Floating Fountains - Tech Talk 104
Do fountains aerate?
Yes, but they are not the most cost-effective way. Aeration systems are designed to aerate. Fountains are designed for appearances. Lake aeration systems like AES's Great Lakes® technique are located on the bottom of the lake and lift huge quantities of low-oxygen water from the bottom using a comparatively small amount of energy. They are the more cost-effective way of aerating lakes deeper than six feet. Traditional floating fountains aerate only the surface water near the fountain and only when the surface oxygen level is low. To achieve some of the benefits of destratification, aeration and fountain attractiveness, locate the pump's intake near the bottom of the lake. Use a dissolved oxygen (D.O.) meter to measure bottom D.O. and when it drops below 4 mg/l, operate the aerator/fountain 24 hours a day.
Our fountains are distinguished from our aerators by their intended function and aeration efficiency. The standard aeration efficiency SAE of a fountain is typically less than 1.5 lbs/kWh, whereas an aerator is greater than 2.5 and a Great Lakes® system can be as high as 10! This poor SAE of fountains is due to the wasted energy from throwing water much higher than is needed for aeration. However, a fountain can also aerate, especially if used in a pond that is not too large, if the fountain draws its water from a deeper depth and if it is operated at night.
How to ensure a long life for your fountain:
The fountain needs two things to ensure long life: adequate electricity and adequate cooling. For prolonged pump and motor life (regardless of brand), an adequate level of electricity must be provided to the motor. There are two cardinal rules for floating fountains concerning electricity:
- Calculate from TRUE SOURCE to the motor when figuring cable size. True source is typically the electric company's installed meter.
- Use one continuous (NO SPLICING) PVC-jacketed electrical cable from motor to control panel.
All submersible pump motors are water-cooled. When you see that the fountain is shrinking, turn it off, as there is an obstruction of some kind that needs to be cleared. Some motors contain oil and require periodic oil changes. Most manufacturers include ground fault circuit interruption (GFCI), surge protection and sized breakers to turn off the fountain when either electricity or cooling is inadequate. If not included, have your electrician take care of it.