Pond Pump Troubleshooting Guide - How to Fix a Broken Pond Pump
Even so, clogs, electrical problems and other malfunctions hit most pond and waterfall owners at some point. These issues tend to be rare and can usually be fixed quickly without professional help.
This guide will help you troubleshoot some of the most common pond pump problems and get your waterfall flowing again.
Understanding Your Pump’s Role in Your Water Feature
In an Ecosystem Pond …
In a Splash Ecosystem Pond, your pump is very reliable. It is hidden out of sight, protected in the skimmer. As the skimmer pulls in debris from across the pond, all you have to do is empty the basket. You should almost never need to touch the pump. It just works.
Your pump is the heart of the pond’s circulation system. It pulls water into the skimmer and pushes it through the plumbing and biofilter, helping your pond stay crystal-clear and your fish happy and healthy.
The pump also keeps the waterfall running, injecting crucial oxygen into the pond. For this reason, we highly recommend adding an aerator to your pond if the pump stops working for more than a few hours. (Aeration is especially important during hot summer days, when the water has trouble holding oxygen, and on cold winter days, when the pond is at risk of freezing over.) Aeration kits are available at Splash or through our online store.
In a Disappearing Waterfall …
The pump in a Disappearing Waterfall pushes water from the basin up through the piping and out of the spillway. We store the pump in an easy-to-access vault at the base of the falls.
How to Fix Reduced Water Flow in the Pond or Waterfall
When you notice your waterfall is flowing a little slower than usual, the first thing you’ll want to check is for a clog in your pump intake. We created a whole tutorial for unclogging your pond pump. Check out How to Unclog Your Pond Pump for our step-by-step guide. If you are within one hour of York, PA and need a helping hand, click here to Schedule Professional Pond Service.
How to Fix a Pump that Hums but Doesn't Push Water
A pump that is humming, gurgling or sucking air is still receiving power but is not able to push water. It’s one of the most common issues we encounter – and usually one of the easiest to fix.
Below are the eight most common causes for a humming pond pump – and how to fix them.
1. Low water level in the pond or disappearing waterfall basin
2. Dirty or clogged skimmer filter
SOLUTION: Even if your pond is full of water, built-up muck in the skimmer mats or debris basket can prevent water from passing through to the pump chamber. Empty the basket and rinse the filter mats to solve the problem.
3. Debris -filled gravel on the disappearing waterfall basin
SOLUTION: If you have a disappearing (pondless) waterfall, try rinsing the gravel on top of the basin to clear excess debris.
4. Vapor lock
SOLUTION: Occasionally, an air bubble will form inside a pump and prevent water flow. Unplug the pump and then plug it back in to let the air escape. Tilting the pump underwater can also help.
5. Frozen impeller
SOLUTION: If your pump’s impeller isn’t spinning, jump start it. Unplug the pump, then gently bump the impeller with a screwdriver. If the pump’s impeller has seized up, doing this should knock it loose and help it spin freely again.
We created a whole tutorial for unclogging your pond pump. Check out How to Unclog Your Pond Pump for a step-by-step guide.
SOLUTION: Remove the clog from the pump or plumbing. First, clean the filter screens and impeller if needed. Next, remove the water chamber cover and clean the impeller rotor assembly and internal pump body. Make sure nothing is blocking or wrapped around the impeller.
8. Electrical issue
SOLUTION: Make sure the pump is receiving the correct voltage and the outlet where the pump is plugged in does not have water or moisture around it.
IMPORTANT: Most of the pond pumps installed by Splash are engineered to run on 115 volts. While you can temporarily run a pump on a heavy duty extension cord, DO NOT USE a permanent extension cord. This is unsafe and can void your pump warranty. Your pump requires a permanent outlet connection to plug into, with GFCI protection and an in-use cover. We highly recommend keeping your pond equipment on a separate circuit for the pond only. Please contact your professional electrician to verify suitable and sufficient electric supply.
How to Fix a Pump that Does Not Work at All
Sometimes, a pump just stops working all together. In many cases, the issue isn’t necessarily with the pump itself but rather the electrical outlet it’s plugged into.
- The ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) may have tripped.
- The pump is not receiving the correct voltage
- Reset your GFCI by pushing the reset on the outlet, a nearby outlet, or on your electric panel.
- Try connecting the pump to another outlet.
- Verify there is no water or moisture around the plug.
- Please contact your professional electrician to verify suitable and sufficient electric supply BEFORE scheduling Splash Pump Service.