Circulating the Water


There are two types of pump are available for water features: surface-mounted and submersible models. The majority of fountains and streams will function quite adequately with a submersible pump. These are installed by submerging the pump into the pool and positioning it on a brick slightly off the bottom to minimise the amount of sunken debris that might be sucked into the water pump itself. Larger water installations may need a surface-mounted pump housed in a separate, ventilated chamber.

Pump Volumes

When choosing a pump, bear in mind that the pump flow rate should be high enough to re-circulate the pool water at least once every two hours. For example, a 250-gallon pond would require a minimum-rated pump of 125 gallons per hour. In general, it is better to have a bigger than required pump as this can be turned down whereas a small pump can not be turned up.

Filtration Pumps

If you need a pump for filtration AND for running a fountain, you may want to consider installing two smaller pumps rather than one larger one. This could save you money, as you will be able to turn the fountain pump off at night, whilst leaving the filter pump running.

Power for Pumps

Pumps are available as mains operated or solar powered.

Mains Operated Pumps

The majority of pumps used for water features are mains operated as they are capable of much higher flow rates than solar powered versions. Do remember that the safest way to power your pump is by using a waterproof plug connected to a proper outdoor socket with an RCD (residual current device), fitted by a qualified electrician.

However, if the water feature is situated near the house, you can plug the pump into an indoor socket. Protect the cable by pushing it through plastic conduit, and then fit a normal plug. If your house does not have RCD protection, then you will need to make sure that you connect it using a plug-in RCD.

Solar Operated Pumps

If your water feature is fairly small and is not positioned near an electrical socket, you may want to consider using a solar operated pump. There are a number of pumps available that run on solar energy, although they tend to come in two distinct categories: island and separate.

Island solar fountains float on the pool with their solar cells pointing upward. However, these pumps tend to require a great deal of sunlight to work, and they become less effective over time as the pond water leaves mineral deposits on the cells, obscuring them from the sun.

Separate solar pumps have solar cells that can be positioned away from the pond pointing towards the sun, whilst the pump and fountain are placed in the pond. As they tend to have much bigger solar panels than the island fountains, they are much more powerful and need far less light to work effectively.