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I’m looking to cut back on energy costs. Can I shut off my waterfall at night? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: I’m looking to cut back on energy costs. Can I shut off my waterfall at night?

Q: I’m looking to cut back on energy costs. Can I shut off my waterfall at night?

Gita – San Tan Valley, AZ

A: Energy costs have certainly been on the incline lately, and so it makes perfect sense to search for ways to save some of your hard-earned cash. If you must – though it’s not ideal – you can shut off your waterfall at night as long as you have your aeration system operating. It’ll keep the oxygen flowing overnight.

However, consider the hidden costs that you could be incurring:

Dealing with Poor Fish Health:

Still, quiet water – even just during the overnight hours – means that fewer water molecules are circulating and making contact with oxygen-rich air at the pond’s surface. The stagnant water will be unable to release dangerous gases, like ammonia, and absorb life-giving oxygen. That could cause your fishes’ immune systems to suffer, which could lead to disease or worse.

Replacing Beneficial Bacteria:

For your filtration system to remove contaminants from the water, it needs moving water flowing through it – so if your pump is off, your water’s not moving. If all the water drains out of your filter, you could wind up with a loss of the beneficial bacteria that live on the media inside, which means you’ll need to replace them later.

Managing Algae Blooms:

Moving water helps to keep debris suspended in the water column and pulled through the skimmer and filter for efficient removal. But if the pump is turned off, that debris will settle to the bottom of the pond and build up, creating a dense food source for nuisances like algae. When it starts to bloom, it’ll take your time, energy and some algaecide to clear up – which can equal a pretty penny.

Pond pump manufacturers understand that water gardeners are concerned about operating costs, so many of the designs on the market today, including the RapidFlo™ and MagFlo™ Pump, are energy efficient and consume relatively little electricity. Pumps that used to cost $100 a month or more to run have been replaced by models that cost as little as $12 a month. Now that’s some serious savings!

Pond Talk: Besides shutting down your waterfall pump at night, what are some other ways you’ve cut water garden expenses?

Breathe Life Into Your Pond - Airmax (r) PondAir(t) Aeration Kits

What Do I Do With My Pond Pump During the Winter? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of a Pump in a Skimmer.

Q: I plan to shut down my water garden in the Winter. What do I do with the pump? Do I just leave it in the water garden or do I remove it? – Don of New York

A: This is one of the top questions I get heading into the Late Fall and Winter months.

Remove the Pump: If you plan to shut down your water garden for the Winter months, I would suggest you remove the pump entirely. If you leave the pump in the water garden it has the potential to freeze, which can cause irreversible damage.

Keep the Pump Submerged When Storing: Remove the pump, submerge it into a 5-gallon bucket filled with water. Store the bucket in a place where the water will not freeze (i.e. basement, heated garage, etc.). If you don’t keep the pump submerged in water and it dries out, there is a possibility that the seals inside the pump could crack causing the pump not to work properly later on.

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.

How Do I Properly Size a Pump to Create the Waterfall I’m Looking For? – Water Garden Q & A

Picture of a Waterfall

Q: How do I properly size a pump to create the waterfall I’m looking for? – Several Customers

A: We get this question asked to us quite a bit. The following process will help you in determing the correct pump size for a waterfall:

Step 1: Determine the Head Pressure (Head)

Head equals the total number of feet from theCalculating Pump Size Chart top of the waterfall to the water’s surface. For example: Let’s say that height is equal to 5′.

Step 2: Determining Desired Water Flow
In general, you will need 1,500 gallons per hour (gph) for every 1-foot of waterfall discharge for an average flow. The discharge is considered where the water enters back into the pond. For example: Let’s say the width of our waterfall is 2′. This would mean we need a pump of approximately 3,000 gph.

Step 3: Putting It All Together
In our example, our head pressure is 5′ and the approximate gph of our desired pump is 3,000 gph. This means would need a pump that would pump 3,000 gph at 5′ of head.

Other Notes:

  • For a heavy waterfall flow, use 2,000 gph per foot of waterfall discharge.
  • For a lighter waterfall flow, use 1,000 gph per foot of waterfall discharge.
  • If the tubing from the pump to the waterfall is greater than 10′ then it is recommended to add 1 foot of head for every 10′ of tubing.
  • We also have a calculator on our website to help calculate this formula for you. Click here to view the calculator.
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