Choosing The Right Pump:
SURELY THE HEART OF EVERY POND HAS TO BE THE PUMP…
Just as our own heart is our own pump...
The pond pump is the heart of the Koi pond. Pond and waterfall pumps not only create the pleasant effect of running water but also aerate the pond and circulate water through the filtration system, keeping it clean. There are many different types of pond pumps defined by what function they serve. I will only cover Koi pond pumps here.
Choosing the right pump is an extremely important decision and if you get it wrong then you will either have to change it or more likely loose you’re valuable Koi through pumping not enough water, electrical shock, and oil or noise contamination. Choosing the right water pump for your Koi pond can make all of the difference in the world.
Just because a pump may cost less to buy, it is not always the way to go.
The most important thing to remember is the electrical usage when looking for a water pump for your Koi pond.
In order to maintain a healthy environment for your pond, you MUST run your water pump through your filter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So it is important to pick the right water pump. Water pumps have variances in electrical usage and electrical costs.
The following formula will assist you in determining how much you will spend (approximately) per month to run the pump you select.
• Amps x Volts = Watts
• Watts x 744 and divide by 1000 = KWH per month
• KWH per month x Cost per KWH (located on your electric bill) = Cost per month
CLICK to use our handy pump cost calculator.
Example A: swimming pool or spa pump may pump 3000 gallons per hour and use 12Amps @ .10 per KWH = $3.16 per day, $96.31 per Month or $1156.32 per year.
Example B: Energy efficient Koi pond pump may pump 3500 gallons per hour and use only 1.3 Amps @ .10 per KWH = Cost .34 per day, $10.43 per Month or $125.27 per year.
Fact: This happened to me and I run 4 pumps all year 24 hours a day and 7days a week.
My numbers were: $12.64 per day, $385.24 per Month and $4625.28 per year.
I changed to energy efficient pumps: Cost $1.36 per day, $41.72 per Month or $501.08 per
This was a savings of $4124.24 enough to buy 8 energy efficient pumps.
First, a koi pond should not be plumbed like a swimming pool. A swimming pool uses a low volume, high pressure water system, small pipes and big pumps. Your pond should be low pressure, high volume, use pipe with an inside diameter of at least 2" going to the pump, and 2" or even greater diameter leaving the pump. Low pressure, high volume is better achieved with a smaller pump than with the ones normally associated with swimming pools and spas. Realize, too, that the pump should run 24 hours a day. For most applications, if your pump requirement is greater than one-quarter horsepower, you probably have a plumbing or filter problem which should be rectified. In addition, the right pump, properly plumbed, can save 50 percent or more per month in electricity over the wrong one.
Locate the pump as close to the source as possible. It is best to have your main run of pipe on the discharge side of the pump.
A Few Good Pump Rules
1. Install the pump outside the pond, and below the level of the surface of the pond to create flooded suction. This will help to ensure a proper supply of water to the pump. Remember, a pump can't pump out water if there isn't any available. Even if your supply line comes up and over the top of the pond wall, it will still offer a flooded suction if it has no breaks to atmosphere before it goes back down below the surface level.
2. If it is not possible to provide a flooded suction installation then: position the pump as low as possible, and as near the source as possible. Install a priming pot on the inlet of the pump. Install a foot valve, or a check valve in the inlet line below the water level. Always prime the entire inlet line, priming pot, and pump before turning it on.
3. Always have your inlet pipe diameter equal to or larger than the discharge line to use. I would suggest a minimum of two inch line on the inlet side of the pump and two inch line on its discharge side for flow rates of up to 50 gallons/minute.
4. Use a gravity flow filtration system that does not require pressure. It costs money to create pressure. This type system works best anyway.
5. Use large enough pipe to minimize friction loss. You receive no benefit from fighting friction. It is much better to spend a little more money on the pipe initially, than to continually spend more money on electricity to produce pressure to fight friction. I suggest keeping your friction losses to less than 10 feet per 100 feet of pipe. It costs money to create pressure. The longer the run of pipe you use, the more critical this is. The inlet and discharge port sizes of the pump do not dictate the proper pipe diameter. 6. Choose a pump that can give you the required flows at the lowest possible amp draw and its effect on your monthly utility bill can be significant.
7. If more flow than a single pump can produce is required, use two or more units in parallel. This also offers the benefits of being able to vary the flow rates, ensure partial flow if one pump needs servicing, and can often save a substantial amount of electricity compared to using one very large pump.
8. Never run a pump dry. This will damage the seal and impeller. They are designed to pump fluid, not air. Ensure the pump is full of water before you turn it on, and that it doesn't out pump the supply.
9. Shelter the pump and motor unit. They will last much longer when protected from rain and rust. The covering should still allow the unit to have suitable air circulation for proper cooling.
10. Install shutoff valves before and after the pump, so you can easily remove it from the line without having to drain your system.
11. Use Teflon paste (not tape) for sealing threaded joints.
12. Head pressure takes into account the resistance of vertical lift, the length of the pipe you're using, the fittings that are in place, and more.