Saturday, November 11, 2006

Creating backwash with pond pump on a timer.

One thing that was suggested to me by one of my readers recently, who finds this technique useful is creating backwash on a regular basis to help keep his fish pond pump and pre-filter clear.

All he does is sets the pump on an automatic timer so as to switch off the the pump every couple of hours for 15 mins (or sufficiently long enough for the water to stop backwashing, which may only take 1 or 2 minutes). Electronic timers can be set to the nearest minute, but even the simpler mechanical "pin operated" timers can be set to switch at 15 minute intervals.

Before this he had to clean pump pre-filter sponges every couple of days and now only does a maintenance clean very rarely.

The backwash from water returning down the pipe to the pump pushes any debris away
from the intake, before it gets a chance to get stuck too firmly against the pre-filters.

Turning the pump off frequently is sufficient to dislodge and free up any muck around the pre-filter, which is then better able to be sucked up to the filter when the pump turns back on.

The method is most effective if you set this cycle in motion after first having given the pump and pre-filters a good clean to start. So if you are thinking of trying this method you should clean your setup before adding the timer into the pumps electricity supply - its best to go from clean!

Since this is occurring at regular intervals all day long, it constantly helps keep the pump free from clogging because weed and sediment is always being pushed away.

This can be thought of almost like the tide on a beach which is a natural cleaning process.

Another benefit to adopting this method is that if you turn off the pump for 15 minutes every 2 hours you are reducing your electricity running costs by 1/8th. And if you turn it off for 15 minutes in every hour, this effectively reduces the running costs by one quarter.

One disadvantage for me is that my waterfall, stream and bog area runs out of water at regular intervals, although not long enough to become dry. Sometimes it confuses the birds in the garden who like to come and drink or take a bath in the stream because they wonder where the water has gone!