MAINTENANCE & CARE

A small amount of care and maintenance will go a long way in keeping your glazed system functioning properly and looking as fresh as the day it was installed. Built-up dirt and pollutants on the surface can accelerate the weathering and corrosion of your structure’s aluminum finish. Keeping the finish clean can help limit more costly maintenance in the future. Solar Innovations® does not recommend using harsh chemicals on any of our systems. A simple solution of water, vinegar and dish detergent will work well to clean the frame and glass. Operable windows and vent tracks need to be cleaned and checked regularly to maintain proper function. Motorized operations, such as ridge vents, will need occasional lubrication. Leaves and debris will also need to be removed from gutters. For greenhouses, always test your accessories as a new season approaches.

Glass Care & Maintenance

Glass Maintenance

We recommend cleaning the glass on a cloudy, mild day to minimize streaking. Do not use harsh chemicals; the simple solution provided below will keep your product looking and functioning great for years to come. The solution includes:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 ounces of vinegar (more or less may be needed based on the mineral content of your water)
  • 1-2 drops of dish detergent (adding more will make the water too foamy and will not provide the desired result)

Apply the mixture with a soft sponge and wash away the dirt. Use a rubber squeegee to remove excess moisture. It is not necessary to rinse the glass after washing, as this will only create streaks. The care and maintenance of your glass and finishes will vary according to your geographic location. Dirt and pollutants are more prevalent in urban areas and will require more frequent cleaning. Avoid cleaning in extreme weather conditions, such as intense heat or cold.

Aluminum Care & Maintenance

Aluminum Maintenance

Aluminum cleaning should be done on a cloudy, mild day and preferably at the same time as the glass. First, flush the surface with clean water — a hose is preferred on the exterior — to remove loose debris.

After flushing the surface, wash the aluminum using a sponge and mild soap or detergent that is safe for bare hands. A nylon cleaning pad may be necessary if the surface is heavily soiled. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the surface with clean water after washing.

Mineral spirits may be used to remove grease, sealants, or caulking compounds. Use a dilute solution of under 10% muriatic acid to remove concrete on the aluminum. Remove excess silicone with a razor blade, followed by an isopropyl alcohol wipe to remove residue.

Regular lubrication with a silicone spray or white lithium grease can help lubricate actuators and hinges in operational equipment. Tracks for operable doors and windows should be vacuumed regularly to prevent dirt and debris from collecting in the track. Finish with a Teflon or silicone spray in the track to keep it lubricated.

Preventing Moisture

Preventing Moisture

Proper maintenance will ensure that moisture remains outside, where it belongs. Regularly checking and replacing the sealant will prevent moisture issues before they occur.

  • To prevent mold, follow these precautions:
  • Fix all leaks and seepage.
  • Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent
    moisture from the ground.
  • Use exhaust fans to remove moisture.
  • Turn off appliances, such as humidifiers or kerosene
    heaters, if moisture is present on glass.
  • Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to reduce
    moisture in the air.

Mold thrives when an organic food source is present, such as dirt, dust, or moisture. When mold becomes apparent, the first step is to find the source of growth and eliminate it. Mold can reappear in 72 hours under the right conditions. Controlling the moisture level will not only control mold growth but also prevent other unsightly conditions, such as condensation and water marks.

Care for your Finishes

A system’s finish requires cleaning and maintenance prior to, during, and after installation. The systems themselves are durable to withstand severe environmental elements; however, without proper care, their surface finishes can deteriorate over time. To prevent this, Solar Innovations® has compiled the following care and maintenance information for the preservation of your finish.

Care for Painted Surfaces

Painted Surfaces (Kynar 500® or Hylar 5000® Fluoropolymer Spray Coatings)

Over time, painted surfaces may show signs of weathering, such as loss of gloss, chalking, or slight color change from being exposed to the elements. Cleaning these structures must be according to the outlined specifications in order to maintain their finish.

Cleaning Schedule

An annual cleaning of fluoropolymer spray coatings is necessary to extend coating life and remove build-up of resins and other residue.

Cleaning Procedures

Cleaning should be executed according to the following guidelines:

  • Wash with plain water using a hose or pressure washer on a low setting.
  • Use heavy duty dry powdered detergent combined with 1/3 cup of water when surfaces are heavily soiled.
  • Use a soft bristled brush to make cleaning easier.
  • Rinse with clean, cold water immediately after cleaning.
  • Areas subject to high humidity levels can experience mildew growth, which should be removed using the following solution:
    • 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent
    • 2/3 cup tri-sodium phosphate or TSP
    • 1 quart sodium hypochlorite 5% solution
    • 3 quarts water

Cleaning Precautions

  • Avoid strong solvent and abrasive-type cleaners.
  • Remove heavy soils, such as oil, grease, tar, wax, etc., by wiping with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. Wipe only contaminated areas; follow with detergent cleaning and rinse thoroughly.
Anodized Aluminum Care & Maintenance

Anodized Aluminum

Anodized aluminum is exceptionally resistant to corrosion, discoloration, and wear; however, its surface finish can be marred by harsh chemicals, abuse, or neglect.

Cleaning Schedule

Clean the aluminum as soon as the product is installed to remove construction and environmental soils and discolorations. Thereafter, a regular cleaning is required at least once a year to minimize the effects of weathering and to remove dirt, grime, and other build-up.

Cleaning Procedures

To clean your anodized finish, start at the top, and proceed downward, rinsing with a forceful water spray.

Removing Light Soils
  • Flush the surface with water using moderate pressure.
  • If soil is still present after the surface dries, scrub the surface with a sponge while continuously spraying it with water.
  • If dirt persists, use a mild detergent with a sponge.
  • Thoroughly rinse the surface with clean water.
  • Use MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) or a similar solvent to remove oil, wax, polish, etc.
Removing Heavy Soils
  • Thoroughly soak the pad with clean water or mild detergent.
  • Hand scrub the surface with uniform pressure in the direction of the metal grain.
  • Scrub with a nylon-cleaning pad with a surface protecting material for stubborn stains.
  • Thoroughly rinse the surface with clean water.
  • Let the surface air dry or wipe it down with a lint-free cloth.
Removing Extreme Soils
  • When using power tools, continually flush the surface with clean water or a mild detergent to provide lubrication and a medium for carrying away the dirt.
  • Rinse the area with clean water, and thoroughly scrub it with a stiff bristle brush after it has been washed by a machine.
  • Air dry or dry wipe the surface.

Cleaning Precautions

  • Never use aggressive alkaline or acid cleaners.
  • Avoid cleaning hot or sun-heated surfaces, since chemical reactions will be highly accelerated and cleaning non-uniformity could occur.
  • Strong organic solvents may extract stain-producing chemicals from sealants and may affect the function of sealants.
  • Do not use strong cleaners on glass and other areas where the cleaner may come in contact with the aluminum.
  • Excessive abrasive rubbing should not be used, since it could damage the finish.
  • Never use MEK or similar solvents on anodic finishes protected by clear organic coatings unless the coating has deteriorated.
  • Be sure to exercise extreme caution when using solvents, because they have the potential to damage organic sealants, gaskets, and finishes
Powder Coatings Care & Maintenance

Powder Coatings

Over time, powder coatings may show signs of weathering, such as loss of gloss, chalking, or slight color change from being exposed to the elements. Cleaning these structures must be according to the outlined specifications in order to maintain their finish.

Cleaning Schedule

Regular cleaning is required at least once a year. A simple regular cleaning will minimize the effects of weathering and remove dirt, grime, and other build-up. Factors including location, atmospheric pollution, and building protection should be considered when determining the frequency of cleaning.

Cleaning Procedures

Clean the product as soon as installation is complete to ensure construction materials, such as concrete, plaster, and paint splashes are gone before they have a chance to damage the surface. Failure to remove these materials at this early stage will require the use of potentially damaging aggressive cleaning materials and techniques.

Clean according to the following guidelines:
  • Use clean water with slight additives of neutral washing agents (pH 5-8) with the aid of non-abrasive soft cloths, rags, or industrial cotton.
  • Use mineral spirits free of aromatics (chemical compounds) and alcohol to remove greasy, oily, or sooty substances. Adhesives, silicone cartouche, and adhesive tapes can also be removed this way.
  • Joint sealants and other aids that come into contact with coated surfaces must be pH-neutral and free of paint-damaging substances, and they must first be subject to a suitability test.
  • Rinse with clean cold water immediately after every cleaning process.
  • The entire cleaning process can be repeated if necessary after 24 hours.
  • Take a suitability test for metallic powder coatings due to the danger of changes in a color tone.
  • Avoid strong rubbing when cleaning the surface.
  • Do not use detergents at temperatures higher than 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The maximum exposure period of detergents must not exceed one hour.
Do not use:
  • Solvents containing ester, ketones, alcohol, aromatics, ethylene glycol, or halogenated hydrocarbon.
  • Scratching or abrasive agents.
  • Strong acids, alkaline detergents, or similar products.
  • Detergents of unknown composition.
  • Stream-jet devices/power cleaning tools at high power.

Cleaning Precautions

  • Wash with plain water using a hose or pressure washer at a low setting.
  • Use heavy duty dry powdered detergent combined with ¹/³ cup of water when surfaces are heavily soiled.
  • Use soft bristled brush to make cleaning easier.
  • Rinse with clean, cold water immediately after cleaning.
  • Avoid strong solvent and abrasive-type cleaners.
  • Remove heavy soils, such as oil, grease, tar, wax, etc., by wiping with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. Wipe only contaminated areas; follow with detergent cleaning and rinse thoroughly.

Each coating is different; therefore it is essential to follow the exact specifications outlined for each type of finish. Properly cleaning and maintaining your structure’s surface will minimize the need for touch-ups in the future and extend the lifetime of the system.

Repair & Replacement Services

Our products are backed by an industry-leading warranty. In the event of a problem, our team has the technical skill and experience to evaluate your situation and determine the most effective options for repair, service, or replacement of your product. All drawings and information are saved for each project, so a preliminary site visit isn’t always required.

If you have any questions about the care of your Solar Innovations® system, please contact our service department for more information.