My Pump Quit! Now What?
Oh, no! My beautiful waterfall just quit working! What can I do? What's it going to cost? Can I deal with this myself, or do I have to hire a professional? Will my fish be okay?
These are usually the first panicky thoughts that run through people's minds when their pond pump quits working. Before paying for a service call to a professional, let’s check some basics to make sure you actually need professional help. Here are some basic, logical steps to checking out what's going on so that you'll know which professional to call if you need help.
If you're worried about your fish, you should have an air stone or two on hand to help with oxygenation of the water.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
If it's been raining recently, and things have gotten pretty sodden around your yard, unplug the pump and let everything dry out. Once you're sure it's all dry, reset the GFCI plug (and the breaker) and plug the pump back in.
Check the Electrical Connections
If rain and potentially wet connections aren't an issue, unplug the pump and check/reset ALL of the GFCI buttons and breakers to make sure that it’s not just a push of a button or a flip of a switch to solve the problem. There should be a GFCI reset button on the outlet where the pump plugs in. There's also a breaker in your home's breaker box. Make sure you check them both. If anything is tripped, reset it, and then plug the pump back in. Sometimes a surge in the electrical service can cause this to happen, and then it's no big deal to reset everything and you're back in business. It's always nice when a problem has a simple fix, isn't it?
Electrical CHECKED, Pump still Not Working
If the pump is still not coming on after resetting the plug and the breaker, then unplug it again. Now, take a hair dryer or a lamp or something easy to carry and plug it into the outlet that the pump was in (again, after making sure all the GFCI's are on). Does that appliance work?
Do I have to Call a Professional to Replace the PUmp?
Not necessarily! If you have a pump that just plugs into a standard GFCI outlet, you may be handy enough to replace it yourself. You may have to call around to find the appropriate replacement.
How Much is This Going to Cost?
The price will include a service call (varies by professional), as well as the price of the pump. You can obtain a replacement pump yourself at one of the big-box stores or from Amazon.com; however, be aware that if there's a warranty issue with the pump later on, it will be all on you to deal with it -- a professional will not honor the warranty on a pump that they did not provide.
When It's NOT an Emergency
During the winter, when the water is cold (below 55 degrees), your fish shouldn’t be in any immediate danger, especially if you have a good amount of surface area of water exposed for oxygen transfer, and your fish are less than 6" in length.
When It IS an Emergency!
During the summer, when our nights are not dipping below 90 degrees, it’s more of an issue, especially if you have fish larger than 6” in length and your pond is quite plant-heavy. Your pump going out under these conditions is considered an emergency.
Hope these tips help, and might even save you an unnecessary service call fee. Let us know if we can be of service!
OTHER POSTS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN:
WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT BEES IN MY POND?
7 TIPS TO KEEP POND WATER CLEAN
POND LEAK TROUBLESHOOTING