Troubleshooting Your Pond Pump
Your pond pump is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your pond, so why not learn how to take care of it properly? Oftentimes, pumps burn out or die prematurely due to improper care and installation. By knowing how to take care of your pump, you can ensure it will last several years.
Issue: Pump Hums but Pushes Very Little Water
Possible Cause: Impeller may be seized by debris
Troubleshooting: Unplug and remove the pump from the pond and inspect the pump intake to ensure there is no debris restricting the impeller. Remove any debris, like rocks or sticks, which may have become lodged around and above impeller.
While the pump is still out of the pond, lay it on its side and plug in the pump to see if the impeller spins. If the impeller does not spin, use a screwdriver or similar tool to kick start the impeller.
Possible Cause: Pump may be air-locked.
Troubleshooting: Air has gotten into the impeller chamber. Tilt the pump while it’s in the pond to allow air to be released from the chamber or remove the pump from the pond and re-install, ensuring that the impeller chamber is flooded with water.
Issue: Pump Pushes Very Little Water
Possible Cause: Plumbing clogged with debris.
Troubleshooting: Disconnect the pump from the pipe. This will allow the plumbing to drain. Clogged debris may back-flush out of the plumbing and into the pond during this procedure. Inspect the plumbing to make sure no debris is lodged inside.
Issue: Pump Is Not Running
Possible Cause: Poor electrical connection, tripped breaker, blown fuse, or other interruption in power supply.
Troubleshooting: Check to make sure all electrical connections are working and that a qualified electrician installed and tested it. Note – Long extension cords may cause voltage drop at the pump and the amps to rise above maximum level. This can cause the pump to heat up and burn out the motor.
Issue: Pump Operates Intermittently
Possible Cause: Not enough water in the pond.
Troubleshooting: Most pumps must be submersed in water to operate properly. Low water levels may cause the pump’s internal thermal shut-off to activate. The thermal shut-off will deactivate once the pump is cooled down. The proper water level must be established in the pond for the pump to work properly.
Possible Cause: The pond is too small to support the volume of water needed for the stream.
Troubleshooting: The pond must be designed to provide enough water to the stream and waterfalls for proper circulation. When the pump is first started, it may be necessary to add a few inches of water to the pond in order to account for the water used to feed the stream and waterfalls. Upper pools and “check” dams in the streams are also very effective at holding water upstream when the pump(s) are not operating. Ponds that are too small may not be able to supply enough water to start the streams and waterfalls. This will cause the water in the pond to drop below the opening of the skimmer upon initial start-up and starve the pump of water.
Remember, your pond should not be an endless source of frustration and confusion to you. If you continue to have problems with your pond, regardless of the troubleshooting steps you performed, it may be time to call in the help of a professional.
But please, don’t consider routine, general maintenance to be a burden on you. After all, how many tasks do you get to perform in the warm sun, with the sounds of frogs and birds all around you, and your friendly koi nibbling at your fingers? And how often are you tempted to take your shoes off and dip your toes in the bathtub when you’ve been cooped up in the house washing windows? Not often. That’s why you installed your pond. Enjoy it!
Watch our Pump Troubleshooting video for more tips on maintaining your water feature pump.