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Running Pond Aeration in Winter

Running Pond Aeration in Winter

Unless you plan on partaking in winter activities on your pond, like ice skating or fishing, we highly recommend running your aeration pumps all year. The movement created by winter aeration forms a hole in the ice, allowing for gas exchange and keeping water open and available for visiting wildlife.

Below the surface, aeration helps break down leaves and debris, which means less cleaning and easier maintenance come spring. Aerator pumps also circulate the water column, infusing it with oxygen for your fish.

Winter Stratification

If the water is not circulated, it naturally separates by temperature in a process called thermal stratification. In the summer, the warm oxygen-rich water sits on the top of the thermocline, separating it from the cool water below, thick with toxic gases.

As winter approaches, those layers of water flip. The cool water and all the gases rise to the top while the warm water sinks. This turnover and toxic gas distribution can cause a winter fish kill in extreme cases. Luckily, proper aeration reduces the risk of losing your fish.

Winter Pond Aeration Tips

Here are four tips to keep your Airmax Aeration System running its best for the winter:

  1. Clean filters and inspect your compressor. Have you cleaned your Air Filter in the past three to six months? Have you checked your Intake Pre-Filter? If not, they likely need some attention--and possible replacement if it's been too long. Consider installing a Maintenance Kit to keep your pond air pump compressor running in top condition.

  2. Check the aerator regularly throughout the winter. After heavy snow or a storm, head out to the pond and inspect your aeration unit. Remove snow that has accumulated around the unit, particularly any blocking the air discharge vent. If you lost power during a storm, check your GFCI; you may have to reset it.

  3. Keep alcohol on hand. If condensation causes your airlines to freeze over the cold months, keep some isopropyl alcohol on hand to defrost them. It's easy: Pour a cup of isopropyl alcohol into the airline running out to each plate. Turn on the compressor to push the alcohol through the line and free any ice blockages.

  4. Be smart and safe. When your aerator is on during the winter, the ice that forms can be thin and uneven. The constant friction that aeration creates weakens the ice that forms, which could be downright dangerous. Make sure you post a "Danger—Thin Ice" sign and keep safety equipment out by your pond. A life ring, rope, blankets, and a first aid kit are critical items to have on hand.

Shutting Down Pond Aeration During Winter

If you choose to remove your pond aerator for winter, here's what we recommend:

First, unplug the system. Next, disconnect compressor flex-tubes from the airlines and cover the airline ends with Winterization Caps to prevent debris from entering. Move the cabinet and compressor inside to keep them dry. Ensure you shut down and remove pond air pumps before ice forms, as aeration makes ice dangerously brittle and thin.

More Winter Pond Aeration Advice

Ponds are as unique as the people who own them. To get personalized tips and advice for aerating your pond in winter, contact us today at 866-766-3434.

Want to learn more about aeration? Check out these helpful guides:

Why Aerate My Pond
How to Protect Pond Fish in Winter
When Do I Turn Off My Pond Aerator for Winter
Aeration Benefits in Frozen Ponds
Keeping Water Open for Ducks

Last Updated: June 27, 2024