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?
Happy Holidays to all!
Better a bleeding heart than no heart at all.
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.
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
If the fountains are purely decorative, that is, no fish and no wildlife is
drink or live in it, then no they dont have to be run and algaecides can be
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.
course, at this time of the year pumps arent run in the frozen north. Ingrid
Are water feature
List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List
Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame
Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other
compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the
endorsements or recommendations I make.
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
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.
WinsfordWalledGarden, SW England,
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