If you live in a colder climate and have an outdoor pond as part of your landscaping, it's time to do a little spring maintenance. You need to check out the pond's plumbing to make sure that the winter freeze hasn't damaged anything. Here's a quick guide to help you catch problems with your pond's plumbing.
Turn On The Pumps And Filters
Once the temperature outside seems to stabilize at 450F or above, it's time to switch your pond's pumps and filters back on. Before you start them up, visually inspect the pumps and filters for cracks, splits, or any other signs of damage, and replace anything that's showing signs of wear.
Make sure that you clear out any leaves, sticks, or other items that have gathered in the pump housing, spillway, or filters over the winter. Flush filters and pumps with clean water from your garden hose to clear them of any accumulated dirt. Don't use cleaners or detergents, because that can ruin the natural chemical balance of your pond - just run the water through the filters and pumps until the water runs clear.
Check Your Piping For Blockages And Corrosion
Take a plumber's snake (also called an auger) and run it the length of the pipes from wherever they connect to your regular plumbing. Do this every spring. If you don't own an auger, you can rent one from a hardware or DIY store. By making this a yearly habit, you'll help keep tree roots from building up in the pipes and clear out any debris that's slipped in over the fall and winter.
If you live in a colder climate, the best piping to use for your outdoor pond is PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - a type of plastic that's flexible enough to withstand the freezing and thawing of the ground that occurs all winter and early spring. Metal pipes will buckle and crack much more easily than PVC, so you want to be especially careful to check for corrosion and cracks every spring if your pipes are metal.
There are two sure signs that your pipes have deteriorated: an unexplained drop in your pond's water level or heavy soil erosion anywhere near the pipeline. If you see areas in your yard where the soil seems depressed or eroded anywhere close to where the pipes to your pond are run, you most likely have a corroded or severely damaged pipe. In some cases, soil can actually erode away from the pipe to the point where it leaves sections of the pipeline exposed. The exposed sections of pipe might look fine - the actual damage can be hidden underground several feet away, depending on the topography and general layout of your yard's landscaping. It's also possible that the soil erosion is unrelated to your pipes, so consider having plumbing services run a sewer camera through the pipes to see if you need major repairs or not.
Get Repairs Done Quickly
If you do find yourself faced with a major blockage that you can't clear with the auger or a damaged pipeline that has to be replaced, contact a professional who can help you get things fixed quickly, with minimal disruption to your pond or landscaping. That way you can enjoy your pond for as long as possible during the good weather!