We are asked this all the time by our customers and new pond and waterfall owners in the Morris, Hunterdon, and Sussex County New Jersey areas. Keeping your pond and waterfall running in New Jersey during the frozen months of December through March will allow you to enjoy the beautiful ice sculptures that form in the stream and waterfall, especially if you have LED Lighting.
Although beautiful, it’s possible that the ice buildup can form dams that could divert your pond or pondless basin water out of the pond. Check on the waterfall and stream and monitor the water level periodically in your pond and pondless basin throughout the winter. If you see an ice dam forming or the water level dropping at a high rate, your pond or pondless basin might be losing water because of the frozen sculpture or ice dams and it might be time to turn off the pump for the winter. If you decide to leave the pond running until warmer weather however, your main concern is to ensure there is enough water for the pump(s) to operate properly.
Can a Pond and Waterfall Run Through the Entire Winter?
During the winter months in New Jersey, the usual water supply options are not available. Outdoor water spigots and automatic water fill valves should be turned off and blown out to prevent pipes from freezing and cracking. Therefore, New Jersey pond and waterfall owners who run their systems during the winter will have to find an alternate water source to replenish their pond due to freezing and believe it or not evaporation. Water can be supplied via a hose run from inside the house or by making multiple trips with a five-gallon bucket. Generally speaking, it’s not uncommon to have to go out a few times a month during the winter to “top off” the pond.
Will the Waterfall Freeze Solid?
Pump size is important when determining a waterfall’s ability to operate during the winter. A pump that provides at least 2,000 gph can be operated throughout the winter without a problem, as long as it runs continuously. Moving water will usually keep a hole open in the ice around the waterfalls and in front of the circulation system. However, repeated days in sub-zero temperatures may lead to excessive ice build-up and can cause the system to operate improperly. If the flow of water into the circulation system is unable to keep up with the pump because of ice build-up, it may be necessary to shut the system down. The system can be run again once the ice is melted and normal water flow is restored.
Will the Filters and Pipes Crack?
Most good filters are constructed out of rotational-molded polyethylene, and are designed to bow and bend with the freezing and thawing effects of winter. The PVC flex pipe is reinforced and will also not crack unless water is left in the pipe over the winter and allowed to freeze. If you decide to keep the pump running all winter long, there will still be a constant flow of water traveling through the pipe, and the moving water will not freeze.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line for winterization in our New Jersey climate is maintenance. Roughly 90 percent of pond and waterfall owners we service decide to shut down their system because tending to their water garden during the bitter months of the winter can be frustrating and sometimes not realistic. The aesthetic rewards of the winter pond and waterfall are absolutely worthwhile, so by all means; don’t be afraid to keep the system running as long as possible. Shutting down a pond during winter is also an option. Just be sure you take precautionary measures to preserve fish, plant, and pump life.
A Frog’s Dream Aquatic Services is offering this pond blog as a personal information source to our website visitors. Pond services are performed in Morris County New Jersey (NJ) Hunterdon County New Jersey (NJ) Somerset County (NJ) and Warren County (NJ).Waterfall ponds, Streams, and Fountains are all in our wheelhouse of talent. Explore our website for more ideas. Like our Facebook page for daily inspiration. Receive our newsletter for weekly pond tips.
Over the last 18 years, Clay has been involved in landscaping and aquascaping, which led him to his passion, POND BUILDING and opening A Frog’s Dream in 2006. His true passion is to create works of art for others to enjoy and marvel at in the privacy of their own backyards.