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Question DetailsAsked on 4/17/2014

I am in need of someone to remove two old (20 yrs or more). Thermal solar panels from roof. Asking for a bid.

These were used for water heater only. Two of them with dimensions 5' X 12' (approx.) They are anchored to the roof with water pipe leading through attic down to huge solar water heater that sits in garage. System is not active as I purchased home 3 yrs ago & have not attempted to switch this on. I do plan to recycle them so want them carefully removed and that whoever does the job be bonded / licensed contractor
Thank you

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Obviously, if you really think they are worth anything, probably a solar panel installation company is your best bet. I would wonder just how much a 20 year old system is worth - I wonder if the extra cost in removing the panels and the tank and shipping them to a buyer will be recovered in the resale, unless you live in Colorado or on the west coast where that type of thing is popular.

Depending on how well units these self-drain or blow out with an air compressor when you cut or disconnect the pipes, they might be handleable by two men on the roof with come alongs and one on the ground, or might need a crane - probably weigh about 500-1000 pounds each for the above-roof parts. Getting the tank out is another matter too - it might need special handling equipment too, as it is likely 500 pounds or more.

Also, assuming you have the parts removed and stored in the garage, then you may have loading issues when the buyer (if you find one) comes to pick it up, unless you are able to find a buyer up front and have the contractor deliver it to him as part of the job. He should like that idea - might get a removal and a reinstall job out of it at the same time.

You need to consider what you are going to do with the pipes - they might come out of the walls easy, or might make more sense to just cut them off and abandon in place. If you do leave in place, I would cut the roof penetrating ones off say 1-2 foot above roofline (maybe 6 inches in snowfree country) and cap them there leaving the roof jacks (waterseal) intact, rather than open up roof holes now that will need to then be repaired. I would leave the pipe cutoffs sticking up till you next reroof, then have them cut off in the attic and the holes in the sheathing patched as part of the reroof job.

If you can't find a solar panel installer interested in doing it, then a rigging and crane company that does demolition work too or a demolition company with a light-duty long-reach crane would be my choice, followed by a general contractor who does steel framing work, I would say would be your best bet. Technically a Handyman could probably do it, but usually they do not have the manpower to handle items that large, and you don't want your roof damaged in the process. Probbly the safest way to do it is to use a crane to pick them off the roof one by one, but that will add probably at least $500 and more likely about $1000 to the job cost - which could mean roughly doubling it, at a ballpark guess.

I haven't asked WHY this is being removed - unless you consider it a severe eyesore, or are afraid it will not survive strong winds because it is starting to corrode. If not one of those reason, sounds like the thing to do is remove it as part of your next reroof job, and let the roofer do it and remove it as scrap, which would cost you probably a few hundred $ rather than a thousand or more.

Search the List for type of contractor you decide on, then when you screen the category(s) for reviews you like, start calling to find ones who can do it. Make clear in talking to rigging companies you are talking cutting and capping and removal, not just the crane work - some handle light metal erection/removal work like roof air conditioners and such, some do only the crane part, and GC's are not likely to be keen on this small a job, so my suspicion is you are going to end up with a small steel demolition company who has a long-reach boom truck or light mobile truck crane.

You might well find also that having the roof units removed and them and the tank hauled off to the buyer by one company, just leaving the cut off pipes taped over with duct tape, then arranging with a plumber to have the cut off pipes capped, or with a roofing company to have them removed and the roof repaired will be your cheapest alternative, rather than trying to find one company to do it all.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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