Headache Saving Electrical Requirements for Pond Fountains You Need to Know

Pond Fountains and Electrical Issues

Understanding the correct electrical requirements and following a few simple steps before you purchase your pond fountain or aeration system can avoid a lot of headache and costly mistakes.

For the most part, installing a floating pond fountain or floating aeration system is fairly straightforward; As long as you have the correct wiring and electrical capacity available to power the unit properly. There are several things to know ahead of time to avoid costly mistakes.

If adequate amperage is not available for the motor to run efficiently, the pond fountain or aeration system will not run at its full capacity. This will put stress on the motor and shorten the motor’s life. Furthermore, you will not get the performance you expect in the spray and the volume of water turn over will be disappointing. When you spend the money for one of these units you want it to operate as it should!

Here are a few guidelines to follow to make sure you have adequate electricity available for your fountain or aeration system:

Whether it is a small pond fountain or large pond aerator, it must be connected to a dedicated GFCI circuit. Make sure the GFCI breaker you are connecting to has double the amperage of the running amps of the pump motor.

Now let’s talk about 2 other important details: the distance of the wire run (from the main breaker to the pump motor) and the proper wire gauge. The length of the wire needed will be measured from your main breaker box to the pump motor in your pond. That whole run of measurement will determine the size gauge wire you require (which is the wire’s thickness or gauge) needed to adequately operate the pump motor. You will need to measure the whole distance that the electrical current has to travel to know what size gauge wire is appropriate for your project.

A wire that is too small of gauge will cause amperage drop, which will put strain on the pump motor and shorten the pump’s life. We have an easy to use guide below that will show you what wire size your project requires. Following these simple steps will allow the process of your outdoor pond fountain installation to go smoothly and you will be able to enjoy your beautiful fountain and healthy pond for many years.

For example:

Maximum length on 12 gauge wire is 150’ for 115 volt ½ HP motor

Maximum length on 12 gauge wire is 650’ for 230 volt ½ HP motor

Helpful Tip:

How are amps and watts related?

Watts / Volts = Amps

Amps x Volts = Watts


500 Watts divided by 115 Volts = 4.3 Amps

4.3 Amps x 115 Volts = 500 Watts

The maximum lengths listed are from the pump motor to the circuit breaker, not the plug in. Improper wire size can cause unsafe operating conditions and damage the pump. DO NOT use an extension cord to supply power to the motor as this will put strain on and shorten the life of the pump motor.

Cost of  running a fountain or aerator:

  1. Total up the watts per day for the item to get total watts/day.
  2. Divide total watts/day by 1000 to get the total kilowatt hours (kWh)/day.
  3. Multiply the kWh/day times the cost per kWh to get cost/day.
  4. To find out the average cost per month, multiply the cost/day by 30. (Power company monthly billing cycles vary from 28-31 days) 

For more helpful pond knowledge click here.