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Pond Pump Maintenance & Troubleshooting – An OC Guide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate this site earns from qualifying purchases.

Pond Pump Maintenance

The pond pump is very much the “heart” of the pond. And it is easy to see why the comparison fits; without the pump fresh oxygenated water would not circulate, fish and filtering bacteria would fail to flourish – with a ‘heart’ the pond is lifeless.

This is why it is so important to take care of your pond pump. Thankfully most modern pumps are designed to carry on working without much work being done by the owner.

However, there will come a time when simple maintenance needs to be carried out. There might also be a situation where the pump stops working and you will need to do some troubleshooting to discover what the problem is.

And that’s exactly what we are going to look into today.

The following guide will run through some maintenance tips you can carry out on a submersible pond pump.

Ready? Let’s get to it.

Troubleshooting a broken submersible pond pump

The great thing is, standard submersible pumps utilize a simple design and have very few parts. This of course makes troubleshooting and maintenance that much easier.

Here’s what to do to if your pond pump begins to give you problems:

Step 1: Check the water intake

One of the most common reasons a submersible pond pump stops working properly is if the waterline has fallen below the pump intake, and the skimmer has run dry.

In this situation, there is nothing at all wrong with the pump. It is running as it should but not positioned correctly to receive the right amount of water.

Listen out for a “hum” or “gurgle” sound while the pump is in the skimmer. This is a tell-tale sign that not enough water is going through.

Step 2: Check the flow

Another issue that will stop the pump from pumping is a simple blockage.

Check that no debris, or large rocks and litter, have blocked the front of the skimmer opening.

If you haven’t cleaned the pond recently, or your filter is failing to do its job properly the skimmer net will quickly become full and will hinder the overall flow and the performance of your pump.

Step 3: What about the power

‘Is it switched on?’

‘Of course, it’s switched on!’

A sly look at the power outlet in the basement sees that the plug has been pulled out of the socket.

Power to your pump is the first thing you should really check if the entire unit doesn’t seem to be working. Switched off, unplugged, or maybe a blown fuse; either way, your pump will be out of action and the fix is very simple indeed.

You want to be sure that the power is covered before you decide to take the lid of things.

Step 4: Is the pump vapor-locked?

This simply means that air has got trapped inside the volute of the pump. When this occurs the air actually prevents the water from getting through. The result is a pump that is vapor locked.

A vapor lock can generally be fixed by tilting the pump from side to side so that the air is able to escape the intake.

Step 5: General Wear & Tear

How old is your pump, and how often do you clean it? If your unit isn’t working as it should it could be that it has reached the end of its operational life.

Is the housing cracked or split, are any cables frayed? Is the pump covered in algae and mold? If you can say yes to any of these then the unit is in need of some TLC, (or renewal).

To try to get your pump working again if it has bee n left to its own devices for too long is to give it a thorough clean.

And that’s exactly what we look into now, as we delve into cleaning and maintaining your submersible pump.

Step by step Maintenance Guide

Keep your pond pump in tip-top condition is the best way to prevent malfunction.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Before you do anything you need to switch off the unit. Water and exposed electrical components are not good for overall life expectancy; for both you and the unit.

Step 2:  Remove the submersible pump from the water. You should do this by holding the unit itself, (via the handle or drawstring if it comes with one, or by the casing). You shouldn’t pull the pump out of the water via the electrical power cable as that is bad practice. It can also be dangerous if you haven’t taken care of step 1 above.

Step 3: Now it’s time to dismantle the pump in preparation for cleaning. Freshwater without detergent should be used to clean each part.

Clean the filters if your pump has them. Look out for any larger particles and debris inside the pump valves and casing. These could cause future blockages. This is your chance to keep the filter working as new.

Step 4: In line with our step 5 troubleshooting guide, (general wear and tear), check that all the electrical cables are in good condition and that they are well-connected to the pump. Check for any cracks or damage throughout the unit.

Step 5: Clear out the pipework to ensure there are no blockages or build-up there too.

Step 6: Once all the components have been cleaned and checked, carefully reassemble the dismantled pump and place it inside the water.

If it was broken before, there’s a good chance that the clean-up will have done the trick. If you’re just carrying out routine maintenance, good on you. With an attitude like that, you should have your submersible pond pump working for many years to come.

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