Home owners have been left out in the cold in the past fornight – and it’s not just the sub-zero temperatures giving them the chill.
Dozens of houses have been left without hot water and out of pocket after a cold snap caused the explosion of solar hot water panels.
Calls for help flooded the Bacchus Marsh Residents Facebook page last week with at least 10 posts for urgent plumbing requests.
Tony Williams, from AS&R Williams in Bacchus Marsh, said he struggled to keep up with unprecedented demand for help as temperatures plummeted last Monday.
“I went to eight call-outs on Monday, most of them the filter blew up and all but one, the panels split inside,” Mr Williams said. “That was a pretty good frost last weekend, probably the worst one I’ve seen in awhile.”
The extreme cold temperatures caused water in solar panels to freeze and expand, resulting in snapped and split panels and broken frost valves.
Mr Williams said issues weren’t with the quality of the panels, but with the lack of frost protection.
Bacchus Marsh home owners Michael and Stephanie Blawuciak are unsure whether they’ll continue using their solar panels after being forced to call a plumber to fix a leak.
“I took a look and water was pouring from underneath,” Mr Blawuciak said.
“We called the plumber out and he put a hose joiner on to bypass our solar panel system and got our hot water going again. The plumber said he had been to about 15 call-outs before us.”
Myrniong plumber Gary Howe, of Gary A Howe Plumbing, said he has been on three jobs a week to fix split solar hot water panels recently and recommended that residents buy a frost belt.
“If you are in a frost-prone area, you need a frost belt otherwise it [panels exploding] will continue to happen.”
A spokeswoman from Reece Bacchus Marsh said the store was sold out of solar hot water panels before noon last Monday as residents tried to replace split panels.
Since 2009, the state government has offered rebates of up to $1600 to households converting to solar hot water systems under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target