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How Does A Water Feature Pump Work?

Water feature pumps provide the basis for the water flow of water features. But before we go through how a water pump works, we need to understand the structure of water features.

How Does A Water Feature Work?

A water feature recirculates water to create a waterfall effect. Water generally flows in a cascading manner from the top of the feature, cascading down to its tiers before falling onto a base reservoir, where the water is pushed up again via a feature pump and tube. A water feature's reservoir is generally located near the bottom of the water features.

In our example of the Monteray Concrete Fountain with Classical Pond below, the reservoir is the pond and the pump sits at a pump housing located at the base of the feature. With the pond removed, the water feature becomes “self-contained” and the reservoir is then at the largest bowl where the pump sits.

For bowl type water features as in our Carmen water feature, the reservoir is at the bottom bowl. For Abstract type water features like our Harmony Dancers fountain, the reservoir is situated at the cavity at the bottom. In both cases the pump sits within the reservoir.


How Does An Electric Water Feature Pump Work?

A water feature pump pushes water from the water feature's reservoir up through to the spout (usually at the top) via a tube. We’ll call that distance from reservoir to spout the “flow distance”. A pump generally has the following features:

Pump outlet

This is the small hole of the pump that the tube is connected to so the water can flow through the tube. The diameter of the outlet measured in mm needs to match the diameter of the hose. The hose can usually be 1-2mm smaller than the outlet size as it can generally be stretched.

Flow rate

The rate of flow of water generally measured in litres per hour (LPH). 

Flow adjuster

A switch on the pump where you can adjust the flow rate from weakest to strongest. Adjusting the flow rate allows you to control the water flow and hence the waterfall effect of the water feature and can reduce or eliminate splashing. 

Max head

Take a garden hose, hold it so the nozzle points to the sky and spray it into the air. The flow rate is the strongest at the nozzle as the water is just coming out. As the water shoots upward there’s a point where it can no longer shoot any higher. That’s the point of “max head”, where the flow is weakest at 0 LPH.

How Does a Solar Water Feature Pump Work?

Solar fountain pumps work exactly as electric pumps as described above with the only difference being the electrical outlet plug is replaced by a solar panel. Solar water pumps are powered by solar rays that are picked up by a solar panel.

Solar water pumps may momentarily pause when not in direct sunlight. To overcome this, some solar pumps provide a backup battery (at an additional cost) to allow for smooth operation.

Electric Pumps vs Solar Pumps for Water Features: Advantages & Disadvantages

There are pros and cons for using an electric pump over a solar pump and vice-versa.

Now that you know how a water feature pump works, to select a suitable pump, please take a look at our guide on How to Choose a Water Feature Pump?

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