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Essential Guide To Fountain Pumps: Types, Selection, And Maintenance

Essential Guide To Fountain Pumps: Types, Selection, And Maintenance

A fountain pump is essential in designing and operating indoor and outdoor water features. It is the heart of a fountain, driving water through the system to create movement and sound, contributing to the aesthetic and tranquil atmosphere of gardens, patios, or indoor environments. 

A fountain pump operates on a simple principle: it moves water from a source, pushing it through its plumbing to create jets, streams, or cascades, depending on the fountain’s design. These pumps come in various sizes and power levels, tailored to the needs of different fountain setups, from small tabletop water features to large outdoor installations.

Types of Fountain Pumps

Submersible Pumps: Designed to operate underwater, these are the most common types used in residential and commercial fountains. Their installation is straightforward and hidden from view, which helps maintain the aesthetic appeal of the fountain.

External (Centrifugal) Pumps: Suitable for larger installations that require more power. These pumps are installed outside the water and are typically used in commercial or public fountains where higher water volume and pressure are needed.

Selecting the Right Pump

Choosing the correct fountain pump is crucial for the functionality and efficiency of your water feature. Consider the following factors:

Water Volume: Calculate the volume of water in your fountain to determine the pump’s required flow rate, measured in gallons per hour (GPH). A general rule is that the pump should circulate the total water volume at least once every two hours.

Head Height: The vertical distance from the water surface to the highest point of water discharge. Select a pump that can achieve this height at the desired flow rate.

Hose Diameter: Ensure the pump’s outlet matches the diameter of your fountain’s tubing to prevent restrictions in water flow.

Power Source: Most pumps are electrically powered, but solar-powered options are available for smaller fountains and environmentally conscious installations.

Installation Tips

Installing a fountain pump is generally a straightforward process. Place the pump at the lowest part of the fountain for submersible pumps to ensure it is always submerged. Route the power cable from the water and connect it to a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet for safety. For external pumps, position the pump close to the water source and protect it from the elements.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Regular maintenance ensures the longevity and proper functioning of your fountain pump. Cleaning the pump and its components to remove algae, leaves, and debris is essential for preventing blockages and maintaining efficient operation. Submersible pumps require periodic removal from the water for cleaning, while external pumps may need their filters cleaned or replaced.

Common troubleshooting issues include reduced water flow, strange noises, or the pump fails to work. These problems are often due to clogs, worn-out parts, or electrical issues. Checking the pump and its surroundings for debris, ensuring the electrical connections are secure, and replacing damaged components can often resolve these issues.


A fountain pump is a vital element that breathes life into water features, creating serene and visually appealing environments. Selecting the right pump, proper installation, and regular maintenance are key to ensuring the longevity and beauty of your fountain. Whether you’re setting up a new fountain or maintaining an existing one, understanding the basics of fountain pumps will help you achieve the best results for your water feature. With the right care and attention, your fountain can provide years of enjoyment and tranquillity.