• Archives

  • Categories

  • Pages

The water level in my pond keeps dropping below my skimmer opening. What should I do? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: The water level in my pond keeps dropping below my skimmer opening. What should I do?

Q: The water level in my pond keeps dropping below my skimmer opening. What should I do?

Charles – Bellingham, MA

A:  That’s a problem, for sure! Let’s take a look at some reasons why your water level is dropping below your skimmer opening in the first place. One of them could point to your solution.

 

Reason #1: Wrong Pump Size
Skimmers are rated for maximum water flow. If your pump exceeds this rating, the water will leave the skimmer faster than it enters—and you’ll be left with a low water level. Check your pump to be sure it’s sized correctly for your skimmer.

Reason #2: Accumulated Debris
Is your skimmer’s filter mat plugged? Nets and media pads catch a majority of debris as the water passes through your skimmer (which you then clean out several times a year), but some of it may fall to the bottom. That debris could then plug your filter mat and prevent water from getting to your pump. It could also cause a water backup, allowing water to escape from other areas of your pond. When you pull out your filter pad, check for debris buildup in the skimmer bottom.

Reason #3: Skimmer Height
If your skimmer is set at the wrong height, that could cause problems, too. It should be set so that the natural water line of the pond when filled is about an inch below the top of the skimmer opening. If it’s set where the water level is lower, small fluctuations in the water level can make a big difference. Check your skimmer height and adjust as needed.

Reason #4: Too-Low Overflows
If you installed an overflow in your skimmer, make sure the overflow’s bottom is not lower than where the water level should be. Otherwise, you will have issues when you have small fluctuations in your pond’s water level. Check to be sure any built-in overflows are positioned at the right height to allow water to drain from the skimmer.

Reason #5: A Leak
Dropping water levels could indicate a leak, so check around your pond for pooling water. Here, we outline in detail how to find and repair a leak.

Reason #6: Evaporation
The sun’s evaporation power can play a role in your waning water levels, too. If this becomes a problem over time, you can install an auto-fill valve to refill your pond when it gets low. At the very least, install an automatic shutoff switch; if water depletes to a certain point, the pump will switch off automatically.

Good luck figuring out this mystery!

Pond Talk: Have you ever been stumped by the cause of falling water levels in your pond?

Protect Pumps From Low Water - ProPlumber™ Pump Shut-Off Switch

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!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 185 other followers