Dumb question RE water features

I know this is a stupid question, but I just don't know: Are water feature pumps, like those installed in small fountains, waterfalls or ponds, supposed to be left running all the time? I'm assuming they are, in order to prevent stagnation and the development of algae. If so, are they much of an impact on one's electric bill?
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Natty_Dread wrote:

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The tiny pumps for small fountains use 4 or 5 watts of power. You'd have to run more than a dozen of them to equal the power consumption of a single 60 watt lightbulb. The huge pumps for water features with waterfalls may consume in the 20 to 40 watt range. You're getting into some pretty significant hardware to get up to the range of consuming as much power as a lightbulb.
They can be run all the time, or you can put them on timers. I have one run on a water feature that has a leak someplace, and if I leave that pump on 24 hours a day, I have to refill the feature daily. My other water features generally need water added once a week in the summer, lest often in the cooler months. Evaporation takes it's toll, so if you leave it on -- or even have it on a timer -- you need to visually check it often enough that the pool it's pumping from doesn't drop too far. Fountains that spray water have greater evaporation, too.
The other factor is that eventually pumps wear out. The more they run, the sooner they rack-up a life's worth of hours. If you're talking about a small fountain pump next to your front door, $20 to replace every couple of years isn't that much. If you're talking about a big waterfall pump in your back yard, you may not want to spend upwards of $150 more than once a decade. On the other hand, your waterfall, steam and pond may be a mini-ecosystem that can't deal with the water stopped for long periods of time.
So it's not a stupid question. It's a fairly complex question that requires consideration of many variables to answer. But in my opinion, the impact on the electric bill is the least of the factors to consider.
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On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 11:23:00 -0500, "Natty_Dread"

Yes. Stagnant water stinks. The cost of running of pump will depend on the wattage of the pump (there are various sizes) and your local electric rate. More importantly, the pump filter will need to cleaned regularly.
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If the fountains are purely decorative, that is, no fish and no wildlife is going to drink or live in it, then no they dont have to be run and algaecides can be used.... even bleach to keep algae and bacteria down. however, in between is the use of a cheap air pump (wave castle at Kmart) with a couple airstones will stop the stagnation and smell. it uses so little energy. of course, at this time of the year pumps arent run in the frozen north. Ingrid
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I switch all my pumps off once the cold really sets not so much for energy-saving but because: Algae and waterbugs in your pond or filter box effectively die or hibernate in some form or other once the water temperture heads toward freezing. If the filter especially is not cleaned out before reuse all those dead, rotting organisms join your fish and can kill them. If fish are in your pond and the water is deep enough so it does not freeze each winter then any pump which circulates water will upset the natural thermal layers within the pond which all fish take advantage of during the winter which enable them to pull through.
I keep fish in my ponds simply to eat all water larvae that would otherwise turn into mosquitoes. This works and yet (somehow) I still enjoy masses of mayflies and dragonflies each summer so they may indeed use another source In March my cleaned pump, pipework and filter is switched back on just as the ground and water temps begin to rise. Regards Mike Gilmore WinsfordWalledGarden, SW England, USDA Zone9a
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