Pond Pump Failures
This weekend I decided to tidy up the shed and throw out any old koi stuff that I really should have gotten rid of years ago. For some reason I just seem to gather clutter and I know it's my own fault but I hate throwing things away if I think one day they may come in useful or I can fix them. The shelves were full of old pH test kits that may still work but it's best not to trust them. I find the pH test strips go off very quickly and give very unreliable results, so always renew them or double check the results if yours are getting on a bit.
I like to keep a few medications in case of emergencies but the shed was turning into a potential chemical disaster area and in some peoples eyes was resembling a bomb making factory, not that I know what one looks like of course. It's a good idea to have a small medical kit of treatments readily available for such times as a koi jumping out but they really should be replaced once the sell by dates have expired. Chemicals like Malachite Green and Formalin can be seriously damaging to your health if they leak and should always kept out of reach from children and pets. Knowing how to dispose of this stuff isn't easy but it's best not to throw them down the sink.
Amongst the tangle of pipes, tubes and plumbing supplies I have kept a collection of defunct pond pumps much like one keeps hunting trophies. To be honest all of these pumps had run beyond their expected lives but when you spend your money on a pond pump and it eventually dies my initial reaction isn't to bin it but hope that one day it can be repaired. I did manage to get the Pet Mate pump to work again but when it started eating impellers once a month it had to stop.
I always have a backup pump ready just in case of break downs but if you run an external pond pump then most of us aren't willing to buy a spare. External pond pumps are usually repairable anyway so I always keep a powerful submersible pump ready for such occasions. The photo on the right is of a pond pump I recently bought from my local Aldi supermarket for £25 which when rated at 3500 gallons per hour is unbelievably good value. From past experience these big sump pump type submersible pond pumps aren't cheap to run and I wouldn't trust this ones long term reliability, but it's great as a backup and very useful for emptying tanks fast.
Out of all the submersible pond pumps that I have owned the Oase pump has proved to be the best in terms of reliability, build quality and performance but in the end it died the same as the others. The newer ones maybe better but the biggest cause of pump failure that I have experienced has been due to the motor bearings wearing out. The manufacturers build these pumps with long lasting ceramic shafts which are fine but often the bearings wear out before the impeller does causing the seals to fail and eventually the motor burns out. I guess they will never build an everlasting pond pump as they make money on supplying replacements and the costs would be too great, so I suppose an average of five years is not worth complaining about.
My tip for buying a pond pump would be to check for the availability of spares as many dealers stock them, often in complete kits. It's probably best to buy them now than hope they are still available years later as new models are coming out all the time. Some pumps come complete with spare impellers o-rings and even shafts which can be handy but does tend to suggest that you will have to use them sometime in the future. An expensive pump should come with a longer warranty. If it doesn't then it's not worth the extra money. Even if the manufacturer is willing to fix the pump your pond will still be out of action in the mean time so it still makes sense to get a backup or two. Sometimes two smaller pumps can work out more effectively than one big one.
Labels: pond pumps