Pond pump primer

Credit: Brand X Pictures/Home and Garden/Alison Miksch

Most likely what you are referring to is the submersible sump pump that you are using in your pond. Submersible sump pumps are not designed for continuous operation. They were designed for intermittent operation during a short time period as you would have in a sump. Due to their very low cost, they have found their way into the water-gardening marketplace. The average life expectancy is two to three years.

Although they are very inexpensive up front, they are also not designed with energy conservation in mind. A far better product is a mag-drive pump. These pumps were designed for continuous operation and typically will use one-third or less the energy of a sump pump. While there are variations between manufacturers of mag-drive pumps, most offer a warranty three or more times longer than that of sump pumps. Unlike most sump pumps, mag-drive pumps are water lubricated (they contain no oil).

Oil-lubricated pumps can damage plants and kill fish when they fail, a common occurrence with submersible pumps, even those that contain vegetable oil. Mag-drive pumps will cost double to triple the cost of a sump pump up front, however when factoring in the cost of operation over a five- to six-year period and the replacement cost of a sump pump, the savings can be in the thousands of dollars.