Q: I’m not running my waterfall over the winter. How do I shut it down?
Valerie – Smithsburg, MD
A: You want to shut down your waterfall for the season? You’re not alone. When the outdoor temperatures dip, most people don’t spend a lot of time lounging outside by their pond enjoying the sound of running water.
Though a pond with ice formations can create a beautiful scene, shutting down your waterfall or stream when it’s not in use for the winter is a great way to save some money, prolong the life of your equipment, and prevent ice dams from forming and potentially draining your pond.
Putting your waterfall to bed for the winter can be done in just a couple of hours – or less if you have a helper. Here, we’ve outlined four simple steps to make the chore easy:
- First, remove the pump from your pond. Store it in a 5-gallon bucket filled with water in a place that will not freeze, like your garage or basement, so the seals do not dry out.
- Next, blow out your tubing with an air compressor. Though most tubing will be OK if water freezes in it, it’s still a good idea to blast away all the gunk and debris that could be in there. Don’t forget to cap it off to ensure no water or debris enters the tubing.
- If your pump is in a skimmer box, drain the water to slightly below the weir door. You can also place a milk carton or 2-Liter bottle about ¼ filled into the skimmer. This will alleviate some ice pressure on the skimmer walls.
- If you have biological filter media in your waterfall box, spray the filter media off with a hose to remove built-up gunk, and pump the water out of waterfall box and scrub it down. The filter media will be fine stored in the waterfall box for the winter.
Because your waterfall will be turned off and not oxygenating the water for your fish, don’t forget to run an aeration system. Airmax® PondAir™ Aeration Kit is ideal for infusing O2 into ponds up to 2,000 gallons; Airmax® KoiAir™ Aeration Kit handles ponds up to 16,000 gallons. Both are energy-efficient and can be run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Have you ever run your waterfall or stream all winter long? What was your experience?
Filed under: Aeration - WG, Oxygen Depletion, Seasonal Care, Water Gardens & Features, Waterfall, WG-Winterizing Tagged: | fall prep, freezing pond, freezing water, Seasonal Care, shut down waterfall, water garden winterization, water garden winterizing, Waterfall, winter waterfall