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Pond Owners Handbook

Pond Pump Care – The Do’s and Dont’s

Not all pond pumps are built equally and as such require different levels of ‘pond pump care.’ Most pond owners will only ever deal with submersible mag-drive pumps. There are external as well as direct drive pumps available on the market also.

Dry Running

Regardless of make or model, no pump should be run dry. This means that if a pump is plugged in and on, it should be pushing water. Running a pump without liquid can increase wear on it’s moving parts due to the lack of lubrication. This will cause parts to rub down as if polished with sand-paper, and certainly decrease pump life. Some pumps will overheat if run dry (particularly submersible type pumps), as the moving water is their only way of cooling off for most pond pumps.


Restricting the output or input of a pump leads to impeller resistance wherein the pump can burn out prematurely. A pump should never be restricted more than 60% of it’s potential flow. Fortunately for the pond hobbiest, mag-drive pumps are the most forgiving of all pumps for resistance. If you accidentally close a valve all the way, do not fret.

Solids Entering the Pump

A pump passing solids can cause serious issues. Particles like dirt, sand and other grit can wear away the impeller and volute housing as they rub around inside. We’ve seen numerous non-solids-handling pumps fail this way when their pre-filters are removed.

Head Height Ideal Zone

Some pumps have an ideal head height operating zone, if operated outside of these set parameters, results can be similar to restriction.