In todays Q & A Of The Day a question came in from Holly who’s using an aerator in her pond throughout the winter. It seems that the compressor running this system is making some odd noises. Almost like an exhalation of air every 5 to 10 seconds and it just started a week or so ago. The system has been running great for months and this is unusual.
Answer: Thanks for the question and email Holly. While your situation with the aerator is not normal in the sense of the word, it may not be unusual at all. This reaction by the compressor represents some form of blocking or kinking in the airline and the added back pressure is being released from time to time by the compressor system.
Since it’s winter, it’s most likely some type of ice build up rather than a kink in the airline. Some condensation can form in the line form time to time an may freeze a bit. To remedy the situation it’s recommended to pour 1-2 tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol into the airline and let it melt what’s in there. Most likely this will open things up again.
Most of the aeration packages you’ll find today are very simple to operate and require very little maintenance. Compressors are designed to run continuously for years with trouble free service and most of them certainly do. This doesn’t mean you won’t run into problems with the from time to time, and the obvious signs of problems usually show up as a change in the sound coming from the device (usually you should hear a light humming) or a drop in air volume being pushed through the diffuser. Should either of these things change it’s probably a good idea to contact the retailer or supplier that you bought the unit from to get some ideas on what to do. If needed, repair kits are available for some models.
Since we’re talking about winter aeration in this article I wanted to remind you of a few suggestions that may help get better results in your pond. Unlike summer aeration, where oxygen is often lower in the pond water, and for best results you would place the aerator diffuser in the deepest part of the pond, in winter you actually want to move the diffuser to shallower water.
The primary reason most people use an aerator in the winter is to keep a segment of the ice open so that oxygen can be exchanged into the pond and any gases, including some toxic ones, can be released into the air. This process get’s restricted when ice covers a pond entirely. An aerator often has the power, through the release of air bubbles, to keep a part of the surface ice free and they can do so fairly affordably.
If you have a multi diffuser system, it’s often fine to just use one of them during the winter and turn the others off. The same benefit can be gained from one, rather than all of them.
Most pond owners find aerators to be relatively trouble free, and particularly when they’re compared to surface fountains. Fountains, as you may recall, pull water up from underneath and shoot it into the air. This often draws debris, algae, and other things into the device and it can plug them up. Since an aerator actually pushes air out of the diffuser, and this is coming from a land based pump, you generally won’t run into any problems of clogging and restriction. In really muddy bottom ponds, you may want to ensure that some gunk and debris isn’t covering the system, but it’s often easy enough to pull these up and check things over once a year. If any rubber membrane needs to be replace, those parts are readily available and easy to install.