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How do I know if it’s a leak or evaporation loss?| Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: How do I know if it’s a leak or evaporation loss?

Q: How do I know if it’s a leak or evaporation loss?

Dena – Albrightsville, PA

A: A little water loss in your water garden is normal – but when it disappears by the inches, you’ve got a mystery to solve. These step-by-step sleuthing tips, below, can help you deduce whether it’s summertime evaporation or a liner leak.

Step 1 – Look for Evaporation Clues

During the heat of the summertime, you can expect some all-natural water loss. Thanks to evaporation, up to an inch (give or take) of water will naturally disappear from the pond, and if you have a long stream bed with a lot of surface area or a large pond with few floating plants, even more water could transform from liquid to vapor. If you suspect evaporation, fill the pond back up and keep an eye on the water level.

Step 2 – Check for Dampness Around the Pond

If more than an inch of water is disappearing every day, you could be dealing with a leak. Walk around the pond and waterfall or stream, and carefully inspect the soil for signs of unexplained moisture. If you find some, take a closer look at that spot’s liner and construction. Leaking water has to go somewhere, and a patch of wet ground is clear indicator of a problem.

Step 3 – Finding Liner Rips

If you suspect a rip or hole in your liner, keep a close eye on the pond’s water level until it stops falling. When it does, that’s when you should look for the leak. Because the water level will stabilize once it lowers past the hole, you should be able to find the problem at or below the water level and fix it.

To repair the leak, you have two options: repair the hole with a patch found in the EPDM Pond Liner Patch Kit, or close it up with some underwater sealer, like Gold Label Pond and Aquarium Sealer. The patch kit comes with everything you need to fix minor tears in your pond liner, including an EPDM patch, solvent wipe, scrub sponge, seam roller and pair of disposable gloves. The underwater sealer, which works on wet or dry surfaces, instantly repairs leaks in rubber and vinyl liners.

Step 4 – Shore Up Your Stream

If you found moisture outside of your stream or waterfall, turn off your pump and inspect the rocks and liner around the wet spot. Is there a hole in the liner? Repair the leak with your liner patch kit. Is water pooling under rocks or splashing outside the stream? Redirect it back down to the pond with Black Waterfall Foam. Once you apply it, it’ll look like shadows between the rocks.

Step 5 – Inspect Your Fittings

Finally, if you’ve ruled out evaporation and there are no damp areas around the circumference of your pond to be found, the culprit could be your pressurized filter, tubing or connections. Inspect the plumbing on the pump or waterfall where pipe splits or loose fittings could be leaking, and repair it as necessary.

Good luck finding the cause of your pond’s water loss!

Pond Talk: How much water evaporates from your pond per day in the summertime?

Patch Leak Even Underwater - Gold Label Pond & Aquarium Sealer

I’m upgrading my pump. Do I need new tubing as well? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I’m upgrading my pump. Do I need new tubing as well?

Q: I’m upgrading my pump. Do I need new tubing as well?

Roger – Cordova, TN

A: Congratulations on the purchase of your new toy! To get the maximum flow out of your pump, you’ll need to make sure your tubing size lines up with your flow rate.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Up to 500 GPH: ½ inch tubing
  • 501 – 900 GPH: ¾ inch tubing
  • 901 – 1,500 GPH: 1 inch tubing
  • 1,501 – 2,700 GPH: 1¼ inch tubing
  • 2,701 – 3,600 GPH: 1½ inch tubing
  • 3,601 – 5,400 GPH: 2 inch tubing
  • 5,401 – 13,500 GPH: 3 inch tubing

When it comes to selecting a type of tubing, you can choose from three different types: flexible PVC tubing, flexible kink-free tubing and flexible black vinyl tubing. Each has its own unique features and uses. Here’s what you need to know:

Flexible PVC Tubing

Ideal for water features, flexible PVC tubing can have water in it year round without damage from freezing temperatures, and the pipes can be buried. To join the lengths of pipe and plumb your pump, you will need to use schedule 40 PVC fittings and PVC glue. Flexible PVC is the most expensive of the bunch, but it’s your best choice for high-flow pumps. It comes in 1½” to 4″ diameter.

Flexible Kink-Free Tubing

The most popular and widely used water feature tubing, flexible kink-free tubing makes plumbing jobs a breeze as it requires few pipe cuts and unions. The heavy-duty tubing can withstand freezing temperatures and being buried. Connect the tubing with barbed and insert fittings and hose clamps rather than messy glue. We have it in ½” to 1½” diameter.

Flexible Black Vinyl Tubing

Ideal for smaller pumps, fountains and statuary, flexible black vinyl tubing is connected with insert fittings and hose clamps. It’s not sturdy enough to withstand being buried or left out in freezing temperatures. We carry 3/8″ to 1″ diameter tubing.

Get the most out of your new pump with the right tubing in the right size. You’ll be glad you did!

Pond Talk: Have you re-plumbed your pump or pond recently? What plumbing tips can you share from your experience?

Make Your Plumbing Job Easy - Flexible Kink-Free Tubing

I think there is a leak in my water garden, but how do I know? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I think there is a leak in my water garden, but how do I know?

Q: I think there is a leak in my water garden, but how do I know?

Abby – Pueblo, CO

A: What a conundrum! Determining whether you have a leak in your liner—and then finding and fixing it—can be a daunting task. But with a little detective work and these step-by-step instructions, your pond will be holding water again in no time.

A Leak or the Heat?

Let’s determine if you have a leaky pond in the first place. How much water are you losing per day? And what’s the temperature outside? On hot days, it’s common to lose up to an inch of volume from your water garden—but if it’s more than that, you may have a leak.

Finding the Leak

Common places for leaks to spring include around the pond’s perimeter, the area around your waterfall and pump, and your liner. When looking for the leak’s source, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Search for a Wet Spot: First, look for wet areas around the perimeter of your pond. Is water pooling somewhere? Are the weeds thicker or the grass lusher in one area than another? Check the low-lying areas where the liner may not be properly supported. If nothing looks amiss, head over to your waterfall pump.

Step 2 – Leak Check: The easiest way to determine whether the leak is in your liner or in your waterfall box is to turn off the waterfall pump (but keep your aeration going so the water stays aerated) and leave it alone for a few hours. When you come back:

  1. Is the water level the same? If so, your liner is not the culprit so you’ll need to check for problems with your waterfall box.
  2. Has the water level dropped? If so, you have a leaky liner. Jump to step 4.

Step 3 – Waterfall Worries: If your waterfall or waterfall box is the source of your leak, follow these steps to determine where the water could be escaping:

  1. Connections: First check the connections from the pump to the box. Are they loose and dripping, or are they tight?
  2. Cracks in the Box: Next, take a look at the waterfall box itself. Are there any cracks? Is the liner properly attached?
  3. Stream Leaks: Finally, inspect the rocks and liner around the waterfall and stream, making adjustments are needed. Try using some Waterfall Foam to stop water from flowing behind the rocks.

Step 4 – Your Leaky Liner: Finding a hole in a liner isn’t easy. But with a little perseverance, you can locate it and repair it. Here’s how:

  1. Track the Leak: Use Pond Logic® Pond Shade to visually track the leak. Simply add a few drops on the side and watch it as it finds its way to the leak. This will take some time, a few attempts—and patience.
  2. Let It Be: If you have trouble finding it with Pond Shade, let the water slowly go down. (Depending how low it goes, you may need to temporarily relocate your fish.) The water level should stabilize, which will allow you to visually inspect the first few inches of liner above the water surface for the hole.
  3. Repair the Leak: Once you find the hole, patch it up with self adhesive Liner Patch or use some Gold Label Pond Sealer.

Good luck with your search!

Pond Talk: Have you ever had a leak in your pond? How did you find out where it was coming from?

Control Water Flow - Atlantic® Waterfall Foam

I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Q: I am building a pond with a waterfall. With so many pump choices, how do I know what to choose?

Linda – Broomall, PA

A: Fun springtime project ahead! As you’re discovering, building a pond with a waterfall involves some planning and careful consideration—which includes selecting a waterfall pump. Your choice is important because it’ll determine how high you can make your waterfall and how much water will flow down it.

You want more than a trickle, right? Before you go pump shopping, crunch these numbers first:

1. Head Pressure

How high will your waterfall be? This measurement is your head pressure, which is the total number of feet from the top of your waterfall to the top of your pond’s surface. If you’re building a 5-foot-high waterfall, for instance, your head pressure is 5 feet.

Pro tip: If the tubing from your pump to the waterfall is longer than 10 feet, add 1 foot of head pressure for every 10 feet. So in the example above, if your tubing is 14 feet, the head pressure would be 6 feet.

2. Flow Rate

How much water do you want pouring over the falls? This number is your flow rate. The average flow rate is 1,500 gallons per hour for every 1 foot of waterfall width. If your 5-foot-high waterfall is 1 foot wide, you should go with a pump that moves around 1,500 GPH; if it’s 3 feet wide, you should go with a pump that moves 4,500 GPH or so.

Pro tip: If you prefer a lighter water flow, calculate 1,000 GPH for every 1 foot of waterfall width. For a heavier flow, use 2,000.

Going Shopping

With those numbers in hand, you should have a pretty good idea what kind of waterfall pump you’ll need to buy. To make the chore easier for you, we recommend:

For lower-flow waterfalls: If you’re designing a smaller waterfall, check out The Pond Guy® MagFlo™ Pump and The Pond Guy® SolidFlo™ Pump. The MagFlo™ line includes 290, 460 and 590 GPH models with maximum head of 6½ to 7½ feet; the low-profile SolidFlo™ line includes 600, 1,200 and 1,600 GPH models with maximum head of 8 to 11½ feet.

For higher-volume waterfalls: If you’ve got a mini-Niagara Falls in the works, you’ll need a beefier pump, like The Pond Guy® RapidFlo™ or the ShinMaywa® Norus® waterfall pumps. The RapidFlo™ comes in 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 GPH models with 20 to 32 feet of maximum head pressure. The Norus line includes 3,300 to 11,000 GPH models with maximum head of 19 to 48 feet.

Pond Talk: What advice would you give to someone choosing a waterfall pump?

Vreate Breathtaking Waterfalls & Streams - ShinMaywa® Norus® Waterfall Pumps

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? – Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Put It On The Patch

I realized today that my pond seems to have a leak. How could I find out? Cindy – Kirtland, NM

This Blog Has A Lot of Holes

Having a leak in your Pond Liner can be frustrating at best, but not being able to locate the source of the water loss can be maddening. While repairing a leak in your pond is never your ideal way to spend time at your water garden, knowing how to locate and stop your leaks can change an extremely bothersome job into a relatively smooth process.

Now You See It … Now You Don’t

It is normal to experience some water loss in your pond throughout the season. This is due to evaporation. In areas with warmer climates it is not uncommon to lose a couple of inches of water each week. While evaporation is a natural process it can still be annoying at times as it will require you to add water to your pond to maintain your normal water level. Installing an Auto Fill Valve in your skimmer will keep ensure your pond is always at your desired water level without you having to go out and physically fill it. For those of you who experience small water loss like this during your warmer seasons, feel free to let out a sigh of relief, there will be no leak hunting for you today.

Learn To Locate Your Leaks

Alliteration aside, if you are losing more than a few inches a water from your pond in a short time span it is time to sniff out these leaks and seal them up. The best way to find the source of your water loss is to start with the obvious as it may save you the time and trouble of moving the rocks in your pond, or worse, pulling up your plumbing.

Look For Low Edges or Overspill: Inspect the edges of your pond, waterfall, and stream bed. Make sure there is no water spilling over the edges of these areas and if you have tight turns in your stream make sure the water able to follow the curve without splashing out. Check for damp areas or pooling water outside of the pond for indications of such leaks. If the water level exceeds the level of your pond liner you will want to adjust the level of the overflow drain in your skimmer to maintain a shallower water body. If you are losing water from the falls or stream bed re-arrange the rocks to remove obstructions and create gentler curves.

Shut Down Your Pump: If your search for the obvious turns out uneventful it is time to check the pond area itself. Shut down your pumps and turn off your auto fill valve if you have one. If you experience significant water loss from the pond then you have now successfully narrowed the search for the leak. If you have fish in your pond you will want to run an alternate form of Aeration while your system is shut down as the process can take a day or two. If the leak is in the side of the pond liner the water level will drop to the height of the cut in your liner and stop. If the leak is in the bottom of the pond the pond will eventually empty out so make sure you are periodically checking in on your project.

Inspect Your Skimmer and Plumbing: If the water is successfully being held in the pond with the pump off the leak my be in the Skimmer Box or the plumbing itself. Inspect the skimmer box and try to locate a crack or hole. Inspect and tighten the fittings going from the skimmer box or pump to the Waterfall Box. Follow the tubing path and look for any water dampness in the ground. If there is, there’s a good chance coupler fittings are loose or you have a leak in the tubing.

Got Milk?

For the areas that make sense, you can use milk or Pond Shade and an eye dropper to visually track the flow of the water leaving the pond. Go along the edges of the pond and apply drops to pinpoint the area of the pond where your pond water is making its great escape. Move any rocks or plants in that area and get ready to show this leak whose boss.

Does Your Pond Need To Quit Leaking? Put It On The Patch.

Once you have located the cut in your pond liner clean off any dirt or debris from the general area. If the hole is a small cut or puncture you can use Underwater Pond Sealer to cover the area and stop the leak. You do not have to drain the pond to use this type of sealant as it will cure underwater, just make sure that you apply the product in a bead and do not press it flat. You can use the Underwater Pond Sealer to patch holes in your waterfall box and skimmer as well. For holes up to 5” you can also purchase a Patch Kit. These kits will come with an adhesive patch that attaches directly to your liner after you have cleaned it and made sure it is dry. If you have opened the flood gates and put a puncture larger than 5” in the pond you can purchase additional Pond Liner and some Seam Tape to repair the damage. The use of seam tape will also require you to clean and dry the areas of liner surrounding the hole. After applying Seam Tape, we recommend using Cover Tape to ensure the leak is secure. Regardless of which type of repair you use you will want to overlap the cut, tear, or hole by at least 1” to ensure an adequate seal.

Pond Talk: Have you ever had a leak in your water garden? How did you go about fixing it?

Underwater Pond Sealer - Works wet or dry!

How Do I Know What Tubing Size to Use? – Water Garden Q & A

Flex PVC Tubing

Q: How do I know what tubing size to use? I want to increase the water to my waterfall from 1,500 gph (gallon per hour) to almost 4,000 gph. I currently have 1″ tubing will this work? – Matt of Vermont

A: No. Your pump and tubing are currently sized correctly, but if you increase the water flow to 4,000 gph you will need to increase the tubing to see the benefits of your new pump. I would guess that you would not see more than 2,000 gph if you leave the 1″ tubing. When using a 4,000 gph pump, the proper tubing size to use would be 2″. A good way to think about tubing size is to imagine drinking from a straw. If you were to try to drink a glass of water with a cocktail straw it would take much longer than if you were to drink that same glass of water from a standard size straw. Over the years we have developed a chart to help our customer’s size their tubing. Please see below. To see our selection of plumbing and accessories, click here.

Up to 500 GPH: Use 1/2″ Tubing
Up to 900 GPH: Use 3/4″ Tubing
Up to 1,500 GPH: Use 1″ Tubing
Up to 2,700 GPH: Use 1-1/4″ Tubing

Up to 3,600 GPH: Use 1-1/2″ Tubing
Up to 5,400 GPH: Use 2″ Tubing
Up to 13,500 GPH: Use 3″ Tubing
Up to 21,000 GPH: Use 4″ Tubing
Up to 42,000 GPH: Use 6″ Tubing

Plumbing Tip: Try to avoid 90 degree turns for this will cause friction slowing down and reducing your water flow. We always recommend flexible PVC to avoid connections that can not only leak but cause friction loss reducing your water flow.

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