Waterfall: new to me home, seeking advice


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Old 03-16-22, 05:30 PM
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Question Waterfall: new to me home, seeking advice

We just closed on a house in the Phoenix AZ area. It has a beautiful, fairly large water feature in the back yard, just off the patio. It's a rock waterfall, maybe 3 feet tall, 8 feet long. It has a small pond, maybe 50 gallons, maybe more. (can you tell I've never had anything like this before?).
The sellers had a pool construction company muck out the green sludge, and replace the old pump with a new Pentair 1.5 hp Superflo TEFC Pump. The pump, which looks just like most pool pumps I've had over the years, is located on the side of the house, with maybe a 50 foot run between the pump and the waterfall.
There's an old fashioned pool timer for the pump; an Intermatic T101R3 or similar. It was set to run at night, much like I ran the pool system in my previous house.
My question is, should I run the pump every night, for several hours a night? Why or why not?
I'd love to have it running all day too (I'm retired and home a lot during the day), but I'm concerned that's going to kill me on the electric bill. It's much cheaper to run electrical appliances after 8 pm and before 3 pm.
I would appreciate any advice about this, and anything else you can tell me regarding owning a beautiful water feature like this for the first time. Thank you.


 
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Old 03-16-22, 06:28 PM
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Welcome to the forums and congrats on the new home.

You're right to question the pump.
In my opinion 1-1/2 hp is a bit large for that fountain.
Does that Pentair have a two speed motor ?
A single speed pump motor is around 1.6kw. Based on your electric rate that could be .12-.15 per hour.
There's no filter so it doesn't need to run around the clock.
Several hours every night should be ok.

 
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Old 03-17-22, 05:12 AM
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The pump is there for aesthetics only if there is no filtration system. So, run it whenever you want. Read up on sanitizing fountain water to minimize your cleaning maintenance.

There are some negatives to running the pump during the day, especially in Arizona. #1 is evaporation. If the fountain doesn't have an automatic topping off system/valve then you'll have to keep a close eye on it an add water as needed. In AZ you can evaporate a LOT of water in just a day. Without running the fountain you might evaporate an inch of water per week from the pool. Running the fountain, especially during the heat of the day, can bump that up to more than an inch per day. I haven't looked up your pump but with most you want to insure that the pump never sucks air or runs dry.

Next is because of all the evaporation you may get white mineral deposits forming on the rocks. This will get worse and worse as the mineral content in the water rises due to evaporation (the water leaves but the minerals stay behind). The only solution is to do routine partial or complete water changes. Luckily, I assume, your water comes from surface water (Colorado River?) so it won't be as bad as most well water but the minerals will build up over time. You can limit this by using only de-mineralized water like distilled or highly filtered water which is expensive. RO will greatly reduce the problem but RO water is also expensive so most deal with the minerals and clean when needed.
 
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Old 03-17-22, 05:38 AM
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Thank you both, that's very helpful!

Dane, actually the city where we'll be living says their water is 100% groundwater, from an underground aquifer. So I will keep a close eye on the water levels and change it out periodically, and perhaps find some additive to help keep the mineral build up from becoming a problem.
 
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Old 03-17-22, 12:05 PM
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Pentair pumps use a ceramic seal so that running dry would be a bad thing.
Did you check for a two speed switch at the pump ?

Might want to try a demineralizer in the water fill line. Worth a try.
Demineralizers
 
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Old 03-17-22, 05:59 PM
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Thanks Pete. The demineralizer looks like it'll not only be helpful with the waterfall, but also in filling the hot tub we just bought! I'm glad I found this forum and two such helpful guys.
 
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Old 09-19-22, 08:00 PM
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I posted here in March for the first time, starting this threat about the home we purchased and the existing waterfall on the back patio. You guys were a lot of help (thanks again!) so I want to come back again, now that we're having new issues.
The waterfall is made of boulders and concrete. It is leaking. The leak was probably there long ago, but it got worse recently and became very noticeable, finally. I have it drained and just sitting empty now, while I try to repair the leaks.
I had a contractor come look at it. Seemed knowledgeable, and they showed me where the cracks were (beyond the one obvious crack I saw). They proposed sealing the cracks in the "bowls" and pond with cement. The estimate was for $770, or $880 if I want them to do the rear of the waterfall as well. Most of the water is leaking from the top "bowl" out the back side.
My wife feels we spent enough $$ on the outside already, and we have spent a lot. So I'm looking at two options - find a way to repair the leaks myself while still having an attractive waterfall, or converting it to a planter of some kind.
I'd really appreciate your advice. Thanks - Mike

 
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Old 09-20-22, 04:51 AM
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Most people don't know how to build a water feature and tend to under build. So, I would be hesitant to spend too much money on what you have now as new cracks may develop elsewhere. I would start by trying to seal up the fountain yourself. There are many products made for the task. There are sealing foams and caulks you can squirt into cracks and there are waterproofing membranes you can paint on the interior for extra protection. Other than that I'd consider a new fountain but put be prepared with a proper budget for something that will be last.
 
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Old 09-20-22, 10:48 AM
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Thank you Dane, that sounds like good advice. I know my wife will agree!
 
 

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