Large ponds benefit tremendously from aeration simply because nothing will do more to increase oxygen levels and circulation in the water. This greatly improves the health and natural vitality of a pond and it can protect and provide an improved home for fish and other wildlife. Pond aeration systems normally run on electrical power which can limit the places where they can be installed. Or it used to be that way. Windmill aeration kits are changing that.
It’s funny in a way that some windmill aerators are thought of as something new. If you travel around the midwest, it’s not uncommon to see old farmsteads that still have windmills standing nearby. Most are not operational any longer but in the old days this was the way fresh water could be pumped to the surface for people and for livestock.
This same technology is now being used to generate electrical power to homes an industry and as of this writing. Texas and Iowa lead the way in wind power generation.
Today’s windmill aerators for ponds also use the power of the wind to drive a compressor pump which forces air through an airline, down to a diffuser which sits at the bottom of the pond. This is very conventional in terms of how it works, and what it does for a pond system, and the only difference between a windmill aerator and an electrical one is the power source. Actually we should clarify that and say, it’s not the only difference but it is the primary one.
Beyond that it’s also important to understand that because of this power source there are other differences that should be compared to decided whether a windmill aerator is right for your pond.
Modern windmill and pump technology has closed the gap on wind driven and electric powered aerators. One of the top windmill aerators on the market today is being constructed by Outdoor Water Solutions and their windmill system will produce about 3.0 to 4.5 CFM (cubic foot per minute of airflow) and is very comparable to a 1/4 HP electrical compressor. This output of course is based on adequate wind speeds. This is the one primary difference between wind driven systems and electric or solar powered aerators. The wind must be blowing for it to work at all.
Due to improved aerodynamics of the fan blades, efficiency has improved quite a bit and even the lightest winds will provide some degree of aeration. Most of the windmill aeration kits that you’ll find on the market can be erected to stand somewhere between 12′ and 25′ which also helps expose the windmill to air currents.
The Windmill Aeration Compressor System
The vast majority of windmill aeration kits that are sold today use a diaphragm pump or compressor. These have the potential output of something like 30 psi which allows them to be used at depths up to about 50′ and they tend to provide a very reliable output of air and performance. For windmills you’ll find two different diaphragms available. These are termed single or double diaphragm compressors. The single diaphragm will produce a shot of air with every full turn of a fan unit where a double diaphragm provides air with every half turn of the windmill. For obviously reasons, the double diaphragm system will provide higher CFM and output and is generally more desirable.
The diaphragm component is usually made of a flexible rubber membrane which is attached to a push plate. Because this is the primary “active” part of the compression system it is most likely to wear out eventually and may need to be replaced. Replacement kits are widely available and are easy to install for the most part.
Output of the windmill systems today usually produce somewhere between 1.5 to 3.2 CFM. This output will of course be based on wind speeds but also the size and design of the fan as well. Larger bladed fans will usually produce better output.
Support structures for the windmills can be found in three leg, four leg, and single pole configurations. Some of the single pole models can be easily erected or lowered through a telescopic feature which can make repair work quick and easy. Most models use a metal beams for the base, however a more rustic wood frame was introduced recently which some people might prefer.
Windmill Aerator Costs And Features
If there were one main redeeming feature of windmill aerators it would be that they will generally offer a continual benefit with a one time cost. For their output, they are much more efficient and powerful than most solar powered aerators at the moment, and there are no additional costs for electricity. Most electrical systems will cost somewhere from $10 to $30 per month to operate so this becomes an immediate savings on windmill systems.
Purchasing costs are similar between the two systems with a single diffuser package costing around $995 to $1,395 depending on the brand and model. In most cases as you add diffusers or need a larger unit, the costs will go higher because of that demand.
All of the models of windmill aerators today with descriptive and helpful user and installation manuals. It’s important to follow the manufacturers recommendations closely to ensure the proper set up and operation of the aeration system. Some of the more popular brands of windmill aerators include the OWS line, Koenders, Superior, and American Eagle windmills.