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How to Troubleshoot Pump Problems
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How to Troubleshoot Pump Problems

The pump is the heart of your pond's ecosystem. It powers all of the water features and the filtration system. If your pump isn't working as well as usual (or not working at all), you may notice your fountain or waterfall looks a little weak, and your pond may slowly turn green. Learning how to troubleshoot pump problems can save you time and money. You can easily fix many pump problems yourself to avoid purchasing a new pump.

Tips before you start:

  • If you're doing maintenance on the pump, always unplug it first to prevent any injuries.

  • Never pull the pump out of the water by its cord--this can cause damage to the pump. 

  • When running diagnostics, only turn your pump on if it's in water to avoid potential damage from running dry.

  • Always have a backup pump if you need to order a new part or can't fix the current issue and purchase a new pump. 

Scenario 1: You can hear the pump running, but no water is moving

Are there any blockages or clogs?

An ill-placed twig or rock can cause a pump to stop running properly. Check your tubing for any kinks and the skimmer for debris. If your skimmer or intake is clogged, the pump cannot get water. This can cause the pump to shut off or run dry, which can burn out the motor. 

Debris can also prevent the impeller from spinning. If the skimmer or pump's pre-filter is debris-free, you may need to unplug the pump and take it out of the water to check for debris inside. Follow the maintenance guide for your pump to see if any debris is blocking the impeller.

How are your water levels?

Evaporation is a natural process. Especially in the hot summer months, your pond will lose water gradually. If the water levels fall too low, a pump housed in a skimmer may not have a continual water source. Pumps can become overheated and shut down if not fully submerged in water. 

Scenario 2: Pump isn't running at all

Is the pump getting power?

It may seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious problems are often overlooked. Check your power supply. Is it possible someone unplugged it? Were there any power outages recently? Reset your GFCI outlet if necessary. Does your power cord look worn or accidentally cut? Test the outlet and the power cord to make sure the pump is getting power. You can also remove the plug and bring it to a different outlet to see if it turns on.

Is the impeller damaged?

Impellers can be temperamental after a long period of storage. If your pump has been put away for a few months (usually for winter), the impeller could have collected some debris and needs some help to get started again. Unplug the pump and see if any debris is blocking the impeller. If you notice damage to your impeller, you can contact Customer Care or shop replacements to purchase a replacement impeller instead of purchasing a new pump.

Scenario 3: Pump is working, but not at normal strength

Are your filters clean?

When was the last time you cleaned your filters? Algae, mud, and other debris can become trapped in the filter. The buildup can restrict water flow. You can clean the filter using a brush and some pond water to remove buildup gently. Do not use any cleaning supplies like chemicals or soaps in the filter. The filter (especially any filter pads) may need replacing. Filters are essential for water clarity; order replacements if necessary. 

Could air be trapped?

Air locks can prevent the flow of water through the pump. Trapped air is more common when a pump has been in storage for a while. Air bubbles become trapped near the impeller, with nowhere to escape. Gently tip the pump back and forth while it is running to let any bubbles escape. Once they do, the flow should be quickly restored.

Is there debris in your water feature?

Due to a blockage, your water features may not be running at full strength. Leaves or other debris can pile up on the water feature like a fountain or waterfall, preventing the water from flowing out properly. Check all of your pond's features to ensure nothing is blocking the water from moving freely.

It can be stressful to see your once magnificent water features barely trickling water. Pumps are essential to a healthy and clean pond. Ponds without a working pump quickly become unbalanced. You can troubleshoot many pond problems with a little examination to avoid purchasing a new pump. The earlier you catch blockage and debris, the better. Pond pumps always need to run fully submerged in water to perform efficiently and avoid any damage or overheating. If you do discover that there is damage, you can look into replacement parts. It may seem intimidating initially, but many pump problems are easy to solve!



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