It's that unfortunate time of year again; time to shut down your pond or water feature in preparation for the winter.
We all dread this day because it means that winter has come and the time for enjoying outdoor living has come to an end.
We're going to go over how to shut down a pond or water feature properly and painlessly. A pond shut down is a straight forward and easy process. Ensuring a proper shut down will help your system last longer, reduce future maintenance and keep everything functioning properly.
Here's Your Guide to Shutting Down Your Pond or Water Feature for the Winter.
Step 1: Remove Debris and Leaves
You'll want to start by skimming the water for leaves and picking up debris around the perimeter of the pond. This will help ensure the leaves and debris don't decay over the winter, causing more maintenance in the spring.
You'll also want to empty any skimmer baskets, filter mats, etc. ensuring all debris is removed.
Debris can build up over the course of the winter, once the debris has decayed it can cause a thick layer of muck to form at the bottom of the pond or water feature. If this happens to your feature, you'll want to rinse/pressure wash your feature continuously while pumping it out, do this until the pond is clean.
Step 2: Drain Water & Remove Fish
Once the surface debris and surrounding debris are cleared, you'll want to remove any fish (if you have them) from the pond. The easiest way to do this is by draining the water until there is only about 6 - 8 inches of water left. This will make catching the fish with a fish net a lot easier, saving you a lot of frustration.
If you don't have fish, draining the water at least half of the way down is good practice, this way when the snow melts in the spring, your feature isn't being flooded with water.
Draining the water feature will also help you reach any electronics inside the feature such as pumps, lighting or powerheads, etc.
Step 3: Test & Remove Electronics
Once the pond is drained, you'll want to test all your electronic components to ensure they're functioning properly. Doing this now will allow you to know what to expect come spring so you can save for the products and order them ahead of time. Now is a good time to check any Auto Doser, IonGen, etc. to ensure they don't need replacement product come spring.
Once testing is complete, you'll want to remove all electronics. Water expands and contracts throughout the winter months and freeze thaw cycle. If you leave the electronics in your water feature, there's a good chance they'll be damaged come spring when you go to start your water feature up for the season.
Removing electronics will ensure they last longer and avoid voiding any warranty your products carry.
Step 4: Clean Electrical Components and Filters
Once the electronics are removed, it's good practice to pressure wash and clean off all components that were removed. You'll want to do this now instead of spring for a few reasons.
When you store your products inside, if they aren't clean, they'll start to smell.
Your products will have bacteria film on them which helps make the cleaning process easy. If you wait until spring, this film will be dry and any debris or hardened film will be a lot harder to remove, if you can remove it at all.
It will keep your products functioning properly and ensure they stay looking new longer.
Clean the Pumps
You'll want to pressure wash any pumps to ensure they're clean for winter. You'll also want to open up the impeller chamber and clean the chamber to ensure it's clean, free from debris, stays working properly and ready for use come spring. A good pump cleaner will help you clean your pump effectively and easily.
Clean Skimmer, Biofalls or Vault
It's good practice to do a quick pressure wash of your filtration system to ensure it stays clean for the next season.
Step 5: Pressure Wash Your Water Feature and Pump it Out Until it's Clean (Optional)
This step is optional, you'll be doing a clean out in the spring.
When should you do a clean out during the shut down?
You'll want to consider doing a clean out if you have a build up of debris on the bottom of your pond/water feature or if there's excess debris, slime, algae built up.
If you think you should do a clean out, you'll want to pressure wash all surfaces as needed, starting at the top and working your way to the lower portions, while pumping out the water multiple times throughout the process.
Completing a clean out now will help make the spring start up and clean out a quicker and easier process.
Step 6: Store Electrical Components Indoors
You're basically done! All that's left is cleaning up and storing you equipment. You'll want to store your equipment in large plastic bins to ensure the equipment stays safe and is stored properly.
Products to Store Indoors Include:
Auto Dose Controller
Ion Gen Probe and Controller
Any other electronics or items that may be damaged by the harsh winter
Pro - Tip: Cover your Biofalls and Skimmer for the winter to ensure they stay free from interior ice build up. Not only will this prolong their life, you won't have to wait for them to thaw while starting your system up in the spring.
While storing your equipment in the bins, you'll want to leave air flow so any water inside the products can dry up, leaving the stored products dry and free from smells. The electronics should be stored indoors where temperatures stay above freezing. If your garage isn't heated, you'll want to store your products somewhere else.
Storing your products in freezing temperatures will allow any water left inside to expand and contract, leading to potential damage.
That's it! You've successfully completed your water feature shut down. Your system is now ready to take on the harsh winter that's on it's way.
In summary, a proper shut down will ensure your system lasts longer with less risk of damage throughout the harsh winter. Following these steps will ensure your system stays safe, giving you years of enjoyment.
Q: If you have any questions about this process, feel free to leave a comment below!
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