Pond Pumps And Quick Fixes To Keep Them Running

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Written By Mark Washburn

Mark has 20 years of experience as a professional pond management consultant.

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If you want moving water in a pond, which basically means things like an active waterfall or an effective filtration system, a key component in all of this is the pond pump. Nothing really moves without a good pump.

Unfortunately like any mechanical thing, a pond pump can fail, become damaged or broken, or just not operate very well at times. Sometimes they may need to be replaced or upgraded. But before you go and toss your current hard working pond pump, make sure it’s really on it’s last leg. If the problem is minor one, or the pump just needs some simple cleaning and maintenance, you may be able to get get by with your current installation without spending any more money.

Let’s cover a few quick and easy fixes for a problematic pond pump.

Give The Pump A Good Cleaning

Pond pumps have just about everything go through them at some point in the cycle of water circulation. This includes debris such as leaves, algae, dirt, and anything else that might end up in the pond. All of this gunk can take it’s toll and end up blocking or plugging up part of the pump inlet. If this isn’t clear, you won’t be able to get the full volume of water running through the pump and your flow rate will drop.

A simple solution if things aren’t working quite right is to make sure the pump is clean and free of obstructions. To clean a pond pump you’ll want to unplug the device from the power supply, remove it from the pond (if it’s internal) and take the various pieces apart while checking for blockages in the intake or any part of the assembly. To clean it, simply use your existing pond water. Avoid using any harsh chemicals. Clean any pre-filter if one is included, and then put everything back together.

Pond pumps will vary somewhat in their construction so be sure to use the owners manual as a reference and follow their additional recommandations for cleaning and maintenance.

Check Your Water Level

Pumps of all kinds need a reasonable amount of water to work right. All pumps are rated for GPH or gallons per hour flow rate, and one of the common reasons that they may not work well is if the water level in the pond becomes too low or in short supply. If you have a skimmer in place and the water level falls much below this intake, you’ll never get enough water to keep the system operating normally and this isn’t good for the pond pump. One early warning is when the pump is emitting some odd noises or excess noise.

Be sure to check your water levels, particular in the hot summer months when evaporation can increase and regular topping off of the water level will need to be maintained with more frequency. Some pond owners use an automatic system for keeping the water level constant.

Listen For Odd Noises From Your Pond Pump

It isn’t always going to be a low water level that causes some odd noises to be emitted from your pump. But these sounds can be the first indicator that something is not quite right. Many pumps will vibrate a bit while in operation and if you find that these vibrations are causing some rubbing or bumping against the skimmer box, or basin, you can always cushion these with some rubber matting.

Once again the owner or operational manual for the pump is the best resource for troubleshooting or the suggested steps for routine maintenance and often times, a quick review of that literature will uncover ways to keep the pump running more quietly and efficiently.

Storing Your Pond Pump In The Winter

This won’t apply to everyone of course but in climates where the pond may freeze over in the winter, it’s often suggested to turn the pump off and actually remove it. This applies to submersible pumps in particular. Storage should be maintained in a warmer setting with the pump submerged in a water bucket, which keeps all the gaskets and seals in good shape.

Editor’s Note: As always, be sure to contact the pump’s manufacturer on what they recommend for off season storage. Some pumps are best submerged while others may not need to be.

Why would you want to remove it during cold weather? Well the truth is, that during the colder months sometimes it’s best not to circulate the water too much in a small pond. Fish will often find the warmer bottom water to be more comfortable and the added circulation from the pump will hinder that somewhat. Also should a pond pump ever freeze up, a great deal of damage can occur internally and you may never get it working right again.

If you do decide to keep the pond open and operational during the winter months you’ll want to continue to monitor and clean the pump as needed, despite the cold weather.

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