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I’m loosing water even after turning off my waterfall, but I don’t see any evidence of a leak. Help! | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Q: I’m losing water even after turning off my waterfall, but I don’t see any evidence of a leak. Help!

Q: I’m loosing water even after turning off my waterfall, but I don’t see any evidence of a leak. Help!

Paul – Cherry Hill, NJ

A:  Missing water, eh? Well, there are several logical explanations for your “Case of the Disappearing Water” pond mystery. This time of year, a water feature will lose water for all sorts of reasons, including:

  • Humidity Levels: When the humidity levels are low and the air contains little moisture, the dry atmosphere will act like a sponge, increasing evaporation rates and absorbing the water from your pond.
  • Windy Weather: Breezes are common during autumn, and those winds can also escalate evaporation in your pond. A 5-mile-per-hour wind at your pond’s surface, for example, results in roughly three times the evaporation rate on a still day!
  • Leaky Liner: Leaks can be tricky. Your pond and waterfall may appear to be leak-free, but a slow, inconspicuous one could have formed in your plumbing, or one could have happened after some rocks shifted. Take a look at this article for tips on finding and fixing a leak.
  • Freezing and Thawing: Though freezing temperatures are rare this time of year, ice formation and expansion can happen—and it can cause your pond’s volume to look like it’s changing. As the water freezes, it’ll take up more space than liquid water and appear to be disappearing when it’s really not.

So what can you do about the disappearing water?

First of all, if you haven’t already, shut down fountains, spitters, waterfalls and other extra water features. This will reduce splashing that can lead to water loss. Remember: The more surface area, the more loss from evaporation, so reduce surface area by keeping the surface water still.

Next, keep the pond filled by topping your water levels off with a garden hose—particularly on dry, windy days when evaporation is at its peak. Winter weather will eventually bring icy temperatures and frozen hoses, so keep a thermostatically controlled Thermo-Hose™ handy to ensure the water inside the hose stays liquid. The built-in heating elements turn on when the temperatures dip below freezing, preventing ice from forming. If you are refilling with tap water don’t forget to add Water Conditioner.

Finally, for your pond’s and your fishes’ health, install an aeration system to keep the water circulated below the pond’s surface. An easy-to-install system like the PondAir™ & Thermo-Pond De-Icer Combo will gently aerate and pump oxygen into the water while keeping a hole open in the ice to allow for gas exchange.

Water loss is common, but with these tricks you can minimize the evaporation while maintaining your pond over the fall and winter.

Pond Talk: How much evaporation do you measure in your pond during the fall months?

Top Off Ponds & Water Features - K&H™ Thermo-Hose™

5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tips on identifying leaks….and you are definitely right about evaporation – it is amazing how much water can be lost under the ‘right’ atmospheric conditions!

  2. The one option you don’t mention, is if there is a tree or plant root invasion. I had roots growing into my pond at a variety of places that sucked so much water out, more so during the summertime than during the winter. But still it decrease my water level substantially. It took cutting back all the roots to lessen the loss.

    • I’m glad you were able get to the “root” of the problem Gary. Sometimes the issue isn’t with the pond at all. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Do I need to keep my waterfall going in the winter,its a 3000 gal pond w/about 50 goldfish.Can the goldfish survive w/o it???The pond clean u sent worked wonders,do I need to put barley in come the spring??

    • Hi Don,

      It is not necessary to keep the waterfall going during the winter as it is tough make sure there is no damage or waterloss from frozen or diverted water. What you do need to do though is provide ventilation holes in the ice to let gas out and oxygen in. A small bubbler and de-icer sized appropriately for your pond will take care of this without running your pump and waterfall. Come spring you can get the pond cleaned up and get back on your regular routine with the waterfall, barley and other pond treatments.

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