To help you size a pond pump, measure how high the water needs to be lifted.
If you're pumping water to reach the top of a
fountain, the start of a little river or a waterfall, you have to know how high
the water needs to be lifted before you go buy the pump. That's far more important
than the volume or power rating of the pump. When you're at the store or
shopping online, look for the maximum height the pump will lift water. It'll be
included in the specifications on the box. That distance, of course, is from
where the pump actually sits—at the bottom, not the top of the pond—to the
discharge point above the pond.
the height is easy if the top of the discharge is near the pond and you can use
a tape measure, but what do you do if you're pumping water up a hill far away from
the pond? The answer is a 4-ft. level and a bit of easy math. Stand in the
bottom of the pond and sight along the top of the level. It's a little tricky if
you're on your own because you have to bob your head back and forth to center
the bubble while you sight (much easier to have someone "level the level" while
you sight). Your goal is to visually mark something on the ground—a rock, stick
or something else—while you sight. The height to that point is the height from
the bottom of the pond to your eye height. Then just move up to that spot and
repeat the process until you reach the discharge point. Add up the numbers and
you'll have the water pumping height that you'll need to match when you buy the
pump. It's a remarkably accurate but low-tech—and free—method.
— Travis Larson, Senior Editor
The water feature shown features a pond fed by a
sluice made from split bamboo.
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