A question that gets asked a lot from people building their very first garden pond to the more experienced pond keeper is, do I need to run my pond pump all the time.
The answer is down to the type of pond you have, if it’s an ornamental pond with no fish or a wildlife pond with maybe a couple of fish then the answer is probably not, if you intend to keep a fair amount of fish in your pond then yes you will need to operate the pump all the time, 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Pond pumps are there for a reason, they circulate the water through a filter to keep the water clean and clear from toxins, if the pump isn’t running the pump isn’t doing it’s job and the water quality suffers.
They also stop your pond from stagnating and provide oxygen for your fish, so why would you turn your pump off.
Your biological filter is teaming with bacteria that cleans up the toxins in the water, turning of the pump will starve the filter of oxygen killing off the bacteria and when you turn the pump back on all the dead bacteria is pumped into your pond, not nice.
The advice given below is for pond keepers that have a good stock of fish, if you don’t have fish in your pond or you have a wildlife pond you can use a pump when and if you want too.
We also have an article on the position of your submersible pond pump which might interest you.
I have multiple pumps, do I need to keep them on all of the time.
If you have more than one pump in your pond then chances are you can turn some off.
If you have a dedicated pond pump that only runs through your filter system this would need to be run 24/7, if you have another dedicated pump that just runs a water feature such as a fountain or waterfall you can turn that one on and off whenever you want as long as you leave the filter pump running.
It not a bad idea to have separate pumps for your filter system and for water features as you can turn of the water feature pump during the night to keep the noise down and save money.
How much does it cost to run a pond pump continuously.
As you know pumps need electricity to power them, so how much is it going to cost to run one, the exception to this rule is solar powered pumps but as these are not powerful too use in a filtration system we will rule them out.
Each pump should come with the amount of watts it uses to run stamped on them and these are what’s used to determine how much of your hard-earned cash it’s going to cost to run one.
To work out how much a pump is going to cost to run non-stop for 24 hours you need a couple of figures, you need the wattage of the pump and the cost of a kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity.
Once you have found these you need to divide the wattage of the pump by 1000 to give you the kWh which you then multiply by 24 (the hours of the day) to give you the kWh used per day, you then times the result with the cost of the kWh from you electricity suppler and that will give you the cost to run a pump for 24 hours.
Once you have this figures you can use them to work out how much it will cost to run a pond pump for a week, a month and a year by multiplying the figures, so if you want to know how much it costs to run a pump for a year multiply the amount by 365.
Manufactures of pond pumps have been putting a lot of effort into making them as efficient as possible over the last number of years with ECO models costing less to run so if you are buying a new pump look out for these more efficient ones to save you money.
Can I turn my pond pump off overnight to save money.
No, if you want to keep your pond water clean and clear you have no option than to run your pump overnight, but there is something you can do to reduce the cost.
Reducing the flow rate of your water overnight will save you a bit of money but still keep your filters working and your pond clear and oxygenated.
If you can get to your pump and reduce the flow rate all well and good, as long as you remember to turn the flow rate back up again in the morning you could do it this way, but there is an easier way of doing it with a variable flow digitally operated filter pump like this PondXpert Variflow 10000 pond pump from pondkeeper.co.uk it’s also available on Amazon.co.uk you can also choose one of the larger 20000 or 30000 models, the numbers dictate the maximum flow rate.
These variable flow digital pumps have the ability to change the flow rate at the touch of a button and can be set up to lower the flow rate overnight.
You can get away with reducing the flow rate overnight because your fish are less active, using less oxygen and producing less waste plus your plants won’t be taking up as much oxygen.
Should I leave my pond pump running over winter.
Yes you should keep your pump running over the winter if at all possible, the exceptions is down to the equipment that you are using and how severe the weather is.
If you have equipment that is unprotected from severe winter weather there is a possibility these will freeze up and break fittings, so if you know there is going to be a big freeze it might be a good idea to turn off your pump until the freeze passes.
One of the reasons for keeping a pond pump running over the winter months is to stop the pond freezing over, they do this by having constant moving water and a waterfall is great way at stopping water freezing as the water falls from the edge of the waterfall into the pond water keeping it from freezing.
If you do turn your pump off use an air pump to to keep a hole in the ice and keep the pond oxygenated.
If you keep your submersible pump running over the winter raise it off the bottom of the pond and sit it on a couple of bricks, this stops the warmer water at the bottom of the pond where your fish stay during the winter months being circulated with the colder water above.
We do have another article on using a pump in the winter which you might like to read
How long do pond pumps last if they are running all the time.
This is a hard question to answer as all pumps are not created equal and each application is different.
Looking at the guarantee that the manufactures use doesn’t mean it’s only going to last that long, in fact they usually last a lot longer, so that doesn’t help in determining how long they will last.
How much maintenence the pump receives plays a big part on how long it will last, so regular maintenance could prolong the life of your pump.
We would expect a pond pump running non-stop 24 hours a day to last at least 3 years but could easily last as much as 15 years, unfortunately there is no definite answer, but we think you should get 5 years plus from a good quality pump.
How long can fish survive without a pond pump.
If your pond pump fails your fish should be OK for a few days but it does depend on how many fish are in your pond and if you have an air pump.
If you only have few fish in a large pond they will survive much better than having a lot of fish in a small pond because the more fish you have the more oxygen is needed and the more waste is produced, so without a pump your fish are going to suffer.
If you have an air pump this will supply oxygen to your fish to help them but is no substitute for a pond pump feeding a filter which will also remove the toxic chemicals and keep the water balance.