Pond pumps are tedious and expensive to fix. Here is how you can make them last longer, without breaking the bank.
The most effective way to preserve the longevity of your pond pump is by being proactive about consistently checking up on your pump. The most vital thing to check up on is the impeller, the pre-filtration, and the electric cords connected to the pump. The durability of the pond pump is directly correlated to these factors.
There are many factors that go into why some pumps last, while others do not. Here are some general guidelines on pump durability, and what you can do to prevent your pump from falling into the latter category.
General Pump Longevity
Let us first address what is normal for a pond pump, before we examine what can be done to increase its long term health. Generally speaking, pond pumps last around two years. Although this is a decent amount of time, it is definitely something to keep on your radar. Interestingly enough however, the larger pumps tend to be built more compactly, thus have longer durability.
Many high volume pumps, such as those that would typically be found in swimming pools, can last up to a decade, significantly longer than the measly two or so years of a traditional pump.
Pond pumps with a GPH below five thousand tend to only last a year, while those exceeding five thousand last closer to two years. Domestic grinder pumps last even longer, around four to five years on average, while sewage pumps last the longest: around six years on average.
Hopefully, these figures give you some kind of idea of what to expect in terms of how long your pump will last, and how the type affects its overall longevity.
Determining the Appropriate pump for you
As you would expect, this is absolutely vital to increasing not only the efficiency but the long term health of your pump. The main thing to note while looking for your ideal pump is how much water it will be pumping. The easiest way to do this is by observing the GPH (Gallons Per Hour) which measures the pump’s capacity to push water in the span of an hour.
A general rule of thumb is that you want all the water to flow at least once within the span of that hour, meaning the GPH should match up or at least be close to the number of gallons of water you have. Fortunately, this is a relatively quick and simple process, as the pumps will advertise what they’re specifically built for and their respective GPH.
To save yourself from potential heartache and financial loss, make sure to do your research beforehand.
Another aspect to account for is other features found in your pond. For example, If your pond contains external things such as waterfalls, and additional filtration, this will necessitate the need for a higher GPH pump for the same amount of water, and these things put increased strain on the pump.
The strain is so significant on the pump, in fact, that oftentimes an additional pump strictly dedicated to the waterfall needs to be installed to alleviate the extra load that waterfalls have on the main pump. This is because the more heavily that a pump is being used, the shorter its corresponding life expectancy will be.
Another potential option to consider is submersible pumps. Although perhaps not as common or popular, they have many benefits.
Relative to most, they are easier to install, which saves you a lot of time and even more money. They also tend to be quieter, as the water blocks out the majority of the noise. They also tend to be a lot cleaner, as the underwater environment prevents it from getting dirt or leaves stuck in it, allowing it to work more effectively.
Most Common Causes of Sources of Decreased Pump lifespan
Here are a variety of common ways things that happen to pumps that hinder their life span
Strain on the Pipes
This is a simple and common problem that occurs when the suction pipe is inappropriately aligned with the pump flanges. This generally is quickly fixed with a wrench, but in more complex scenarios a mechanic may be needed.
The Fluid properties of the pump
The water flowing through the pump often has corrosive chemicals in it, such as chlorine or other chemicals that alter the pH levels of the water, which can quickly damage the impeller of the pump, preventing it from working correctly. To prevent this, regularly check on the water, and pay special attention to the color of the water, as it is the easiest way to detect if foreign chemicals have entered it.
Unregulated or constant pressure from a high radial force
This is oftentimes caused by having an inappropriate pump relative to the amount of water in the pond. Over time, this will cause some of the important internal pieces of the pump, such as the impeller, to bend, preventing it from working effectively. This is costly to repair and is generally prevented by simply buying a pump strong enough for the amount of water it will be pumping.
Simple Ways to Lengthen the Lifespan
Here are some quick and easy tips to follow that will increase the durability of your pond.
Prevent dirt accumulation
This can be done by regularly checking your pump for debris, and removing it. Even if it seems like a little bit of an inconsequential amount, still remove it, as it accumulates over time.
Keep the motor clean
I will go into more detail later on, but this is crucial. This process generally only needs to be done once a month.
Regularly check the impeller
Make sure to take a look at the impeller every month or two to be safe. An additional safeguard you can take is by applying a pre-filtration system, such as the ones provided by Aquasana or Alen.
Keep the Cord safe and protected
This is easy to do yet extremely important. If by any means the electric cord is damaged or obstructed, the entire pump will cease to perform its job. Additionally, make sure to keep it in a safe and secure place, as the small things such as getting accidentally cut or run-over could potentially lead to an individual getting shocked
How to Clean your Pump
Turn the pump off and observe it
Before doing anything, make sure the electricity is turned off to the Pump, as forgetting to due so may cause injury.
Remove the Pump from the Pond and disassemble it
Next, remove the pump from the pond and carefully begin disassembling it. To ensure you to do not forget how to reassemble the pump, either take pictures while you are disassembling it or if you still have one, check the manual that comes with the pump.
Open up the Impeller
Now it’s time to open up the impeller and prepare to clean it. The impeller, over time, will tend to get clogged with things such as Algae, sediment, and debris. After checking the impeller, assuming these are the only things that are obstructing it, the next step is easy. Simply run some clean water through the impeller until all that is obstructing it has been removed.
After this is complete, look for anything outside the impeller or inside the pump that is unclean, and use a sponge with wash water to scrub it off. After this is complete, your pump is now clean, are you now free to begin reassembling your pump
Reassemble the Pump
Now that your pump is now clean, you can simply reference the manual or pictures you took earlier, and put the pieces of the pump back together appropriately.
Seasonal Upkeep for Your Pump
Pumps generally do great during the summer, spring, and even fall, but the winter climate can cause a lot of problems. Here are ways to keep your pump protected from the snow and ice that will inevitably accompany your winter
Watch for Ice Buildup
If the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, this shouldn’t be much of a worry. If, however, the temperature is below freezing, this is something to keep your eye on. If unregulated, the ice formation will not only stop the pond from working properly, but also cause your remaining running water to splash outside of the pond, costing you lots of needless money.
If the ice buildup is consistent, it is safest to turn off your water for the day, and wait for warmer weather.
Add Additional, Aarm Aater to your Pond
If the water isn’t freezing rapidly, this is an easy way to prevent the pond water from freezing over. Simply put your hose into the pond, and turn the water into a low-pressure setting.
The water coming from the hose originates from pipes and should be significantly warmer than the exposed water of your pond, allowing a balance in your water temperature. In doing this, you can rest assured that your pond will not freeze over.