“Thinking about buying
fountain and pond pumps?
Here are important factors
to keep in mind.”
Which Pump Should You Buy?
Dimensions of Pump
First, you need to know if a given pump will fit in the space you have. If the pump needs to fit in a 6” long x4”wide x4” tall area, then make sure the pump you order is not larger in size! It seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget.
Pump Flow and “Head”
You also need to know how many gallons of water you need at what height. The height the water is being pushed from the water’s surface is referred to as “head.” A pump pushing from the surface of the water to its outlet 1’ above the surface will pump much more water than it will at 4’ of head.
Pump “Head” is usually listed in a table, as shown below, or in a curved figure:
You can see in this table that the pump has a maximum flow of 310 gallons per hour at 0” of “head,” which is the distance from the SURFACE (not the bottom) of the water to the water feature’s outlet. At 24” of head it has a flow of about 250 gph, at 60” approximately 150 gph.
Remember, the wider the diameter of tubing going from the pump to the top of the display, the higher the flow rate.
Okay, but how many gallons per hour do you need?
It’s always best to follow fountain manufacturers’ instructions. But many of you “inherited” your fountains or bought them at trade shows, etc. In that case, you have no manufacturer to contact.
Small tabletop fountains normally work best with very small fountain pumps, often 40gph. These are also the quietest and take very little space.
For three-feet tall fountains, typically an 250 or 300gph pump will work the best. But it’s hard to say for sure Some fountains require lots of flow to look right. Also, you must consider how tall the water feature is (what “head” will be required).
For waterfalls, the standard recommendation in the field is 100 gallons per hour for every inch of width of the spillway. Thus, for a five-foot tall waterfall with a one-foot wide spillway, a pump that is pushing up 1200 gallons of hour at five-foot head (lift) is recommended. For more “roar,” double that. Keep in mind that artificial waterfalls made of resin might need more or less, depending on how they were manufactured.
The material of a fountain is also a factor. Wall fountains made of slate or glass normally need less powerful pumps. For those, the customer usually just wants a thin sheet of water to run down the sheet of stone or glass. But again, we can only guess. Manufacturers of these fountains learn through trial and error which pump size works best.
What if you have a small 100-2000 gallon pond?
It depends whether you have fish. If you have fish, you ought to try to circulate your pond water once every hour. A 300-gallon pond needs a 300 gph pump flow. If you do not have fish, in general the recommendation is once every two hours.
Is it necessary to maintain your pump?
Yes, for longer pump life, you need to remove the impeller periodically and wash it under a faucet and re-install. This is normally an easy process. Instructions are in the pump manual.
Submersible pumps really do need to be submersed. Otherwise, they will burn up.
Do you have or plan to install fountain and pound pumps in your yard?
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