In most areas, water gardening tends to slow down in the late fall and winter. Once the water temperature (not to be confused with outdoor temperature) drops to 40°F, it's time to bring your pond equipment inside. Removing pumps and water features prevents overcooling and damage from ice. This is the perfect time to inspect your equipment and order any replacement parts so you're ready to reopen your pond in the spring. Learn more about what pond equipment you should bring inside for the winter.
What is Overcooling?
As the temperatures drop, the water at the pond's surface is the coldest--this is what freezes first. The deepest part of your pond will become the warmest. This is where your fish will spend the majority of their winter if they overwinter in the pond. They are less active in the winter and do not need as much space to swim.
Overcooling is when the cold surface water mixes with the warmer water at the bottom of the pond. The overall temperature of the pond quickly drops, which is harmful to your pond fish and causes shock. Any water features that circulate the water should be removed before the pond's water temperature drops to 40°F.
The Problem with Ice
When water freezes, it expands and turns to ice. Ice can block the water intake and cause pumps to run dry, leading to overheating and burnout. Pond pumps need to have water running through them at all times. Water left in the pond equipment expands and turns to ice, causing tubing and other elements to crack. It's important to drain your pond equipment before storing it away for winter (unless it will be stored in water inside) to prevent ice buildup.
Pond Equipment checklist:
Floating Pond Accessories - Floating pond accessories like the Color Changing Floating Fountain should overwinter indoors to prevent any damage from freezing.
Spitters - Spitters can stay outside during winter if you remove the tubing and drain any water from the spitter.
Lights - Lights can stay in the pond, depending on their location. If your pond is deep enough to not freeze all the way through and the lights are in the deepest parts, they can stay. Lights left in shallower areas can be damaged if the water freezes.
Aerator - It's essential to keep your pond aerated during the winter. Move the aerator towards the edge of the pond so it can keep a section of the ice open.
Fountains - Drain your fountains to the best of your ability, remove the tubing and the pumps, and store smaller fountains, tubing, and pumps indoors. You can also relocate your smaller fountains inside your home so you can water garden all year round.
Pond and Water Feature Pumps - Pumps should be stored in a bucket of water in an area that will not freeze during the winter to protect the internal seals. All tubes should be drained and stored indoors as well.
Maintenance and repairs
After removing the pond pump and other equipment from the water, do a once-over before you store it for the winter. Check to see if you need to replace the filter pads, o-rings, or tubing. Now is the perfect time to troubleshoot any pump problems and perform maintenance. When the weather warms up in the spring, you'll want to reopen your pond as soon as the conditions allow it. Waiting for replacement parts can give algae a head start and lead to water quality issues. Head over to our product maintenance page for helpful videos and shop replacement parts.
Before the snow starts to fall and the temperatures freeze, it's important to overwinter your pond equipment to protect your fish and prevent any damage. Ice can cause pumps to clog and cracks in the tubing. Running water features once the pond temperature is below 40°F can lead to overcooling and harm your fish. When storing pond equipment indoors, make sure it's protected from the elements and will not freeze. This is the perfect time to perform maintenance and repairs and order any replacement parts that you need before spring.