Pond Winterization Check List and Tips

Pond Winterization Check List and Tips

Do you live in an area where your pond freezes over a few months out of the year?

Here are a few winterizing tips for a koi pond or any other kind of outdoor pond that you should take into consideration.

  • Did you do a final cleaning of the pond to get the leaves and muck out?
    • Make sure you run your filter long enough to clear the water up after the cleaning.
  • Is your external pond pump turned off or unplugged?
    • You don’t want the pond pump to turn on when there is no water in it. This will burn up the pond pump and potentially destroy it.
  • Did you clean the external pond pump prefilter and put it back together?
    • After you clean out the external pond pump filter basket make sure you put it back together as if you were going to run it. This will keep water out over the winter and keep it safe from damage so long as the external pond pump drain plug is removed.
  • Did you take the external pond pump drain plug out?
    • This will drain portions of the pond PVC piping lines, external pond pump pre filter and external pond pump. This may not drain all your pond PVC piping so be sure to walk the lines down and verify they are drained.
  • Did you take the drain plug out of your pond filter?
    • This will drain the water from your pond filter. Its not a bad idea to take the pond filter valve off the top of the filter to look inside and verify it is completely drained out.  Some filters have an internal filter on the drain port to keep the filter material inside the pond filter.  This could plug and prevent complete drainage.
  • Did you set you pond filter valve to “winter”?
    • This will make sure all the water is drained out of the valve to prevent freezing damage.
  • Are the pond plumbing lines to your pond fully drained?
    • PVC will crack really easily with frozen water.
  • Did you turn your pond UV light off if your running one?
    • UV Bulbs are expensive. You don’t want to burn them out when not in use.
  • Did you drain the water from your pond UV light?
    • If you don’t have a drain valve you may need to disconnect a coupling to get the water drained out.
  • Will you leave your pond UV light outside or bring inside during the winter?
    • Most pond UV lights have a quarts sleeve inside of them. These are very fragile and can be cracked easily.  Where possible you can bring this piece of pond equipment inside to better protect it.
  • Make sure water cant “pool” up inside of your pond equipment or decorations that you leave outside.
    • Pooling water could freeze and crack your pond equipment.
  • Pond Aeration Equipment.
    • Some people run theirs over the winter some people turn theirs off. This should be based upon good practice for your location and situation.
    • Aeration is also a common way of keeping an opening in the ice if it forms on your pond.
  • Check your floating pond heater to make sure it still works.
    • It is important to have an area of your pond thawed to allow gasses to escape the pond.
  • Do you have a back-up floating pond heater?
    • Equipment always fails at the worst times. Floating pond heater are “relatively” inexpensive, probably why they fail, so its best to just have an extra one.
  • Remember, it is recommended to stop feeding your koi below a consistent 50 deg F.
    • Due to a reduction in metabolism during the cold it is not necessary to feed KOI and other pond fish. Make sure to consult your local professional for specific guidance regarding your pets.
  • Have you properly trimmed your aquatic plants both in the pond and the bog?
    • Bog vegetation should be trimmed accordingly while removing the dead material. This will prevent the trimmings from making its way into your pond and creating work for you in the spring.
  • Is your pond deep enough to leave your pond fish outside over the winter?
    • Typically ponds 4’ or deeper are sufficient for most northern US states. Check your local freeze lines to see how deep the Ice could go.
  • Do you have a cycled tank setup inside if you need to bring your pond pets inside over winter?
    • A quick way to set up a cycled tank is to take the water directly from the pond since its cycled and contains the necessary bacteria to maintain your pets