What Size Pump Do I Need For My Water Feature

What Size Pump Do You Need For Your Water Feature?

When attempting to DIY or create a water feature in your backyard, you may be unsure of how to select the appropriate pump size for your project’s requirements. When I initially started working on my first water feature, I had a difficult time locating the correct pump for the job. The numbers were quite perplexing, and I ultimately decided to simply choose one at random and hope it worked out. However, you are not need to become mired down in all of the fountain pump lingo, as I was first. Today, I’ll show you exactly which figures to pay attention to and which ones to disregard, as well as give simplified explanations for each of these statistics.

Many of the specifications that are prominently displayed on fountain pumps aren’t really useful in judging whether or not the pump is the proper size.

  • Head height and maximum height
  • Lift and maximum lift
  • Cord length (this is stupid, but it is vital! )
  • Gallons per hour (GPH).

The terms wattage and voltage will be explained more at the conclusion of this essay, but the specifications provided above will be the most helpful in deciding the appropriate fountain pump size for you. So, let’s take a closer look at what each of these phrases means in greater depth. Watch this video to learn how to decipher the technical specifications for a solar or electric fountain pump. What is the definition of gallons per hour (GPH)? What is the maximum lift that a pump can provide?

Is it important to consider the voltage and wattage of the fountain pump while selecting the proper one?

Gallons per hour (GPH)

Gallons per hour is a unit of measurement used to assess the rate at which water is circulated in your fountain. It is advised that the water in your fountain be circulated at least once an hour, if not more frequently. It’s just a matter of calculating the volume of water that will be used by your fountain. If you are utilizing a pre-made basin, this is a straightforward process. If your basin has a capacity of 20 gallons, you’ll need a pump with a capacity of 20 gallons per hour (or higher).

Head Height and Max Head

Another measurement you’ll need to be aware of is the height of your head. The head height is the vertical height measured from the water level of the water feature to the top of your fountain head (where the water spits out). The spec you will see on a fountain pump, however, will not be the head height, but rather the maximum head or the maximum head. Furthermore, this is the greatest distance over which it can propel the water straight up. For a basic fountain, it is rather straightforward to obtain this vertical measurement.

  • Consider the creation of a fountain that cascades down a river bed into a pond below the surface of the water.
  • You should always measure straight upwards, even if there is a significant horizontal distance between the two sites in question.
  • This will be quite close to the quantity of tube or pipe you’ll need to get the water to the top of the tower.
  • Consider the following scenario: I have a waterfall/river fountain with a vertical distance of 5 feet from the top of the pond and the top of the cascade.
  • First, multiply the entire horizontal/diagonal measurement by ten to get the final result.
  • After that, add this number to the vertical measurement you took earlier.

So, in this case, we will add 2 feet to the 5 feet of vertical distance, resulting in a head height of 7 feet. Does that make sense? This means that you will need to select a pump that has a maximum head greater than 7 feet in this case.

Lift and Max Lift

Another measurement you’ll need to take is the lift, which will help you choose the best fountain pump for your needs. The lift is the distance (measured in feet) between your pump and the point at which the water will flow. The distinction between lift and head is that for lift we are measuring directly from the pump, but for head we are measuring indirectly from the pump (even if the pump is under water). The height of the head is measured above the surface of the water. Knowing the distance that water must travel between your pump and your fountain head allows you to calculate the maximum lift, also known as the max lift, that you’ll require.

Cord Length

I realize this is a ridiculous topic to be discussing. However, it’s something I had completely overlooked till now. Some electric pumps are equipped with extremely lengthy cables. Others have cables that are quite short. As a result, it’s always a good idea to know how long of a cord you’ll require before making a purchase. Of course, the length of the cable for an electric pump is significant if the water feature will be close to your home and you will be able to connect it into an electrical outlet.

  • Also, remember that a submersible pump is located at the very bottom of a pond or basin, so take that into consideration.
  • To remedy the situation, you may purchase an outside electrical cord (Amazon link) as well as an outdoor cord cover (both sold separately) (Amazon link).
  • Take no chances — you’ll need outdoor-rated wires and protective boxes to keep yourself safe.
  • You’d be mistaken, my friend, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Using a solar fountain pump does not automatically imply that the pump is wireless in operation.
  • Consequently, you’ll want to make sure that the length of the wire is sufficient to allow you to position the solar panel in a location where it will receive the greatest amount of direct sunlight possible.
  • Because they’ll be running separate wires and splicing it all together for you, the length of the cord won’t matter too much in this scenario.

When it comes to this sort of water feature, voltage becomes increasingly essential (see voltage section below for more info) I’m hoping I’ve just saved you from the troubles I’ve been having with cord length. Thanks for reading.

Wattage and Voltage

You may have noticed some additional specifications on your fountain pump and wondered what they were. Wattage (in watts) and voltage (in volts) are two additional typical specifications you’ll find (volts).


The wattage specification will assist you in determining how much energy is required by your pump in order to, well, pump. This is an excellent specification for determining the yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily costs of operating your water feature. If you’re interested in finding out how much it costs to run an electric water feature on a daily basis, I’ve included a helpful fountain electricity cost calculator right here. Overall, wattage is not a characteristic I would pay attention to when selecting the best pump for your needs.


It is possible that if the voltage of your pump is not high enough, the pump may wind up operating on high amps all of the time, which can either harm your pump or cause it to stop working completely. In most cases, your pump is intended to run at a specified voltage that has been set by the manufacturer of the pump. In the event that you are encountering issues with your pump, monitoring the voltage will oftentimes assist you in further troubleshooting the situation. Low voltage pumps are safer for beginners to use since they are less dangerous and the wiring is typically simpler to install.

In order to install a typical 120-volt pump, you will need to get an electrical permit, bury the cable deep below, and install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected outlet.

In general, for a modest backyard water feature, I don’t think voltage is a very relevant requirement to investigate.

Fountain Pump Recommendations

Listed below are the two fountain pumps that I would suggest for a little backyard water feature. The specifications for the electric and solar systems are nearly identical. Purchasing the solar pump battery backup is something I would strongly recommend if you decide to go green with your energy sources. Pump for a fountain that runs on electricity Pump for a solar-powered fountain Battery backup for solar-powered pumps

Electric vs. Solar

In case you’re interested in learning more about the differences between electric and solar pumps, this page includes a detailed comparison as well as a video.

DIY Fountain Tutorial

In case you’re interested in learning more about how to build your own DIY fountain, check out this article: One of the simplest (and coolest) water features to make is a fountain.

Some final thoughts on water feature pump size

When selecting a fountain pump, consider the gallons per hour (GPH), the maximum height, the maximum lift, and even the length of the cable. And, especially if you are choosing a tiny pump for a backyard project, try not to get too caught up with the voltage and wattage specifications. Hope this post provided you with all of the knowledge and confidence you need to select the best pump for your specific situation!

If you’re interested in creating your own water feature, you might be interested in reading this post, which explains how I created a really awesome pondless water feature in less than a day. It was a super simple and enjoyable project to complete!

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Five Sizing Considerations When Choosing a Pump for Your Water Feature

Pumps for outdoor fountains and water features are sized based on the amount of water they must move and the pressure they must exert. Pumps for water features are often designed to deliver high flow at low pressure. The flow rate of smaller pumps is normally measured in gallons per hour (GPH), whereas bigger pumps are often measured in gallons per minute (gpm) (GPM). But how can you figure out what big water feature you’ll need for your home? Continue reading to find out!

1. Water feature volume.

Pumps with greater capacities are required. For a pond or fountain’s capacity in gallons, multiply the pond or fountain’s length by its breadth by its average depth (all measured in feet) by 7.5. The flow rate of a 150 GPH pump would be appropriate for a 300-gallon water feature of the sort (described below) that requires water circulation every two hours and demands water circulation every two hours.

2. Water feature type.

The minimum water circulation frequency (or flow rate) will be determined by a number of factors, including: When using water features with skimmers, it is recommended that they be circulated every per hour. Ponds without fish can have a water circulation rate of once every two hours, however stocked ponds should have a circulation rate at least twice as high as the former. Smaller ponds under 250 gallons should have their water circulated at least once per hour, while bigger ponds should have their water circulated at a frequency around half that of the smaller ponds.

3. Height.

Fountains and other water features that require more water pressure will necessitate the use of more powerful pumps, and the product description for each pump will specify the “head height” required. You may figure out what kind of minimum head height you’ll need by measuring the vertical height to which water must be lifted from the pump plus one-tenth of the horizontal distance that the water must travel.

4. Discharge diameter

For water features when you want to employ certain tubing sizes (for example, when matching the input hole of a fountain feature), refer to the pump’s rated discharge diameter for guidance. There should be a match between these two figures; otherwise, the stated flow rate will be inaccurate.

5. Livestock.

Animal-friendly water features, such as fish tanks, will require extra aeration. A bigger pump generates more water circulation, which promotes both aeration and filtration as a result of the increased circulation. Ponds with more powerful pumps can accommodate a greater number of fish. When purchasing a pump for a fishpond, a general rule of thumb is to get one that has double the flow capacity suggested by the other size parameters. More information may be found in this in-depth article on pond aeration and maintenance (in English).

Our company has over 50 years of expertise supplying South Carolina with high-quality items. You can rely on us to provide you with the finest service available.

How to Choose a Pump

A pump is like the beating heart of your pond; it circulates the water and directs it through your filtration unit, spitter, or waterfall, among other things. Choosing the appropriate pump for the job will guarantee that your water is adequately filtered and that your water feature is in its finest possible condition. The following points should be taken into consideration while shopping:

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Looking to send water cascading over a waterfall, run a mini fountain, or pass water through a UV clarifier? We have everything you need.

  • Fountains and spitters, on the other hand, require a smaller pump. Consider purchasing a pump from ourFountainSpitter Pumpcategory
  • Waterfalls take a few additional calculations to find the appropriate size. More information on sizing a waterfall pump may be found in the section below. Our Waterfall Pumps are available in a number of sizes to provide the flow you want
  • UV Clarifiers and Pressure Filters, for example, often have a suggested pump size for maximum performance. Please refer to your handbook or the product page to determine the appropriate pump size
  • Nevertheless, please keep in mind that head pressure will be a consideration (see below)

Minimum Pump Size

A minimum of once every two hours, water must be circulated through the filter. It follows from this that, if you have a 1,000-gallon pond, you will want a pump that can produce at least 500 gallons per hour, or GPH. If you have fish, it is recommended that you double the capacity of your pump to guarantee that your water remains clean. However, the size of your waterfall, stream, or fountain is often the determining factor in which pump will work best in your feature. A frequent fallacy is that pump size is primarily tied to water volume in your pond; however, this is not true.

Measurements Needed

The head pressure and intended flow rate of your water feature will determine the size of the pump that will be required to power it. When water is pushed uphill or over long distances, it creates friction, which is referred to as head pressure. The amount of water that flows through the feature is determined by the flow rate. Here are some pointers on how to calculate these measurements:

  1. Vertical distance from water surface to top of waterfall and length of tubing combine to create head pressure, which is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). One foot of vertical height or ten feet of tube is equal to one foot of head pressure in the air. The result would be 5 feet of head pressure for a structure that is 3 feet tall and has 16 feet of tubing attached to it. Flow Rate (in liters per minute): When a waterfall is 1 foot wide, the average volume of water flowing over it is 1,500 gallons per minute (GPH). As a result, a waterfall that is 2′ broad would require a pump that can provide 3,000 GPH. If you want a higher flow rate, calculate your flow rate using 2,000 GPH per foot. Putting the Pieces Together: Perhaps you’ve observed that the flow rates displayed on our pumps correspond to various head pressures, and that all you have to do is match the numbers. We’ll use the following example: If you wanted your feature to have a lot of flow, you’d need a pump that could deliver around 4,000 GPH at 5 feet of head pressure. Due to the fact that this pump generates 3,900 GPH at 5′ of head pressure, the Pond Guy RapidFlo – 4,000 GPH would be an excellent choice.

Types of Pumps

Submersible pumps and external pumps are the two types of pumps available. Submersible pumps are popular for ponds because they can be concealed and utilized in skimmer boxes, which makes them more attractive. There are many different types of pumps available, so the following advice will assist you in determining which one is best for you.

  • Spitters, in-pond filtration systems and other small to medium sized applications are ideal for Mag-Drive technology. The Pond Guy MagFlo, as well as other pumps of similar type, are powered by a magnetic impeller. These are often long-lasting, with the majority of the time simply a new impeller being required to keep the pump running smoothly. They are ideal for medium to large applications because they offer a higher flow rate at lower head pressures than synchronous and hybrid designs. pumps with asynchronous and hybrid drives, such as theAtlantic Tidal Wave3 TT-Series and theBlue Thumb IllumiFlow, have a long life duration and behave like direct drives while being more energy efficient than mag-drives. High Head Pressure and Flow Rate: The ShinMaywa Norus Submersible and other direct drive pumps are built with characteristics that allow for high head pressure and flow rate. Most types need frequent oil or lubricant changes in order to maintain the impeller shaft operating correctly. Having fewer moving components makes these pumps more cost-effective to acquire
  • But, their lifespan is shorter than that of the other type of pump.

Having trouble deciding which pump would work best for your pond or water feature? Call us at 866-766-3435 if you have any questions. We’re more than delighted to assist you!

How to Size a Fountain Pump

In order to choose the best pump for your pond or fountain, you must go beyond the obvious choices of color, style, and design. Submersible fountain pumps are available in a variety of sizes, and you should select one that is appropriate for the amount of water your water feature retains and elevates in a given length of time. The simplest submersible pump, intended to recirculate 50 gallons or less per hour, is sufficient for the majority of tiny fountains and ponds. Larger ponds featuring fountains or waterfalls demand a more powerful pump to keep the water flowing.


  • Measure the diameter of the fountain spout with a tape measure to ensure it is the correct size. By multiplying the diameter by 100, you will be able to calculate the gallons per hour, or GPH, required. For example, if your fountain spout has a diameter of 1 inch and a flow rate of 1 x 100 = 100 GPH, your pump will need to have a flow rate of 100 GPH as well.


  • Calculate the total height of the fountain, including the pump and the fountain head or spout. Amount of water that can be lifted or pushed by a pump in order to reach the fountain head is determined by this measurement, which is expressed as a maximum head height rating. This measurement is distinct from the “pumping height,” which is the measurement taken from the output port on the pump to the surface of the water above the waterline.


  • Specifications for the fountain may be found in the pump box. For example, the following specs may be found on a fountain pump package: Pump type is submersible
  • GPH is 170.0
  • Maximum lift (inches) is 49.0
  • Horsepower (HP) is 0.01
  • UL and CSA Safety Listings are present
  • Warranty is two years.


For maximum performance, choose a pump that is at least one and one-half times the height of the head you want to use. For example, if your fountain is 30 inches tall, you should look for a pump that has a maximum lift of 45 inches or greater. It is important to select a pump with a maximum head height that is higher than the height of your fountain in order to guarantee that there is a strong water flow into and out of the fountain head.

The usage of a flow reducer can always be used to decrease the flow; but, in order to increase the flow, you would need to acquire a stronger or higher rated pump.


Remember to always utilize the proper tubing size because it has a direct impact on the maximum lift capabilities of the pump. Water circulation and maximum lift are both reduced when smaller tubing is used than what is stated in the specifications.


  1. When installing or making repairs to a submersible pump, make certain that it is not connected to the electrical system. The act of picking up a live pump with wet hands, while standing in water, or while on damp surfaces might result in a lethal electrical shock.

What Size Pump Do You Need For Your Water Feature? (Expert Guide)

This is an in-depth guide on selecting the proper pump size for your water feature. It includes the following topics:

  • What is the required flow rate for my water feature pump
  • What is the maximum head that my water feature pump requires
  • What is the required cable length for my water feature pump

The following guidance is for anyone attempting to choose which pump is best suited to their particular application or project. Let’s get this party started.

What flow rate does my water feature pump need?

In the plumbing industry, flow rate is a phrase used to describe the volume of water that flows through your pump over a given length of time. In the United Kingdom, flow rate is measured in litres per minute (LPM) rather than gallons per hour (GPH), as it is in the United States. In the case of a pump with a flow rate of 10/LPM (Litres per Minute), a single minute will filter and push 10 litres of water through the system. As of right now, it is recommended that the water in your fountain be cycled at least once an hour.

Simply divide the total water capacity of your pond by 60 to obtain the flow rate that you will require for your system.

In this situation, a pump with a flow rate greater than 116.6 LPM is required.

What head does my water feature pump need?

When purchasing a water feature pump, you’ll also want to be aware of the head height, which is another important consideration. The distance between the water level and the top of your fountain head is referred to as the head height. To determine the height of your fountain head, just measure the distance between the water level and the top of the fountain head. Although the word “head height” is included in the pump’s specification, you will not see it when you purchase the pump. Instead, you will see something referred to as “Max Head.” This is the maximum head height rating at which your pump will be able to propel water straight up into the air.

The only thing you must do to determine the right maximum head for your fountain is to ensure that the maximum head of your water feature pump is larger than the maximum head of your fountain.

In contrast, you can see in this example that the maximum head of the pump is smaller than the maximum height of the fountain’s head height.

What cable length does my water feature pump need?

It may seem a little silly, but you should pay close attention to the length of the wire that connects the fountain pump to the mains. The extra-long cables that certain fountain pumps are equipped with make them suitable for connecting to a power outlet in the garage or another easily accessible power outlet. Pumps in other styles are frequently manufactured in the standard submersible pump type, which is typically utilized in commercial contexts, such as construction sites, where they can be quickly linked to a generator.

To get the proper cable length for your pond pump, simply measure the distance between your chosen accessible power outlet and the very bottom of your pond or water basin, then multiply that distance by two.

Check for trees or plants that may require a little slack to cross problematic branches or tree stumps, and be sure you account for them.

Pump Specification Cheat Sheet

There are a few other specifications for your fountain pump that you should be aware of, but the only ones that are crucial for sizing your pump are the Flow Rate, Max Head, and Cable Length. There are a few other specifications for your fountain pump that you should be aware of. However, it should be noted that being aware of all of the various specifications will assist you in making a better, more educated decision. We’ve put up this easy pump specification cheat sheet to make things easier for you.

  • Pumps powered by electricity The vast majority of pond and fountain pumps are powered by electricity.
  • PV Solar PumpsA rising number of solar-powered pumps are becoming available on the market.
  • For this pump to function properly, it will require direct sunshine.
  • This can really be a very important specification since it can distinguish between high-quality, energy-efficient pumps and lower-quality, energy-guzzling pumps on the market.
  • Connection TypeThis is yet another essential specification, since it refers to the size of the bolt that joins your fountain head or other pipes to the rest of the plumbing system.
  • This is a very significant specification in terms of material.
  • When it comes to wear and tear, plastic is frequently the victim, and will break far more frequently than a fountain pump constructed of stainless steel or brass components.

Free Advice

If you need assistance with fountain pump sizing, please call our experienced specialists on 0800 112 3134 or 0333 577 3134. They are available 24/7. We are open Monday through Friday from 07:00 to 17:30 and on Saturday from 08:30 to 12:30 p.m.

How to Choose the Correct Size Pond Water Pump – Grainger KnowHow

The selection of a pump for your pond or fountain is a vital step in ensuring that the water is moving properly. Stagnant water, algae accumulation, and mosquitoes are all possible consequences of poor water movement. If you have fish, plants, or other aquatic life in your pond, it is critical that you maintain the water’s health by uniformly dispersing the oxygen levels and other nutrients throughout the water body.

Types of Pond Water Pumps

Pond water pumps are generally classified into two categories: submersible and non-submersible.

Each pump has its own set of benefits, which vary depending on the application.

Submersible Pond Pumps

At the deepest portion of the pond, submersible pumps are designed to be completely immersed underwater and operate without interruption. They may be placed directly into your pond, in a skimmer box, or in a pond vault, depending on your preference. Submersible pumps are available in capacities ranging from 50 to 5,000 gallons per hour (GPH). They are simple to install and, in certain cases, are a more cost-effective alternative for smaller ponds (up to 1,000 gallons of water). They are also rather quiet, and they may be used to drain your pond as well.

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Non-submersible Pond Pumps

Non-submersible pond pumps are a dependable and energy-efficient alternative to submersible pond pumps. Their installation is carried out in a dry region close to your water feature. Non-submersible pond water pumps are best suited for bigger ponds with more water (over 1,000 gallons). They are often noisier and more difficult to install than a submersible pump, but they are also less expensive to maintain during their lifetime.

How to Size a Fountain or Pond Pump

Pond pumps are scaled in GPH at one foot of lift or height, with the lift or height measured in feet. Pumps with a higher capacity are graded according to their horsepower (HP). For the purpose of determining the size of the pump you require, first determine how much water is contained in the pond. A pond’s capacity in gallons may be calculated by multiplying its length by its breadth by its average depth by 7.5. In order to describe the dimensions in feet, the length, breadth, and depth must be specified.

Water Circulation Factors

At the very least, it is advised that the pond water be circulated once each hour. For example, if you have a 500-gallon pond, you will want a pump that can deliver 500 GPH at its maximum capacity. This is especially true if the water feature also includes a skimmer or waterfall. The water in your pond should be turned about once every two hours if it contains a pressured filter, which is the recommended practice. For example, if you have a 1,000-gallon pond, you’ll need a pond pump with a minimum flow rate of 500 GPH to keep it running smoothly.

Calculating Head and Lift Height

When sizing a pond or fountain pump, the maximum head height rating and the maximum lift are two of the most significant metrics to consider. The vertical height to which the pump elevates water above the surface of the pond is referred to as the head height. The “maximum head” of a pond fountain pump refers to the highest height to which the water may be lifted from the pond surface by the pump. Vertical and horizontal flow are measured by their length, and one foot is added to the maximum head for every ten feet of horizontal and diagonal distance.

Then you must choose a pump that has a lift that is more than that measurement.

Example: If the distance is 24 inches, you will need a fountain pump that rises at least 36 inches in order to get the desired effect. Water is lifted to the utmost height possible by the pump, which is referred to as the “maximum lift.”

Powering the Pump

Keeping in mind that different pond pumps have varied chord lengths is vital when choosing one for your pond. Make sure the cord is long enough to go all the way through the pond and that it is plugged in far enough away from the water to be effective. In certain jurisdictions, electrical standards require that outlets for water features be at least 6 feet away from the water source. Always use an outlet intended for outdoor usage and equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which will shut down the power if there is an overload.

Selecting the Proper Pond Water Pump Tubing

It is also critical to utilize the proper tubing size since the maximum lift capability of the pond pump is directly proportional to the size of the tubing. If you use smaller tubing than what is provided, you will reduce the maximum lift of the pump as well as the volume of water circulated. Preparing for the purchase of a pond water pump for your pond or fountain necessitates careful thinking and a little preliminary study. This will go a long way toward ensuring that your water is pure and nutritious, as well as that your pump is running properly.

This website makes no assurance that the information or references are complete or that they will remain up to date.

Readers who have particular queries should refer to the appropriate standards or get legal advice from a qualified professional.

How to Choose a Fountain Pump

Most individuals make the mistake of buying the wrong pump when they are putting up an artificial waterfall or pondless cascade. If the pump is overly strong, they will either get a swarm of jets of water blasting out of the fountain or a sad little trickle from the fountain. The most common error that leads to this inaccuracy is selecting a pump only on the basis of its gallons per hour capacity (GPH). This is the rate at which the pump moves water, and while it is a good indicator of the pump’s power and an essential figure when selecting a pump for a pond, it isn’t quite the number you want to focus on when selecting a pump for a fountain.

This is a measurement of how far the pump is capable of pumping water, and it is commonly expressed in inches.

Instead, you should select a pump that has a maximum lift that is somewhat higher than the height of the fountain.

When selecting a pump, there are a few additional factors to consider, the most essential of which is the lifting capacity.

  • Hourly flow rate in gallons It was just a few minutes ago that you told me to disregard this.) Based on how much water you want to come out of the fountain, the general guideline is 100 GPH per one inch diameter of the fountain outlet
  • Pump size are also important considerations. Check to see that the pump will fit in the location where you intend to install it
  • Discharge size. The size of the actual output of the pump is indicated below. You’ll want to make sure that the discharge size of the pump corresponds to the size of the tubing that you’ll be utilizing for the fountain’s plumbing before proceeding. Having the proper discharge size simplifies the entire process significantly.

Waterfall Flow Rates – What Size Pump Do I Need For My Waterfall?

When it comes to waterfalls and streams, your pump should be capable of pumping at least 100 gallons per hour for every inch the waterfall is in width. Increase the flow rate of your waterfalls to 200 gallons per hour per inch of waterfall width if you want to hear more noise and see more “white-water.” Waterfalls composed of water flowing over cut stone will produce 100 to 150 gallons per hour per inch broad of waterfall, depending on the size of the waterfall. Water dropping from rocks at a rate of 200-500 gallons per hour per inch wide of waterfalls will produce a pleasing white-water appearance in waterfalls formed of boulders.

To grasp this concept, it is necessary to recall that water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, and the higher the pressure at which a pump must push the water, the less volume it will supply.

To create a nice “average” looking waterfall or stream,it takes 1,800 gallons per hour (30 gallons per minute) for every 1 foot of width.

If you want to know how much GPH/GPM you’ll need for a waterfall or stream, multiply the width in feet by 30 GPM. Example: Calculate the flow rate of a “average” waterfall that is 3′ wide and 10′ high above the pond by multiplying 3′ (width) by 30 gpm, which is 90 gpm or 5,400 gpm at 10 feet of head. Now, check through our pumps to select the one that produces 5,400 GPH/90 GPM at 10 of head and is in stock. Here’s where you’ll find your pump! That is all there is to it! You may increase the flow rate to create a roaring cascade of “white-water,” or you can decrease the flow rate to create a more soft effect, depending on your preference.

What Size Pond Pump Do I Need? (Pump Calculator Guide)

It is critical to select the appropriate pond pump size in order to get optimal flow while also avoiding damage to equipment. The correct pump may be a critical component of the ecosystem of a garden pond. A pump helps to keep fish healthy by circulating the water in your pond and ensuring that the levels of dissolved oxygen remain at acceptable levels. Keeping the water flowing also aids in the distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout the pond, as well as the prevention of the growth of pests like as mosquitoes and algae.

The majority of pumps are either submersible, which means they sit on the pond’s bottom, or external, which means they are located above the water’s surface level.

You wouldn’t put the same engine in a diesel truck and a tiny automobile since they are very different applications.

When sizing a pump, two crucial parameters must be taken into consideration: the flow rate and the head.

In this article, we will aim to simplify the complicated mathematics related with flow in order to make it easier to accurately size pumps for a variety of water features and fish ponds, among other things.

Pump Head vs Flow Rate – What’s The Difference? (Flow Definitions)

Because there is greater height in the system, the pump’s flow rate and head height requirements increase according to its size. The first step in properly sizing a pump is determining the flow rate that is required. Flow rate refers to the amount of water that is transported in a certain amount of time. Gallons per hour (GPH) or liters per hour (LPH) are the most often used units of measurement, depending on where you reside (LPH). The greater the amount of energy your pump is capable of supplying, the greater the amount of water it can move at one time.

  • Pumps do not always deliver the same amount of flow in every setting.
  • The head of a pump is an engineering term that refers to the height to which water is lifted above the surface of a pond by a pump.
  • This is due to the fact that the more the distance traveled by water, the greater the resistance to its flow created by gravity and friction.
  • Your pump should be able to deliver the necessary flow rate at the head height of your system.

2) Total Dynamic Head (TDH)Friction Head

Even the material of your pipes, as well as the diameter of your pipe, might have an impact on friction head – although this is generally minor in ponds. The total dynamic head height of a pond design is referred to as its Total Dynamic Head height (TDH). Precision TDH calculations can be time-consuming and difficult to perform because of the large number of variables involved. When it comes to a backyard pond, though, it’s easy to keep things simple. There are a total of ten feet of head for every one foot of vertical distance between the surface of the pond and the highest point where the water is pushed to.

  1. True TDH estimates can include the effects of friction head and pressure head as well.
  2. In most cases, the friction head makes little difference in the performance of garden ponds, and a full explanation is beyond the scope of this text.
  3. When selecting a pump, always keep in mind that the pipe size recommended by the manufacturer should be followed.
  4. It is wasteful to use a thinner pipe since it reduces the efficiency of your pump and can possibly cause harm to some configurations.

Every 90-degree curve in the pipe adds another foot of head to the total. In order to make more precise estimations, a friction loss chart might be used. Please keep in mind that they are typically meant for use by professional landscapers only.

3) Pressure HeadMax Head

Pressure head will vary depending on the equipment in your system, but it may be significantly increased by the use of pressured filters, clarifiers, and in-line heaters, among other things. The resistance from devices that function by applying pressure is referred to as pressure head. If your pump will be used to power a pressured filter, UV clarifier, or spray nozzle, you may need to incorporate a pressure head in your design. (While it is simple to approximate the pressure head of a device, if you happen to know the device’s actual pressure, you may calculate it precisely using the conversion factor.

  1. If you require 3,000 GPH at 10 feet of head, a pump that can only provide you with that flow rate at 5 feet will not be powerful enough for the job.
  2. One of them will be the maximum head height, which is the distance over which a pump can push water at its maximum capacity.
  3. Pumps’ maximum head heights can be used to compare the strength of different models.
  4. The following step is to put them into action on your specific configuration.

What Size Pump For Waterfalls, FountainsFeatures?

When estimating fountain flow rates, it is necessary to take into consideration both the output diameter and the vertical height of the pump. The size of your pump has a direct impact on the look of water features such as fountains and waterfalls in your landscape. The water feature will be the only thing linked to the pump in order to keep things as straightforward as possible. If you wish to incorporate more components, such as additional filters, you’ll need to be sure to account for them as well.

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Measure the diameter of the outflow of your fountain in order to determine the flow rate you’ll require.

Next, determine the height of your fountain’s head by measuring the vertical distance between the exit and the height at where the pump is located.

This gap can be bridged by using a pump with a maximum head height that is about 1.5 times larger than the distance between the two points.

Consider this: If your fountain’s head height is 22 inches and the diameter of its outlet is 3 inches, you’ll want a pump that can provide at least 300 GPH (3 * 100 = 300 GPH) and has a maximum head height of about 33 to 35 inches (22 * 1.5 = 33).

Waterfall Pump CalculatorGuidance:

In order to have the best waterfall flow, you must take into account both the spillway width and the vertical height of the feature. The process of sizing a pump for a waterfall is similar, but there are a few differences. Measure the vertical distance between the surface of the water and the top of the waterfall in order to determine its head height. Make sure you add one foot of head for every ten feet of pipe that will be used to connect the pump to the waterfall. After that, measure the breadth of the waterfall where the water will flow over into the pool below it.

If you want a softer flow, reduce this value to 100 GPH per inch; if you want a more strong flow, increase it to 200 GPH per inch.

If your waterfall is 6 feet tall from the pond surface to the top of the cascade and is linked with a 20-foot hose, your pump will need to generate 3,000 GPH at 8 feet of head height (6 + 20/10 = 8 feet) in order to function properly.

Table 1. Calculating Flow Rate and Head Height for Fountain and Waterfall Pumps
Flow Rate Head Height
Fountain Flow rate = 100 GPH * every inch of outlet diameter
  1. The maximum head height of the pump should be 1.5 times larger than the vertical distance between the pump and the exit.
Waterfall Flow rate = width of the fall in inches multiplied by
  • 100 GPH for mild flow, 150 GPH for medium flow, and 200 GPH for strong flow are the recommended values.
  1. For every 1 foot of vertical distance between the pond surface and the top of the waterfall, add 1 foot to the total length. For every 10 feet of horizontal piping, add 1 foot to the length.

What Size Pump For Fish, GoldfishKoi Ponds?

For heavily stocked fish ponds, you’d want complete water circulation every hour, but this may be reduced to half an hour for ponds with low or no fish populations. When selecting a circulation pump for your pond, the most significant considerations are the volume of your pond and the number of fish you have. Your pump should circulate the whole volume of water in your pond every hour if your pond is highly populated with fish. That instance, if your pond has a capacity of 1,200 gallons, your pump should be capable of delivering a flow rate of 1,200 GPH at the head height of the outlet.

  • To calculate the capacity of your pond in gallons, multiply the length, breadth, and depth of your pond by 7.5.
  • For a pond that is irregularly shaped, utilize the deepest, broadest, and longest points as your starting points.
  • Flow rate is just as crucial for pumps that power filters as it is for other pumps.
  • In contrast, if the flow rate is too high, it is possible that biological filters and UV clarifiers will not have enough time to adequately treat the water.

Filter Pump CalculatorGuidance:

Your filter may also increase the amount of pressure head in your system. The majority of pressured filters increase the head by 3–5 feet. A few versions have a maximum length of 10 feet, which is normally specified in the user handbook.

UV clarifiers increase the height by 1–2 feet. Make sure to clean your filter on a regular basis as well. Filters get blocked or dirty with time, allowing less water to travel through them and raising the pressure.

Table 2. Important Factors for Sizing Pond Pumps
Flow Rate
  • Should be able to shift the complete pond volume every hour (or every 2 hours for small fish populations)
  • Pond capacity (in gallons and feet) equals maximum length * width * depth multiplied by 7.5 Pump flow rate should be near to, but not more than, the maximum flow rate of the filter.
  • For pressurized filters, add 3–5 feet of additional head
  • For nonpressurized filters, add 3–5 feet of extra head In the case of UV clarifiers, add 1–2 feet of additional head.

It is possible that you will require different pumps for your filtration and water features. Filters must run continuously throughout the day, but you may like to have greater control over when a water feature is turned off. Furthermore, many filters are incapable of handling the high flow rates required for waterfalls and fountains. Pumps that are used separately can help you save money on energy bills, allow you more flexibility, and maintain water features and filters in good operating order.

How to choose a pump for a small water feature

Is it really necessary to have a pump for a water feature contained within a container? Small water plants do extremely well growing in still water — in fact, water lilies demand it — and hence a pump is not necessarily required to keep them alive. A recirculating pump, on the other hand, is required if you want to hear the sound of water splashing in your yard. You may experiment with a solar-powered pump. My experience with one has been limited thus far, but I’ll report back when I do. Listed here are some of the things I’ve learned about setting up container water gardens using pumps that run on electricity.

  • Pumps are frequently on sale in the autumn, so stock up now for the following spring.
  • A ground-fault interrupter must be installed in the outside receptacle, which should be protected from the elements (GFI).
  • You’re dealing with water and electricity, so taking these precautions is absolutely necessary, and not a choice.
  • Select one that has been approved for outdoor use.
  • A lengthy heavy-duty cord is preferable; lengths range from 6 to 15 feet for this sort of cord.
  • Here’s how to create this loop in your head: Place the pump at approximately the same level as it would be in the container and trail the pump cable over the edge — you can later conceal the cord with water plant foliage if you like.
  • As a result, no moisture should ever be able to flow directly down the cable and into the plug.

Before you buy, measure a rough approximation of the length using a piece of string to ensure that the length satisfies your requirements.

Taking stock of your position Pump costs are inversely proportional to the amount of water that the pump can raise, which is referred to as the “head.” I like the least gallon per hour (GPH) I can find for a basic bubbler or brief spray since it makes the job go faster.

Pumps can also be rated in gallons per minute (GPM), therefore, for example, 60 GPH=1 GPM is equivalent to 1 GPM.

A lot of splashing is not desirable since, while it may seem dramatic, you will end up having to refill the container to make up for what has gone overboard.

A modest bubble or a straight up spray of a few inches in height would suffice for this.

Consequently, I’ll be satisfied if a little pump satisfies all of my safety standards.

Some are diverted as a result of this.

Alternatively, you may just replace that piece of flexible tubing.

Place your pump in a convenient location where you can quickly reach and clean it.

I’d want to take my pumps out of service, clean them, replace them, or put them away for the winter.

Small water features are an excellent place to start whether you are new to water gardening or just want to learn more about it.

There are several delights to be had from using water containers, such as the first time a small green frog decides to take up home in the water garden you made.

She is a professor at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, where she specializes in public relations.

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How to Find the Perfect Size Pump for Your Water Fountain

With spring just around the corner and outdoor decorations building up in storage, you might be thinking about having your favorite outdoor water fountain cleaned up and inspected before the season begins. If you still adore your water feature but have discovered that the pump is no longer operational, changing the pump is a simple solution to your problem! It is just necessary to choose which sort of pump and what size pump you require in order to restore the functionality of your outdoor water fountain.

Types of Fountain Pumps

When it comes to replacing the pump in your fountain, the first thing to consider is whether you want an electric pump or a solar pump.

Electric Pumps

In both indoor and outdoor fountains, electric pumps with a three-prong or three-pin socket can be utilized. Generally, pumps with a two-prong or two-pin connector are suitable for use with indoor fountains. A rocker switch is included with some electric pumps, whereas others are activated by simply plugging and disconnecting the pump from a power source.

Solar Pumps

Typically, solar pump/panel packages with battery packs comprise a fountain pump that is installed in the fountain and a connection that links the pump to the solar panel and plugs into the battery pack. A battery pack is either mounted to or integrated into the solar panel. To charge the battery pack, place the panel in direct sunshine for a few hours. During the day, this sort of pump will run the fountain using solar energy to keep it running. Furthermore, should you choose to run your fountain at night, the battery mode will automatically turn on your fountain as the sun sets.

To operate the pump, you must first set it in your fountain basin, then connect the wire to the solar panel and position the solar panel in direct sunlight to activate it.

What Size Pump Do I Need for My Fountain

The process of picking a fountain pump entails more than simply determining the sort of pump you’ll require. The flow rate and pressure requirements of water fountain pumps determine the size of the pump.

What’s GPH and How Many Do I Need For My Fountain?

GPH is a unit of measurement for the amount of water that a pump will circulate in an hour. According to hunker, you can calculate this by multiplying the diameter of the fountain spout by 100 to get an approximate measurement. In the case of a smaller outdoor fountain with a spout that is one inch in diameter, a pump with at least 100 GPH capabilities will be required.

Determine the Maximum Lift or “Max Head” For Your Fountain

It is the height of the fountain from the pump to the point where it spouts water that is measured in maximum lift, also known as “max head rating.” This specifies the pressure at which the pump will have to push the water in order for it to reach the spout or head of the faucet. Following the measurement, select a pump that is at least 1.5 times the height of the head you have measured. In order to guarantee that water flows freely into and out of the fountain, if the head height of the fountain is 40 inches, you will want to pick a pump with a maximum lift of at least 60 inches or more.

Alternatively, if you are certain that you want a trickle-type flow from your fountain, you might purchase a pump with a lower head height (like a 50-inch head height for a 40-inch head height).

Ensure that the Water Pump Tubing is the Correct Size

The “discharge size” refers to the size of the exit on the pump to which the fountain hose is connected. Make sure that the outlet’s size is compatible with the fountain’s tube, or, if the pump includes tubing, that the tubing’s size is compatible with the fountain’s spout, before installing the fountain. Please keep in mind that certain pumps come with adapters that make them more universal with fountain hoses, which makes it simpler to check that the pump and hose are a perfect fit.

Bring Life to Your Fountain with the Perfect Size Water Pump

The right-sized water pump will aid in extending the life of your favorite indoor or outdoor water fountain’s components. Simple measurements to calculate the required GPH, maximum lift and discharge size will have you well on your way to enjoying your water feature in no time at all. Alicia Bowe’s full name is Alicia Bowe. In addition to being a product specialist, Alicia Bowe has a passion for home design and outdoor decoration. Day to day, she is involved in the study of Sunnydaze, conducting research, taking measurements, and writing about it.

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