Submersible pond pumps are designed specifically to be fully submerged in water.
These days the vast majority of submersible pond pumps have an epoxy resin poured over all the electrical wires and connections.
This keeps all the dangerous components completely isolated from the water, therefore making submersible pond pumps very safe.
All electrical devices including pond pumps should be connected to RCD (Residual-Current-Device) or GFCI (Ground -fault- circuit- interrupter) switch.
This will immediately cut the power should there be a fault or surge of power from the appliance.
If you are unsure if your house has safety switches you can always add one of these to the socket where your submersible pump is connected.
You should always buy submersible pond pounds from reputable suppliers. Make sure that the pond pump meets the required safety standards of your jurisdiction.
Submersible pond pump safety tips.
- Always turn the pump off at the socket before doing any maintenance work.
- Never lift or move the pump by the cord.
- Ensure the pump is plugged into a socket connected to a RCD (Residual-Current-Device) or GFCI (Ground -fault- circuit- interrupter) outlet.
Can a pond pump electrocute fish?
While possible it is highly unlikely for a pond pump to electrocute your fish.
Firstly as I’ve mentioned all the electrical components of the pump are covered in an epoxy resin which isolates the electrical components from the water.
Secondly the fish aren’t grounded so the current can pass through them without causing damage.
Thirdly the moment there is a fault the RCD or GFCI switch will trip shutting down power to the pump.
Is it safe to swim with a submersible pump?
A 240 volt submersible pump is should never be installed inside a pond used for swimming.
Yet a 12 or 24 volt submersible pump can be safe to swim with (still ensure it is connected to an RCD or GFCI socket).
Over recent years swimming ponds have become increasingly popular. When using 240 volt pumps they are usually dry fitted (meaning outside the pond).
This is done for safety. If there was a fault these pumps can produce a much higher voltage. By having them dry fitted this reduces the chances of the water becoming electrified.
Even though the risk is low most jurisdictions will mandate that all pond pumps must be dry fitted if the water body is used for swimming.
Now a low volt pump can be used because the voltage is so low that the chances of being fatally electrocuted in the split second it takes for the circuit to trip is almost none existent.
Most jurisdictions will allow anything to up to 36 volts to be installed without an electrician. I take this to mean that the risk of electrocution is minimal.
Of course you should always follow the rules for your area. Dry fitting is always the best practice.
Here are some popular submersible pumps that can also be dry fitted outside the pond. These pumps are far more energy efficient than traditional pool pumps.
- Aquascape eco wave series
- Pond max EVO series
- OaseEco max premium series
All the pumps come in a range of flow rates and head heights.
What to do if you get an electric shock from your pond
I’ve heard stories of people getting a slight electric shock from their pond. This is very alarming.
If you receive a shock something is very wrong either with the pump or the wiring of the house.
It is not unheard of for a pond pump or underwater lights to become faulty.
But the moment there is a fault the RCD or GFCI should be tripped, instantly shutting off power to the pump.
If you receive a tingle or shock this isn’t the case and the socket and wiring need to be inspected by a licensed electrician ASAP.
If the pump repeatedly trips the safety switch it’s time for a new pump as somehow water is making contact with the electrical connections.
Alternatives to submersible pumps for ponds
Me personally I prefer to use low volt pond pumps wherever possible. I feel safer having them around water and they can easily be extended by DIY’er’s.
But some of you might not feel comfortable having any electrical device submerged in the pond. In that case the alternative is an air pump.
While not as plug and play as a submersible pump it is very possible to create a pump powered by air bubbles.
They work using small air compressors. These are electrical but can be kept long distances away from the pond.
One of my aeration units is 70 away from the pond. I pump the air into a garden hose all the way to the pond.
The disadvantage of air pumps is that they can’t pump water very high. So they aren’t great for people wanting to create streams or waterfalls.
But they can certainly be used to move water through a biological filter and keep the water clean and healthy.
Hopefully this article has been helpful.
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