6 conditions to consider when purchasing a Pond pump

“I need to replace my pond pump.”  This may be you!  Finding the properly sized pump can be confusing.  Should you buy a pump online? Should you get it from a contractor?  What kind of information should you look for on the pump box?
How long will the typical pond pump operate? ​We have seen people run down to the hardware store, grab an inexpensive pump off the shelf, and throw it in the pond. Two years later that pump fails, so they do the same thing again and repeat. If your pump lasted only 1-3 years, it’s probably not the right pump. When properly sized, we regularily see pumps last 6-10 years.
Below are six things to consider and to understand before purchasing a new pond pump.Upfront cost.
Yes, some pond pumps will cost more up front. Often we’ll find a box store pump for a fraction of the price to purchase. Then we look at the specs and find out those box store pumps take 5 times as much electricity. Depending on the pump, the difference between upfront cost and electrical consumption cost can be significant.  A cheap pump may cost more to operate in the long run.
Waterfall volume:  How much water do you need coming over your first waterfall? A good rule of thumb is 1500 gallons per hour (GPH) per foot wide of stream.  If your waterfall is 2 feet wide, you need at least 3000 GPH. (1500 x 2 ft) We also recommend turning the water over at least 50% per hour. This technique helps maintain water clarity.Head height:
Every pump has a graph associated with it. On that graph, the pump output is compared to something called Total Dynamic Head. To calculate that you need 2 things, and remember these are generalizations covering most pond applications we work with:
 A. The waterfall height when compared to the pond surface water. This is “straight up, not how long the stream is.
B. How long the pipe in the ground is. Add 1 foot of “head height” for every 10 feet of pipe.
Technicians have calculated how the pump will handle different situations. It will be on the graph. Check the chart and choose the pump you’ll need.  
Incorrect head height is the main reason pumps fail within 2 years of purchase. In direct drive pumps, when the pump is not sized in the correct “operating zone”, it figuratively rattles and bounces and wears out seals rather quickly. Electrical consumption
Sewage pumps are designed to take sewage, grind it up a bit, and push it up a hill. They require lots of power and are intended to run only occasionally. Use this pump and your electric bill will be well over $100 for your pond!
A big factor of electrical consumption depends on the ability of a pump to handle small solids (leaves, algae, etc). Solids handling pumps require more electricity. There are both “direct drive” pumps and “magnetic drive” pumps. If you don’t mind potential monthly maintenance, you can save even more by selecting a magnetic drive pump that is not a solids handling pump. 
Adjustable flow pumps can be adjusted to provide different amounts of sound from the waterfalls. You may want a feature that runs at one speed to keep the ecosystem pond healthy but can be turned up when you want more sound. These pumps are a perfect fit for disappearing waterfalls.  They also come with a remote to turn them on and off and adjust the flow.Do you want your pond pump to turn on and off at a certain time? You can install a timer like you would use for holiday lights. Also, some pumps come with an app so you can set them for a specific time and control it from your phone. These apps also monitor power consumption and can be linked to your pond service technician, sending alerts when power consumption is incorrect.
There are many details when choosing a new pond pump. This post skims the surface of pump specs.  If you have further questions or need help, contact us to set up a free phone consultation with a service technician.


By Jeff Chudek, Master certified Aquascape contractor, builder of many ponds


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