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Can I move my diffuser plates all to the shallow end of the pond so I can skate on the other side? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Can I move my diffuser plates all to the shallow end of the pond so I can skate on the other side?

Q: Can I move my diffuser plates all to the shallow end of the pond so I can skate on the other side?

Adam – Locust Valley, NY

A: Though it would be nice to have the best of both worlds, a pond that’s aerated with diffuser plates is not safe for ice skating. Here’s why:

The reason you run a diffuser through the winter is to aerate the pond and move the water surface to maintain a hole in the ice, allowing for gas exchange. This ensures the water in your lake is well-circulated and your game fish and other underwater inhabitants have enough oxygen to get them through the cold season.

The trouble is that the ice that forms on the surface of water that has been moving for even a short time can be porous and not suitable for skating. Even movement on one end of the lake and not the other can make the ice at the edges unsafe.

If you want to use your pond for skating, plan in advance. Before the ice forms:

  1. Shut your aeration system down completely. It’s critical to do this before the ice starts to build on your pond’s or lake’s surface for the safety of those who will skate on the pond.
  2. Stow components away. Your airline and plate may stay in the pond, but the system’s cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to prevent condensation and rusting.
  3. Have an emergency plan, just in case. While you’re prepping your lake for ice skating fun, now’s a good time to make sure you have water safety items available, too, like a Taylor Made Life Ring. If the ice breaks, a safety preserver like this can save someone’s life.

Even if ice skating isn’t your thing, it’s still important to follow this all-or-nothing aeration strategy. Running your system “part time” could cause condensation in the unit from the hot compressor cooling, causing rust to form. It could also allow moisture to get into the airline, which could then freeze.

Bottom line: If you plan on skating on your lake or running your aeration system “part time” for whatever reason, it’s best to shut it down completely. Otherwise, keep it running all season to ensure good water quality for your fishes.

Pond Talk: What’s your favorite wintertime activity at your pond or lake?

Promote Pond Safety - Taylor Made Life Rings

During the summer, I run my aeration system all the time. Can I just run it part-time during the winter so the pond will freeze for skating? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

During the summer, I run my aeration system all the time. Can I just run it part-time during the winter so the pond will freeze for skating?During the summer, I run my aeration system all the time. Can I just run it part-time during the winter so the pond will freeze for skating?

Klaus – Columbia, MO

If you’re the least inclined to use your pond for ice skating during the winter months, there’s only one way to go – and it doesn’t involve aeration.

Lots of pond owners choose to keep their aerators up and running during the winter months. It’s a logical choice – particularly when the pond is inhabited year ‘round by fish – because the aerator prevents the pond from freezing fully, allowing potentially gases produced by organic matter decomposition to escape. But for people who put a premium on ice skating, any aeration is a no-no.

Why? Because aerators keep water moving. And when water is moving, ice has a tough time forming. When it does form on an aerated pond, the ice is extremely porous, and nowhere near as strong as the solid ice that forms on still water. As a result, an aerated pond is never safe for skating – even if the aeration is sporadic. That’s the primary reason we recommend the ready availability of our Taylor Made 20” Life Rings to provide an added measure of safety for anyone who ventures onto the weakened ice.

So, if you choose to skate, it’s wise to shut down your aeration system completely. You can leave your airline and plate in the pond, but the cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to prevent condensation and rusting.

If you love to skate, skate safely. And enjoy your pond with confidence all year long.

Pond Talk: Do you use your pond for skating in the winter?

Taylor Made 20 Inch Life Rings

We just had a large pond dug behind our new home. What’s required for safety? | Pond & Lakes Q&A

We just had a large pond dug behind our new home. What’s required for safety?

We just had a large pond dug behind our new home. What’s required for safety?

Dan – Toldeo, OH

Whether you’re talking about a pool, a lake, or a backyard pond, the importance of water safety can’t be overstated. That’s why a few simple steps now will make it a whole lot easier to enjoy your new pond safely later on.

The first step you should take is to consult with your town office. Because residential water features – including both ponds and pools – may prove attractive to people and animals ill-equipped to use them safely, state and local authorities often draft rules and regulations to protect the public from themselves. Many of those regulations require certain types of fencing around the water feature, and the conspicuous presence of personal flotation devices nearby. So check with your town office. Ask them what regulations apply to your water feature. Then follow those regulations to a “T.”

Once you’ve satisfied state and local regulations, a little common sense can go a long way toward ensuring the safe enjoyment of your pond. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:

Show your respect. No matter how shallow or how small, a pond can pose a risk to a small child, non-swimmers, and pets. When someone who fits in one of those categories is near your pond, keep a watchful eye out for their wellbeing.

Teach your children. Kids are naturally drawn toward water – and a backyard pond is downright irresistible. Be sure to tell your kids and their friends that they’re never to go in or near the water without an adult. As an added precaution, make sure they know how to find, and how to use, safety gear.

Maintain safety gear. Keep flotation devices in conspicuous locations – and in easy reach. Our 20” Life Ring and Mounting Kit is easy to install, and could save a life.

Never, ever swim alone. This one requires no explanation. Just don’t do it.

Keep your pond clean. Clear, debris-free water is much safer (and more appealing) than muck. When you install and maintain proper aeration and clear debris regularly, your pond will be safer and more satisfying on every level.

So check with the local authorities. Follow the rules. Use common sense. And above all else, enjoy. With a few simple precautions, your pond will give you and your family years of safe satisfaction.

Pond Talk: How do you promote safety around your pond?

Life Ring