Taking Care of the Heart of Your Water Feature
Think of your pump as if it were the heart of your water feature. It's responsible for your water feature's circulation. If your pump is too small, damaged, or not functioning properly your waterfall or fountain won't operate at full capacity. And when your pump shuts off, the life of the pond shuts off too, right? Isn't it the waterfall or fountain that creates the beauty in your water feature? Your pump brings your water feature to life.
So taking care of your water feature pump is important. Not only is it responsible for your water feature being at it's best... both aesthetically and healthy, it's expensive to purchase a new pump. Performing proper pump maintenance can lengthen it's life... a quality pump that is sized and installed properly* and well maintained will last 5-7 years or more.
Consider these steps in maintaining your water feature pump:
- Keep it flowing. Water feature pumps are meant to run continuously. It's okay to put pond-free pumps on a timer and run only part of the day and it's also okay to remove your pump for winter if you store it in water... just know that it may shorten it's life span. You have to weigh the cost of electricity or the maintenance of running your pump in winter against a shorter life span.
- Keep it submerged. If your pump is in a skimmer and the skimmer net becomes full or the water level is low and the pump is starved for water, it will either kill the pump immediately or shorten it's life span. The pump must be completely submerged to keep it cool. A pump that is frequently run dry will not last longer than a year or so. Warranties will not cover this type of failure. Our manufacturers are getting pretty stringent on this.
- Keep your skimmer clean. Often times debris gets around the filter media and collects at the bottom of the skimmer. That debris can then get trapped in the impeller. Even if you don't clean your pond completely each year, the filter should be cleaned at least annually.
- Keep the filter media in your skimmer and don't cover the skimmer opening. This is the one of the craziest things we hear and we hear it all the time. Why invest in a skimmer if you're not going to allow it to do it's job? People remove the filter media because they don't want to clean it.... I don't get it. And they cover the front of the skimmer with a screen or net to keep things from flowing in... That's what it's designed for people!!!
- Remove your pump from your water feature and clean it at least twice a year. You want to make sure that debris isn't collecting in the impeller. If you're not comfortable with this, either attend our spring or fall cleaning class to learn how, or hire Cool Ponds to do this for you.
- Don't run your pump on an extension cord. Your pump needs to be plugged directly into a 110 outlet. We often hear, "but it's on a heavy duty outdoor extension cord." Just because it's "outdoor" doesn't mean it's heavy duty. Most of those are meant to run Christmas lights that don't require many amps. Also, don't cut the plug off the pump and hard wire it. This immediately voids your warranty and makes it unsafe to maintain properly.
- Buy a Pump That's Meant for a Water Feature. Sump pumps may seem like a cheap alternative, but they are not meant to run continuously and will fail leaving your pond and fish without proper oxygenation.
Let us at Cool Ponds help. We're happy to answer any questions or provide the services you need to keep your pump running well for a long, long time.
*Pump sizing can be a science. Tubing size and total dynamic head must be considered when determining a proper size pump. A pump too large or too small can fail prematurely. We're happy to provide this sizing service to our customers purchasing a pump. The majority of pumps especially direct drive and asynchronous pumps are not "solids handling" and must be protected in either a skimmer or pump vault to keep from clogging.
Written by Staci Wicker
Cool Ponds Co-owner