Performing your yearly pond maintenance and wondering what the little rubber ring in your pond pump or filter is? That's the O-ring. The O-ring is the seal that helps make your pump and filter air and watertight. Over time, when the O-ring starts to deteriorate, it can lead to leaks--and it's time to replace it. Learn more about the O-ring, how it works, and what you need to know about replacing one.
What Is an O-Ring Seal?
O-rings prevent water from leaking into the internal workings of your pumps, filters, and aerators to stop water from escaping from the filters. They create a leak-proof seal between two components, so no water or air can pass through. The O-ring is put in between the grooves of two or more parts to make them air and watertight.
O-rings are made out of rubbery material that has muscle memory and is squeezable. The O-ring can be compressed and placed between two parts, expanding and filling the gap. The compression helps make the seal tight. When the two components are not pressed against each other, the O-ring returns to its original shape, making it perfect for high-pressure environments.
Why Are O-Rings Used in Pond Equipment?
The O-ring is an easy way to create a watertight seal between two parts in a fountain, pond, waterfall pump, or pond filter. Without an O-ring, a different type of sealant would need to be used. Liquid or foam pond sealants can be challenging to install and require precise application and drying. Harder sealants would need to be tightened and require special tools.
A significant benefit of the O-ring is that it typically wears down slowly. The O-ring will gradually break down and start leaking, and you can often identify it before it is too problematic. O-rings are inexpensive and easy to install yourself. You can pop the old one out and replace it with a new one if there's a leak.
Lubricating an O-ring
Performing seasonal maintenance on your pond and fountain pumps is essential. Many water gardeners choose to do pump maintenance when they close their pond for the winter or right before they open it in the spring. When you're doing your pump maintenance, it's a good idea to lubricate your o-rings.
The breaks in the seal are so slow; you may not notice the leak immediately. Lubricating the O-ring helps protect it from damage due to pinching, cracking, cutting, and everyday wear and tear. The O-ring will have a tighter seal and last longer. The lubrication needed depends on the material the O-ring is made of. You can find different types of O-ring lubricants at Lowe's.
Pond pumps are meant to have water running through them at all times. When you remove the pond pump for the winter, store it in a bucket of clean water and place it somewhere warm where it will not freeze. The water also helps keep the O-rings moist, so they don't dry out and crack.
Replacing an O-ring
There are many different shapes, sizes, and types of o-rings. Making sure you have the correct replacement part is important. Visit the smartpond® replacement parts site to find the proper O-ring for your product. Replacing the o-ring is as simple as dissembling the pond pump, removing the old o-ring, and putting the new one in its place.
Routine maintenance helps catch problems before they get out of hand, leading to equipment failure and replacement. O-rings are used in many different aspects of water gardening to help keep various components sealed so no air or water can escape. It's more cost-effective to replace an O-ring than your entire waterfall pump! Check yours today.