Waterfall Streams Freezing Issue

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This is the first winter here in SC, for my newly constructed pondless waterfalls (2 separate streams). At the very bottom, where the final pooling area/stream flows into the basin, it keeps freezing and creating ice dams, thus causing water to overflow out of the feature.

The first time, several days ago, I went down, broke up the ice and got it flowing properly. After that, it iced over top of the small stream, but was flowing fine underneath, so no issues.

It all thawed a couple days later, and this morning (19 degrees) the ice dam issue has begun all over again, and in a secondary spot as well. I've since gone down and broken up the dams as much as possible, but it's not getting above freezing for the next couple of days I think. No clue why the first time it decided to freeze over top so perfectly.

So my question is, would a simple, large tarp, draped over the entire lower stream and basin be enough to prevent further freezing? Just wondering if anyone else has tried it. I've read on here of folks using a heater of some kind in the ponds, but all my a/c outlets are used already. I suppose I could run an extension cord down there, but this all seems like a huge undertaking and expense.

When it ever stops freezing, post winter. I'm pretty sure I can bib liner an area, and give the overflow a path back down into the basin/vault, but meanwhile, I'm already way over fighting the 🧊.
 

JRS

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Trapping the heat of the water and ground with a cover will help prevent freezing. Clear plastic would also let the sun help create a greenhouse effect.

 
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Trapping the heat of the water and ground with a cover will help prevent freezing. Clear plastic would also let the sun help create a greenhouse effect.

Thanks, that's what I was thinking. I don't have anything clear, but I do have tarps, and also a roll of black plastic. Maybe I'll use that, and the black will absorb more of the sun's heat? My only worry is that once covered, I'll obviously not be able to see what's going on under it, just in case it's not working. No easy answers I guess.
 
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If you build your pond with the splash zone in mind and over size the liner . You should have plenty for icing. but keeping an eye out for overflowing and dropping water levels the ponds water level .

if you cover the waterfall why would you have it running with no fish or a pond ? growing moss? it's about they only thing that grows this time of year
 
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If you build your pond with the splash zone in mind and over size the liner . You should have plenty for icing. but keeping an eye out for overflowing and dropping water levels the ponds water level .

if you cover the waterfall why would you have it running with no fish or a pond ? growing moss? it's about they only thing that grows this time of year
Yesterday it appeared as though it had frozen over top of that problematic area, and water was running fine underneath and into the basin, so I didn't attempt to cover, just left it as is.

This morning I just saw that my main stream, the one with strongest flow, had frozen completely! The secondary stream was still flowing, albeit very weak. I truly didn't think the strong flow coming out of the spillway could freeze!?, but what else could have happened? I suspect the water in the pvc flex must've also frozen, but why didn't that happen to the secondary stream pvc flex. It was down to 12 degrees last night.

The water inside the pump vault isn't frozen, but I've no clue yet if my main pump is shot? If water is still in the vault, and the pump wasn't getting water because the flex was frozen, would it thermally shut down?, the same as if the vault ran dry?
 
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I doubt your falls froze up they almost always freeze OVER when the splashing hits and object it freezes and builds and will build an igloo of sorts over the flowing water. look and listen closly i bet tis is the case below
 
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I doubt your falls froze up they almost always freeze OVER when the splashing hits and object it freezes and builds and will build an igloo of sorts over the flowing water. look and listen closly i bet tis is the case below
It did that at first, which is why I thought it was OK to just let it keep running. When I posted that, it was completely shut down, no water flowing anywhere.

What I suspect happened, was the water in the flex pvc froze, thus, didn't allow water to flow into the spillway, then it all eventually froze. I was relieved when (after everything thawed) I plugged the pump back in, it still worked! I assumed it would be fried. I believe the bleeder valve I had installed inside the vault must've saved it. Even though the pump couldn't send water out and uphill, the bleeder valve was at least circulating water through the pump and back out into the vault.

Either way, lesson learned. Next winter I'm just going to shut the whole thing down, and not have to deal with any of it.
 

JRS

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Be sure to pull your pump next year to prevent damage if your vault area freezes.
 
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Be sure to pull your pump next year to prevent damage if your vault area freezes.
Luckily the vault area never froze. Plus, I'm planning on covering the area with tarp(s), just to make sure.
 

addy1

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I shut mine down a break from running water.

And my bog super chills the pond. And external pump.
 

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