Macomb & Oakland, Michigan (MI)

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Winter Pond Maintenance

 Caring for your pond during the winter months can mean different things, depending on where you live. If you’re fortunate enough to reside in a milder climate, simply removing your pond’s excess debris and adding Aquascape Activated Pond Carbon should set you up for the winter. However, living in the Macomb & Oakland, Michigan (MI) area you may begin to see ice formation instead. This is what most of us in Northern America will see, and we’ll spend the next few months longingly viewing our ponds from indoors.
​During these frosty months, you can either keep your pond running for the winter, or shut it down. To shut your pond down, first unplug the pump, pull it out of the pond, and store it in a frost-free location, submerged in a bucket of water to keep the seals from drying out.

Pull the pump, install a bubbler

If you have fish and live in a climate cold enough to cause your pond to freeze over, you’ll need to be concerned with two things. First, is oxygenating the water. To do this, place a small pump on the second shelf of your pond so it bubbles right at the surface of the water. This will replace the oxygenation that your waterfalls were taking care of during the pond season. In all but extremely low temperatures, the bubbling of the pump will also keep a hole open in the ice to allow for gas exchange. This is the second thing that you need to do for your fish. A hole in the ice allows the escape of harmful gasses created by decay of organic matter that would otherwise build up under the ice.

Pond Heaters

The Macomb & Oakland, Michigan (MI) area experiences long periods of exceptionally cold weather, the pump won’t be enough to keep a hole open in the ice, and you’ll want to consider adding a floating Aquascape Pond De-icer. Controlled by a thermostat, the unit only runs when the water temperature is at or below freezing, heating only the surrounding water to just above freezing, and then shutting off again.

     The best thing you can do if you live in the Macomb & Oakland, Michigan (MI) area is to incorporate a combination of the pump and floating deicer. Be sure to position them so the two units are not near each other, otherwise the Aquascape Pond De-icer will run continuously in order to heat the water that’s constantly being circulated by the pump.​

​Leave it running, and enjoy the beautiful ice sculptures

Leaving your pond up and running is an option many people in the Macomb & Oakland, Michigan (MI) area prefer. Not only does the waterfall and/or stream provide the beautiful sound of running water, but also the freezing water creates outstanding ice sculptures along the stream and waterfall area. The water movement created by running the pond during the winter also eliminates the need for additional oxygenation of the water.

There are many benefits to operating your pond and waterfall year-round, but there are also a couple things you need to watch out for. As the water in the falls or stream freezes, the possibility of water loss due to ice damming is increased. When the ice freezes, a dam that pushes the flowing water over the edge of the liner can be created. This isn’t always a problem, but it is something that you need to be aware of and watch out for. You’ll probably be surprised to learn, that even during the winter, running water is still exposed to evaporation. Although water loss in your pond is considerably less than during warm months, you will still need to add water to make up for this loss. Simply keep an eye on your pond’s water level during the winter months and top off as needed.

Whether you choose to shut down your pond or leave it running during the winter months, a bit of minor maintenance is all that’s needed to ensure that your pond will perform optimally when warmer breezes begin to blow.

Tips for Winter Pond Keeping

Keeping your pond running during the frozen months of winter will allow you to enjoy the beautiful ice sculptures that form in the stream and waterfall. Although beautiful, it’s possible that the ice buildup can form dams that could divert your pond water out of the pond. Check on the waterfall and stream and monitor the water level periodically throughout the winter. If you see an ice dam forming or the water level dropping at a high rate, your pond might be losing water because of the frozen sculpture and it might be time to turn off the pump for the winter. If you decide to leave the pond running until warmer weather however, your main concern is to ensure there is enough water for the pump(s) to operate properly.

Can a Pond Run Through the Entire Winter?

During the winter months, the usual water supply options are not available.  Outdoor water spigots and automatic water fill valves should be turned off to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking.  Therefore, pond owners who run their systems during the winter will have to find an alternate water source to replenish their pond.  Water can be supplied via a hose run from inside the house or by making multiple trips with a five-gallon bucket.  Generally speaking, it’s not uncommon to have to go out a few times a month during the winter to “top off” the pond.  

Won’t the Waterfall Freeze Solid?

Pump size is important when determining a waterfall’s ability to operate during the winter.  A pump that provides at least 2,000 gph can be operated throughout the winter without a problem, as long as it runs continuously. Moving water will usually keep a hole open in the ice around the waterfalls and in front of the circulation system. However, repeated days in sub-zero temperatures may lead to excessive ice build-up and can cause the system to operate improperly. If the flow of water into the circulation system is unable to keep up with the pump because of ice build-up, it may be necessary to shut the system down. The system can be run again once the ice is melted and normal water flow is restored. 

Will the Filters and Pipes Crack?

Most good filters are constructed out of rotational-molded polyethylene, and are designed to bow and bend with the freezing and thawing effects of winter. The PVC flex pipe is reinforced and will also not crack unless water is left in the pipe over the winter and allowed to freeze. If you decide to keep the pump running all winter long, there will still be a constant flow of water traveling through the pipe, and the moving water will not freeze.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for preparing your pond for Winter is maintenance. Roughly 70 percent of our pond owners in Michigan decide to shut down their system because they don’t enjoy tending to their water garden during the bitter months of the winter. The aesthetic rewards of the winter pond are absolutely worthwhile, so by all means; don’t be afraid to keep the system running as long as possible. Shutting down a pond during winter is also an option. Just be sure you take precautionary measures to preserve fish, plant, and pump life.



Macomb County Service Areas
Armada, Center Line, Clinton Township,Eastpointe,Fraser, Harrison Township, Macomb,Macomb County, Mount Clemens, New Baltimore, New Haven, Ray,Richmond, Romeo, Roseville, Saint Clair,Shores, Sterling Heights, Utica, Warren, Washington,Chesterfield

St Clair County Service Areas
Algonac, Capac, Marine City, Memphis, St Clair County,Port Huron, Saint Clair

Wayne County Service Areas
Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe,Bellview,Harper Woods, Wayne County, Northville Plymouth

Oakland County Service Areas
Auburn, Hills, Berkley, Birmingham,
Bloofield Hills, Clarkston, Clawson, Commerce Township, Davisburg, Drayton Plains, Farmington,Ferndale, Frankin, Hazel Park, Highland, Holly,Huntington Woods, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Lakeville,Leonard, Madison Heights, Milford, New Hudson, Novi,Oak Park, Oakland, Oakland County, Orionville, Oxford,Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac, Rochester, Royal Oak, South Lyon, Southfield, Troy, Union Lake, Walled Lake,Waterford, West Bloomfield, White Lake, ​Wixom


Certified Aquascape Pond Contractor / Builder / Installer & Maintenance Pro's Serving Oakland-Macomb, St. Clair-Michigan (MI)
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