Water Features and Freezing Temperatures

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by JimLewis, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Hey, for those of you who have quite a lot of experience with water features, what's the protocol for water features in freezing temperatures?

    Here in Oregon, it rarely freezes or snows, even in the winter. Typical winter temperatures, even at night, are 45-60 degrees. But lateley, we've had a few nights where temps reached down to 31 or 30 degrees. My own personal water features seemed to continue to work just fine. But we've installed a few water features for clients of ours and they are beginning to ask what, if anything, needs to be done.

    In the water features I've installed, they are mostly pondless waterfalls where the pump 4' underground inside a vault that is surrounded by water and large river rock. I figure the chances of things freezing that far down are fairly remote if ground temps are only 31. But should I tell them to turn it off entirely on those nights? Also, at what point should we actually remove the pump?
  2. fishinman22487

    fishinman22487 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    Howdy Jim-

    I work for a Certified Aquascape Contractor in ponte vedra FL as well as doing lawn work. Since it sounds like you have customers with mostly pondless waterfalls, I would suggest to leave the pump running so the line doesn't freeze also there is no fish in a pondless waterfall so that is out of the question.... I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    Let me know if you have any other ?s
    My boss's website is www.pondsbydesign.com
  3. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    never shut it off unless you are going to drain it, blow it out and add antifreeze. here in Michigan it gets super cold compared to where you are. as long as the water is flowing at a decent rate it will not freeze, if you have several nights in the low 20s or lower, be prepared to add antifreeze to the water or to blow it out. no need to worry unless it starts icing to the point of running out of flowable water.
    RV anti freeze is a good safe way to protect it if you feel the need.
  4. n2h20

    n2h20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    I wouldnt worry about it to much. I have had a few pond in So cal..(yes So Cal) get ice around the edges some morings. Never hurt a thing if anything it will kill some of the plants.
    If you shut the pump off you would have more problems of freezing than if you left it on.
  5. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Say what??? Jim, don't forget that part of Oregon is east of the Cascades. Below is a pic I just snapped of a pond off of my deck.

    I don't think that you need to worry about winterizing ponds in your area unless if for some reason you get a series of freezing days. If a pond freezes over, and the intake to a skimmer box is frozen over with the pump inside of it, then the pump could obviously burn up. Flowing water, even waterfalls, can surely freeze over, though not as likely in your area compared to here. FWIW, I've unplugged my pump and now have a stock tank heater in the pond (not visible in the pic) to keep an area ice free for the fish.

    Antifreeze, Stumper? Are you kidding?

  6. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    around here some has put livestock tank heaters in them and worked great for the time being.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    You're right. I should have said, "Here in the part of Oregon where 99% of the people live" instead. :waving:
  8. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Yeah, that's more like it. And 50% of the people in Beaverton probably work at Nike. BTW, I happened to be listening to PDX air traffic at the time the Nike Gulfstream V jet encountered it's landing gear problem. Heard the F-15 join up with the Nike jet and report the disturbing news of the gear condition. Ya' know, it was amazing that they didn't have to belly land that crippled bird.

    Wonder who maintains Nike's landscape?
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Not as many people as you think here in Beaverton work at Nike. By far, the biggest employer is Intel. For every 15 customers I have who work at Intel, I have 1 who works at Nike. I think part of that has to do with the fact that people at Intel make a lot more, work a lot more hours, and can afford a landscaper. Still, Intel is the big cheese here. Even though most of Intel's buildings are technically in Hillsburrito, most of the people who work there live in the Beaverton area.

    I can't remember who maintains Nike. I heard it a few months back. But I don't do commercial at all. So that's a whole other league that I am not too familiar with.

    That plane problem was crazy though. Those people got lucky.
  10. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    I've always drained the waterfall container and pumps if they are out of the water, then just put a heater on the surface to allow gas out of the pond when it completely freezes. Haven't done any pondless waterfalls but I would think as deep as the pump is you shouldn't have a problem

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