Questions about running pump all year in 6a/b zone


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Right on border of 6a/6b zone (usually low teens with occasional 0 to 10F, rarely below zero), though wild weather fluctuations are getting too common now.

Pump is roughly 7-10' deep, depending on water level. Right now pump recirculates water to the surface, but am getting ready to add a 55 gallon food-grade drum (I'm not building a bog filter, but thank you anyways) filter that'll be outside of the pond and near it.

Idea was to snake some heat tape into the drum, and run heat tape and foam wrap the 2" pvc immediately pre/post drum. I know the heat tape can do an excellent job of keeping pvc from freezing as people use it to wrap water pipes exposed to freezing temps and even small 5 to 10 gallon sized sump pits above the frost line, but am unsure of something the the size of the 55 gallon drum with massive amounts of water passing through it? Also, while I'd prefer to let water flow onto the water surface from the drum's outlet (will do this now during the warmer months) that won't be possible when the pond's surface freezes over. So what are my options here? Slap an extension onto the outlet and run some pipe under the surface and let it freeze around the pipe? That wouldn't cause pressurization at some point if the surface froze over hard and sealed the pipes to the surface? Would heat tape + foam pipe wrap around the pipe (probably run 3" pipe on outlet side of drum only) pushed through the surface of the pond be enough to keep it from freezing the water TO the pipe if the entire pond has a few inches of ice on the surface? Wondering about heaving. If drum is mostly full with 350-450 pounds of water, and pond ice shifts, couldn't that pull the pipe out?

Also, right now I have some water lilies in small planters, sunk to the bottom. Can those be left in there? Neighbor had them in a tiny pond that was barely 3' deep if even that, and frost line here is 4' so guessing the bulb can tolerate some cold?
 
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mrsclem

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If you have no fish, its ok to shut the pump down for the winter. Just make sure it does not freeze solid in ice. If the barrel filter is running, it should be fine. The moving water will keep it from freezing. Lilies can be wintered over at the bottom of the pond unless it freezes solid.
 
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We are in the same zone. We cover our pond for winter with a greenhouse type structure and 1 layer of 6 mil plastic and another layer of solar pool cover. The water never freezes and there is no heating of any type inside. It actually stays close to 50 degrees all winter long. So the system runs year round.
 
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It just has frogs galore at the moment, which I'm not worried about as they already burrow into the clay inside the rock gaps . Going to add mix of minnow variety for sure once filter is up, and maybe a couple catfish-type or something ground dwelling if minnows do OK, and like the idea of the water being filtered and oxygenated. Actually think it'd be a good time to run the filter given there will be less stuff falling in after trees drop everything.

I like the idea of a cover, but pond is irregularly shaped like a kidney bean so looking at close to 40' x 40' for a taut cover or maybe 50' x 50' if trying to match inner contour. Way pond is designed, it would not be easy to affix it in place and bank edges are 5' to 6' above center of pond's water level (basically built like a rocky moon crater with deliberately lower water level as a precaution, to cushion against extensive flash flooding or give me time to drain in that event vs. cresting and flooding the yard). Also, if someone or something fell into/onto the plastic, that'd be a nightmare. Area is rural, but not rural enough. Plus have a bunch of shrubs/bushes on perimeter of higher banks.

Pump is definitely deep enough to not freeze up. If the heat wrap was on/around the pipe, it'd help in the event of a power outage, or help once power was resupplied by quickly thawing.

Hmm. Guessing I can add couple inches of extra foam padding around pipe where it enters/exits the water line and wrap something like 3 or 6m plastic around the foam like a sleeve. When water freezes, it'd be able to compress the foam and plastic would hopefully protect it enough to prevent gouging/rips and tolerate some ice movement before moving the pipe.

No waterfall. I built the rocks up in one corner of the shallow end of the pond with larger 24"+ ones in the event I wanted to add a small water fall there. I'm burned out tbph. House had a ton of hidden issues that weren't caught until well after I started digging the pond, so every so often, have to stop pond stuff and refocus. Need to filter and leave it be.


BTW, will smaller fish like minnows, be able to stay away from filter screen if they get forced to deeper end in winter? Noticed a bunch of snails on it already. Pump is supposedly 4500gph. Running 2" pvc threaded directly from outlet, so no restrictions. Takes a few hours to drain pond entirely, so it's moving a good bit with a lot of suction. Just wondering if I need some type of buffer to the screen.
 
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Our pond greenhouse is a large structure, large enough to walk around the pond inside and probably 12 feet tall. It's a pretty big project to put up the trusses and frame each year, and take it all back down each spring. It covers the pond and the entire waterfall so it's an irregular shape.

As we have gotten older, we decided to leave most of the framing up year round. We remove the plastic and solar cover and the framing on the ends and leave the rest of the frame up.

I don't remember the size of the solar cover, but it was the largest one I could find and it is a few feet short on the higher sides, so we double or triple the plastic in those areas.

My point is that it's possible to build a structure for your pond if you are willing. It just might not be a simple or quick project.
 
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In the Winter I run my Pond Pumps on a timer plug...
Where I am living going below Zero in the winter is a regular occurrence and so I set my pumps to come on for half an hour of every hour through the night and day... My pond never freezes over completely.
 

brokensword

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In the Winter I run my Pond Pumps on a timer plug...
Where I am living going below Zero in the winter is a regular occurrence and so I set my pumps to come on for half an hour of every hour through the night and day... My pond never freezes over completely.
I know you're probably halving the operation time due to energy considerations but be aware that most pumps are designed for continuous use. Starting and stopping, esp starting, is harder on motors than if left always on. Just an FYI.
 
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We're in zone 6 a and although we cover the pond, we don't run our pumps / filters as the plumbing is outside the covered area and could freeze. We run aerators and a Pond Breather.
 
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So far, we've had mid/low 20's + snow (today it's 61 degrees and inches of rain dropping so.... yeah... the new normal) and no issues to that temperature range. Real test will be sustained temps in the low teens or single digits. Experimented with pantyhose (material is an excellent strainer for water-based paint) to see how it'd tolerate sun + pond water and put some on the outlets of the filter drum. Surprisingly, it can tolerate the environment very well. Removed it after the pic, and reworked the pump inlet with a 2" 45 degree pointing "up" and connected about 10" long of 2" pvc terminating into a "T" and putting panthose over that "T." So inlet is above pump and has 2 openings on opposing ends and put pantyhose over it to be a prefilter. Flow actually increased.

Anyhow, here's a couple pics from the snow event. Water was starting to freeze on about 75% of the surface. Hose is still on outlets and reducing flow vs. now. Have an oak, pin oak, and 2 maples that drop leaves 6 weeks after everything else so leaves are everywhere.

20211129_070623.jpg

20211129_070646.jpg
 
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Be careful not to "knock" you plastic barrel as it could crack , lower temps make plastic brittle. Our pond is covered and nothing is running except the small aerator and Pond Breather.
 
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Hardiness zone 6b here, filter is a 100 gal. rubber made stock tank (homemade skippy filter), pump is suspended
about 10 inches below pond surface and runs 24/7 - 365.
In the past 15 years, I have only had to shut it down, maybe a half dozen times, due to below zero *F temps and
for never more than 48 hours. Never had a problem.
No heat tape(s) or insulation, but, I do not use PVC pipe from the pump to the filter I use a 1 1/2 inch hose that
I got from Ace Hardware.
 

sissy

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I live in Virginia and winter here does not come until Jan. most years . Lately we have been around 50 to 70 degrees and at night down to mid 20' s or 30's ' I turn off my pumps when first ice appears but put my pond heater in long before that and just leave it in . I have switch's in my closet in my master bedroom that are marked so I can plug things into the outlets and they won't turn on or off until I hit the switch . My sons idea when I built the pond so if something went wrong and it was bad weather I would not have to go out just to unplug something or plug in something .It has saved me many times so far . The switch's are hidden in a box my son built into the closet wall so no one could accidentally turn something on or off . The box is really just a modified wall safe .
 
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I'm in zone 6b. I leave my pump on all year. It feeds my bog filter. The return water is not very powerful or very fast. That little disturbance keeps the pond surface free of ice in that area. I do keep a floating deicer nearby just in case we get a ridiculously long sub-zero cold spell.

I originally feared the pond would completely ice over and the bog return water would flow over the ice and empty the pond. I kept a close eye on it and this was not the case.
 

sissy

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I remember the year a pump was turned sideways and did not know it until the ice on the top caved in and the pond only had enough water left in it to cover the fish and there I was in a sudden snow storm trying to refill the pond at 2 am in the morning after getting the hoses and running water from the basement taps . I was glad I had a well at that time , I was up all night and amazed that the fish survived it . Never so scared in my life . We went from a temperature the day before of 68 degrees and then the sudden announcement that a noreaster was headed our way when it was supposed to miss us
 
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mrsclem

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I keep my pumps and filters running until I get 50% ice coverage. Then everything gets shut down and drained. Bog was shut down last month after several hard freezes.
 
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