Selecting Water Pumps for Garden Waterfalls
Over the years, many people have created do-it-yourself (DIY) garden waterfalls and water features around their home. It might be a fun family project for you, too. By doing it yourself, you can save a lot of money. When it turns out great, you can proudly show off your creative talent to friends and family. Be careful though — if it turns out too good, you might get asked to help other people create theirs!
Here is an example of one model of a submersible pump for a waterfall, fish pond, or aquarium. DIY projects can be very simple, like a single water fountain, or very elaborate. Some even have a cascading waterfall going to a stream and running into a pool.
No matter what size project you settle on, we know you will need an electric water pump to circulate the water. Let’s assume you are going to make a project like a picture, one waterfall into a small pool of water. Before you leave to buy the pump, you have to determine two things. You won’t be able to buy the right size pump by just looking at the volume or power rating on the pump package.
Determine the Lift
The first thing you need to know is high the pump has to lift the water to get the desired effect. Use a tape measure to determine the altitude. Measure from the bottom of the pool of water to the point of the outflow. Let’s say it is 36 inches for this project. When you are shopping, look at the specifications on the box. What is the maximum height the pump will lift water? Buy a pump with more lift than you measured. That ensures you have enough water pressure to overcome any other factors you might not have considered.
Determine the Gallons per Hour
The second thing you need to know is the number of gallons of water it will pump per hour to that height. As a general rule of thumb, a pump should move the total volume of water in an hour. So, if the pool holds 150 gallons of water, buy a pump that delivers at least 150 gallons per hour (gph).
You might not know how much total water you are circulating. Multiply the length times the width times the average depth to get cubic feet of space. For example, suppose your pool is 3 feet square and 2 feet deep. The volume would be 18 (3 times 3 times 2) cubic feet of water. Each cubic foot of water contains 7.5 gallons. Multiply the 18 cubic feet by 7.5 gallons, and that gives you a total volume of 135 gallons. Round that up to 150 and get an appropriate pump for 150 gph.
Talk to an Advisor
Depending on whether this is a simple or a complicated water feature, there may be other factors involved in the pump choice. If you gather these two pieces of information first (36 inches of lift and 150 gallons per hour), then you can talk to someone with experience at the store where you do your pump shopping. They can advise you on pump sizing. It is better to buy a larger pump with extra power than a smaller one that provides a weak flow.
Check your Power Supply
Make sure you have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet for the pump power supply. If you need a new power outlet added near the water feature, or an old one upgraded, give us a call. We’ll be glad to ensure the power is safe and properly sized for your application. We have been your trusted and qualified Indianapolis electrical contractor for over 35 years, and we will continue to provide that same excellent service.
Now you know how to select the right pump for garden waterfalls. Good luck with a successful project!