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Pond Deicer Info

Pond winterization with a Pond deicer

The use of a floating or submersible Pond deicer is one of the best ways you can winterize your pond. But what is a pond deicer, why do I need one, how do I use one, and how is it different from a pond heater?

What is a pond de icer ?

As the name implies, a pond de icer is a device used to prevent the buildup of ice in your pond in winter. There are two basic types of deicers. A floating pond deicer will float on the surface of your winter pond and submersible pond de icers sit on the bottom of your pond. Both types keep a small hole free of ice in the surface of your pond to allow the escape of gases that could otherwise sicken or kill your fish.

Why do I need a pond deicer ?

During the summer and fall your pond undergoes many changes. These include the accumulation of leaves, plant matter, fish waste and other debris. These materials sink to the bottom of your pond and begin to decay. Before winter this decay does not pose any danger to your pond as the gasses produced bubble safely to the top of the pond and are released into the atmosphere.

Once pond winter sets in and your pond ices over these gases are trapped in the pond. As the gases from decaying material begin to accumulate they become toxic and can actually sicken or kill your pond fish. A Floating or submersible pond decier is one of your very best ways to prevent fish kill during the winter pond season. A well placed pond de icer will allow the escape of these toxic gasses and ensure the safety of your fish.
NOTE: some well intentioned pond owners have reported over the years that they just go out with an axe and smash holes in the pond ice to let out the gases. This is not a very good idea as the impact of an axe or hammer striking the ice will send shock waves that can instantly kill or cause brain damage to your fish!

How do I use a pond deicer ? A pond de-icer generates an electrical current to a heating element inside the de icer. This generates heat which will keep a small hole open in the ice to allow gas exchange. There are several guidelines you should be aware of on the placement and operation of a floating or submersible pond deicer.
  1. Use one deicer for a 600 gallon pond. If your pond is larger than 600 gallons you will want to use two deicers tied together.
  2. The use of an extension cord will reduce the effectiveness of the deicer. Long cords will reduce the heating capacity and the units ability to maintain temperature. The proper method is to plug the unit into an electrical outlet installed near the edge of your pond. In the real world we know that many of you will decide to use extension cords anyway. I would suggest to you to use the shortest cord possible to reach your outlet. A 12 foot extension cord is going to loose a lot less power than a 50 or 100 foot cord.
  3. A floating pond deicer should be placed touching, or as close as possible, to the pond liner in the shallow end of your pond. The pond de icer will warm the liner and reflect back the heat more efficiently.
  4. A floating or submersible deicer should be placed in the shallowest section of the pond possible.
  5. The floating pond deicer should be blocked from the wind. Cold wind will whip across the surface of the deicer and will steal heat faster than it can make it. You can build a wind barrier to prevent this heat loss. You can even put a sheet of plywood OVER the deicer to prevent the wind from reaching it at all. Be sure not to cover the entire pond as doing so will prevent the needed gas exchange.
  6. Floating and submersible pond deicers are designed to turn on when the temperature of the water falls to freezing and to shut off when the water temperature reaches 45 degrees. This internal thermostat saves you money by allowing the unit to turn off when the water temp goes up. NOTE: to save even more on electricity please consider the Thermo Cube T-3. This handy device reads the AIR TEMPERATURE and turns the unit off when the air gets to 45 degrees. This means on sunny winter days you will be using the heat of the sun for free.
Trouble Shooting your Pond Deicer Each year we assist many customers in the proper use of their pond deicer. If you find that your floating or submersible pond de icer is not performing as desired please check the following.
  1. Is the pond de-icer clean? Over time, lime deposits may adhere themselves to your deicer making it hard or impossible for the heat to escape. If you see deposits on the unit you can clean with Vinegar or Lime-away and a scrub brush. The cleaner your pond deicer is the better it will work.
  2. Is the deicer out of the wind? If not, the wind is robbing it of heat. Use the methods in the section above to make a wind barrier for your deicer.
  3. Are you using an extension cord? If so consider using a shorter cord or invest in an outlet closer to the pond. The Cal Pump Power center is an option to bring power down to your pond and reduce the power loss in your pond de icer.
  4. Try an “Air Test” . If you have checked and resolved the above issues then it is time to test the pond deicer to determine if it is working properly. Take the unit out of the pond and place it in a plastic bag. Put the entire deicer inside your freezer for 1hour. Once you remove the unit and plug it in right away. If the unit starts to heat up the deicer is working fine and you should re-examine steps 1-3 to determine why your deicer is not performing as needed.
    NOTE: Other than when performing the air test you should not plug your deicer in while it is out of the water. Serious damage to it may occur.
What is the difference between a pond deicer and a pond heater ? Often times in advertising you will find the term pond heater used for a pond de icer. In fact many customers search for the term pond heaters when they are really searching for a pond deicer. A true pond heater is a completely different type of product and is used to actually raise the temperature of your pond. These units are VERY expensive and may consume hundreds of dollars of electricity a month to operate.

A pond heater is most often used by owners of exotic tropical fish. Goldfish and Koi will not benefit from “hot tub” warm water and you would not want to use a heater to raise the water temperature for these type fish. Some experts believe that the use of a pond heater on non tropical fish my interfere with their natural seasonal cycles and reduce their ability to fight off parasites and infections.

The important thing to remember is to use a pond deicer for the release of gasses in your pond and a pond heater for the comfort of some kinds of exotic tropical fish.

Thank you for your interest in the Pond Deicers and we look forward to assisting you with the proper winterization of your pond.

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