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If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Q: If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it?

Q: If I’m going to shut my aerator down for the winter, when should I do it?

Syd – Jackson, WY

A: Ice skating, hockey, curling, broomball, ice fishing—part of the joy of having your own pond or lake is all the wintertime sports that can be played on the ice. These frosty, fun activities are the main reason why folks shut down their aerator for the winter, as keeping one running will create a hole in the ice and make the ice sheet unstable.

If you plan to turn your lake into an ice rink this year, turn off, pull out and store your aerator before the ice begins to form. Why? Because if ice that forms on the water surface has been moving for even a short time, it 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.

Here’s the shutdown process we recommend:

  1. Unplug and 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 the cabinet and compressor away. Your airline and plate may stay in the pond, but the system’s cabinet and compressor should be stored indoors to keep dry and prevent condensation and rusting.
  3. Cover flex tube and airlines ends. Doing so will prevent debris from entering and plugging up the airlines.
  4. 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.

If you’re not using your pond for winter activities, keep your Airmax® Aeration System operating all season long so your fish will survive a winter fish kill caused by lack of oxygen. Don’t forget to move your diffuser plates out of the deepest water. This will give your finned friends a safe zone and prevent the super-cooling effect that happens in the chilled winter water.

Pond Talk: What are your favorite wintertime sports?

Be Prepared for any Pond Scenario - Taylor Made Life Rings

What Do I Do With My Bubbler Aeration System During the Winter? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of Winter Aeration in a Pond.

Q: I have a bubbler aeration system in my pond. What do I do with it in the Winter? Do I take it out? – Jack of Maine

A: I recommend leaving the bubbler aeration system running throughout the entire Winter. Running the aeration system during the Winter is as important as running the system during the hot Summer months.

Preventing Winter Fish Kills with Aeration: The problem with not running your system during the Winter is the increased probability of have a Winter fish kill come Spring. A Winter fish kill is when toxic gases from dying or rotting vegetation accumulate underneath the ice. With no hole in the ice to allow for these gases to escape, the fish can suffocate.

The Proper Time to Remove the Bubbler Aeration System: If you plan to ice skate on the pond or if you have quite a bit of snowmobile traffic on the pond, then I would strongly recommend not running the bubbler aeration system at all during the Winter.

Removing the aeration system is simple. Disconnect the airline(s) attached  to the cabinet and compessor. Cap the airline(s) or use duct tape to ensure no dirt or water can get into them. Store the cabinet and compressor in a cool, dry place. The diffuser at the bottom of the pond is fine to leave in there throughout the Winter. There is no need to remove it.