Waterfall has stopped - clueless new homeowner

wendync(7b)October 20, 2012

Hey guys,

I am in need of some help, so any advice you could give me would be great! My husband and I purchased a house about a month ago that had a waterfall feature in the backyard. I have only ever lived in condos, so I have zero experience with taking care of a lawn and outdoor plants, much less a water feature! Unfortunately, we didn't' get any care or maintenance information from the previous owners.

Today, I noticed that the waterfall wasn't running(though I know it was yesterday). The outlet out there has power, but I think that the water level had dropped much too low. I honestly didn't even know you had to fill them(I don't know, I thought rain refilled it. -.-), but after looking online, I see that it probably should have been getting water weekly. It is completely quiet out there, so whatever pump that moves the water, does not appear to be on or running.

I refilled the water with the hose to a point that appeared to be a waterlevel mark on a large rock(that looked like where the water had been in the past), so it was probably a good 6-7 inches lower than it should or use to have been at.

I took the netting out of the bottom and dumped the fallen leaves from it and put it back. What else do I need to do to get this thing running again? It has not started despite having more water, so I'm not sure what my next step is. There is no paperwork in the house about what equipment is used or a brand or instructions.

I have some pics below showing what it looked like before I refilled it. It is obviously very low and I feel silly that I never went out there and looked at it much up close. The white piece should be a few inches under the water, but it wasn't. Any advice or tips would be appreciated! Thank you!

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There is much to learn as winter approches.

It sounds like you may have a skimer since you mentioned a net full of leaves? Is your pump in the skimer sump? If so between the low water and leaves it may have run the sump dry. That could burn out the pump. Some pumps have a over load protector built into them and can reset themselves. If pump is cooled down, try unpluging it and plug it back in to a known good outlet with a GFI breaker on it. If the pump does not run it is likely shot.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:28PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

It looks to me like you have an extension cord laying there. Could it be damaged or unplugged?

Was the water so low the pump water input tube was exposed? If so the pump could be burned out as Mike suggests.

Is the water intake tube clear? It should have some sort of screen on it.If the pump is warm or hums it could be clogged. You would need to take the pump apart to clean it.

Plug something else into the outlet to make sure it is working. If it is not, press the red button on the GFCI outlet after unplugging the pump. Hold the red button down for a few seconds so it can reset. Plug the pump back in.

Do you have an ohmmeter for electrical stuff? If you do, unplug the pump, press reset on the pump if it exists, set the meter to ohms, touch one probe to a prong and the other probe to the other prong(not the ground prong). If the dial moves there is current flowing through the pump motor. You may have positive and negative mixed up so change the probes around and check the dial again. If it moves, the pump may be clogged and you will have to dismantle it to clean it out.

If no current flow shows on the ohmmeter despite switching the probes the pump is probably dead.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 6:30PM
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The OP sort of implied that the net was in the bottom of the pond; perhaps a convenient method of cleaning and not related to a skimmer. There was also an implication that there was power to the pump plug. If so, there might be a float shut off there somewhere. I have one in a float, and when the level falls, it does cut off, but it does not reset. It must be tilted backwards to get the internal switch to reset.

In any case, there is now the issue of water loss unless it was just going down very slowly. That suggests a sag in the pond liner or a disconnected pipe etc.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 2:36PM
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