bolt brackets are in place, you can now set up the mounting brackets for the solar panel collector. Attach the collector's mounting brackets to the lag bolt mounting system. After all brackets are secure and fully seated, you are ready to install your solar collector.

Step 5 - Place Collector on Brackets

You can now place the solar collector on the mounting brackets. You should not do this alone. To avoid damage to your solar collector, have a friend to help you place the unit onto the mounting brackets. Check for the stability of the unit and ensure that the tilt is at the proper angle.

Step 6 - Final Mounting

After the stability and angle is found satisfactory, remove the panel from the brackets and attach the copper pipes underneath the unit. Ensure that you know which one of the pipes is the return pipe. You will need to keep these the supply and return pipes separated for the final hookup. Once all pipes and connections have been completed, place solar collector back onto the mounting brackets and secure it.  Do a final check to make sure the slope is correct.