A natural or human-made pond increases property values and can become an excellent area for entertaining or thoroughly enjoying nature. Although pond water does not flow, pond fountains can help keep it healthy by circulating water and disbursing it as a lovely fountain.
There is a cost involved in running and maintaining the pumps that create fountains, but they can be turned off to lower electric bills. Although pumps are keeping ponds healthy while they are running, they do not necessarily need to be on 24/7. Quality manufacturers offer pumps that can be turned off every day without causing problems. In fact, they are designed for that.
Understanding How Pond Fountains Work
To decide whether to run a pump continuously, homeowners need to be clear about what their fountains are meant to do. Fountains generally have two primary functions; to act as decorative features and to aerate and circulate water.
- Decorative Value: Providers sell a wide range of fountain systems that can be configured to create custom spray patterns. Many homeowners add lights that turn fountains into dazzling nighttime displays. Although all fountains generate an attractive spray, some are designed primarily for aesthetics. Others move far more water and are meant to help keep water healthy.
- Aerating Functions: The beautiful spray created by a pond pump is a side effect. The pump’s primary purpose is to pull up stagnant water and then oxygenate it by creating a spray. The process also increases circulation, creating a healthier pond. Fountains designed for aerating provide more gallons per minute of water movement. Those with V-shaped patterns offer the most aeration.
What Happens When Fountains Are Not Running
Pumps only improve the quality of pond water when they are running. Once they are turned off, no new oxygen is introduced, and water quickly becomes stagnant.
There is typically no danger in shutting pumps off at night. However, they should be run often since non-moving water can soon become a mosquito breeding ground.
It is recommended that homeowners living in milder climates keep pumps running 24/7 year-round. Those in areas with freezing winter temperatures might want to turn off pumps and store them somewhere dry for the winter to prevent them from freezing and being damaged. Fountain pump experts suggest that owners monitor weather reports and turn off pumps when temperatures dip below 32.
Those in climates where the pond water freezes over for winter will want to remove their fountains before the winter, store them, and put them back in the pond in early spring. It is not possible to keep a fountain on a frozen pond since they will get damaged and must be stored.
SFGate experts say that removing a fountain before freezing weather begins can also simplify maintenance. Some suggest emptying concrete or above-ground ponds of all water at the first sign of cold weather. Without water, there is less chance of cracks forming or ice damaging a pond lining.
The Benefits of Running Fountains Continuously
Fountain pumps are made to run 24/7, so there is no harm in keeping them on at all times. Per the experts at Lake and Wetland Management, continuously running fountains:
- Reduces algae growth: As fountains aerate the water, they mix algae spores into deeper areas, depriving them of the sunlight they need to thrive.
- Eliminates terrible odors: Aeration moves water from a pond’s surface to the bottom. The process oxygenates bottom water, reducing foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas
- Creates a healthy ecosystem for aquatic life: As water is circulated and oxygenated, a pond’s health improves and becomes a better home for the plants and animals living in it.
- Reduces mosquito populations: Mosquitos can only lay eggs in still water, and a fountain keeps water moving, which makes it natural mosquito control.
- Minimizes bottom sediment accumulation: Organic matter decomposes slowly when pond water is low in oxygen. It falls to the bottom, forming thick sediment. Aerating ponds reduces organic settlement accumulation.
- Allows beneficial bacteria to thrive: Constant aeration helps ponds maintain beneficial bacteria needed to control phosphates and nitrogen from fish and plant waste.
- Adds beauty to properties: A fountain creates an eye-catching display that some homeowners enhance with lights.
It Is Possible to Control the Costs of Running a Fountain
The costs of maintaining a fountain are almost zero, and it is possible to control electrical costs by controlling the number of hours pumps run each day. Every fountain includes a timer that allows users to set the time of day they want to turn it on or off.
While running fountains does increase electric charges, the additional cost is not as much as many people believe. The key is to choose a pump that moves the required amount of water while using minimal watts.
When a pond fountain is a primary aeration source, homeowners need at least 1.5 hp per each acre of water. If the fountain is just for decorative purposes, then 1.0 hp per acre is usually sufficient, however it is really subjective based upon how tall and wide of a spray the pond owner desires.
To get an idea of how much a pump will increase an electric bill, divide the pump’s watts by 1000 and multiply the figure by 24 (hours.) Using this method, running a 300-watt pump 24/7 for 30 days would cost $17.28.
The size of a pond can impact energy use. One small, efficient pump will do for a modest backyard pond. Homeowners with large ponds typically buy a single fountain and choose a model that works best for their pond’s size.
Fortunately, suppliers offer a wide variety of energy-efficient pumps that use minimal electricity. Some brands that once cost $100 a month to run now cost about $12 per month. The number of pumps designed to minimize electric consumption is continuously increasing.
Pond fountains can keep water healthy and function as beautiful water features. Although fountains need to run often to keep water healthy, they may be turned off to conserve electricity. Most homeowners need a single fountain, even if they have a large pond. The cost of maintaining and running fountains is minimal, and owners can choose from several energy-efficient pumps that help lower energy costs.