Should I Run My Waterfall in Winter?

Winter is a wonderful time of year that provides beautiful snowscapes.  Often times, people are unsure about what to do with their waterfalls in more frigid temperatures.  Here are a few things to consider to help you to determine if your waterfall should be run on your water feature during winter. 


Consider what temperatures you are anticipating in your area during this season.  Do you expect a long harsh winter or short snaps of cold weather?  Both variations can present their own problems when considering keeping a waterfall running.  Drastic changes in water temperature over a short amount of time could cause freezing and cracking in tubing or waterfall weirs.  Long winters of low temperatures could cause what is know as an ice damn where the water flows over the ice and is redirected outside of the pond draining the water from pond.  Knowing your anticipated winter water feature shortcomings can help you to determine if keeping your waterfall running is best for you.

Fish & Plants

During winter, your fish naturally move into the deepest areas of the pond where the water is warmest while you have moved your hardy plants into the deepest part of the pond for the same reason.  Maintaining a running waterfall during the winter can disrupt the warm water temperatures at the bottom of the pond.  This will create even water temperatures throughout the pond and continue to introduce cold water into the pond as water coming over the spillway is introduce to the cooler air temperatures.  This is why pond owners that have fish or plants in their pond for the winter often opt to close their waterfall for the season to protect them from water temperatures that are too cold.


Keeping a pond open in winter requires continued maintenance.  The majority of pond owners prefer to close ponds and waterfalls down in winter to avoid frequently venturing out to the pond in frigid temperatures for upkeep and any required troubleshooting such as adding water which usually needs to be carried out in buckets since outdoor pipes are turned off for the season.  In addition, power outages would cause the pump to turn off and water could freeze inside tubing.  For those who are able to easily combat these potential maintenance problems, maintenance beyond this are next to nothing until spring again.

Wether your waterfall is open for this season or closed, make sure you take the necessary steps to protect it so you will be able to enjoy your beautiful water feature through all the other seasons of the year.