"Understanding Your Home"   by  Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Pond de-icers. Pond heaters. Aerator kits

- De-icers should be placed in the shallow part of the pond.
- Another method of making a hole in the pond is to use a pan of hot water to melt a hole in the ice.
- Snow should be removed from the ice surface to allow light to enter the pond.
- Do not use an extension cord but an electrical outlet installed near the pond. In many jurisdictions extension cords are prohibited for permanent or extended use. Also, the longer the cord the less power is supplied to the de-icer.
- A dirty de-icer is not very effective. Keep the de-icer clean at all times by using vinegar or a commercial lime remover.

If you think you can just use a hammer or ax to break open a hole through the ice to let out the gases, think again. This is not a very good idea as the impact of an axe or hammer striking the ice will send shock waves that can instantly kill or cause brain damage to your fish!

Pond de-icers. Pond heaters. Aerator kits

Pond Deicer. Pond Heater. Aerator Kits
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Pond de-icers. Pond heaters. Aerator kits
Ponds in northern climates will freeze over during the winter and certain steps have to be taken to make sure that the pond fish will survive.
The fish will make it through the winter as long as you prevent the pond from freezing over. Always keep an area open so toxic gases can escape. Toxic gases are produced by decaying leaves, plant matter, fish waste and other debris. As the weather begins to cool in the fall and throughout winter, your fish will not eat. Their digestive systems become lethargic and their metabolism will slow down dramatically. In other words, the fish are hibernating. If the pond is less than 92 cm. (3 feet) deep it may be a good idea to let the fish overwinter in a cold but frost free location. There are several ways to prevent the pond from freezing over so toxic gases can escape.
Pump just below the surface
The pump should be placed on a plant shelf or on some bricks or rocks to bring it close to the water surface. The pump should be located high enough to prevent the circulation of warmer water from the bottom of the pond, where the fish will be hibernating, with the colder water from the top.
Aerator kits
Pond aerators are also used to prevent your pond from freezing over during the colder winter months. The kit comes with everything you need. Please note that the actual air pump should be placed in a frost free place, like a nearby garage.
Pond heaters
A pond heater heats up the pond water and care should be taken to keep the right water temperature. It should be low enough to keep the fish 'sleeping' and high enough to keep the pond ice free. There is one drawback. Keeping the pond heater going all winter WILL inflate your hydro bill.
A floating de-icer is perfect to do the job. It kicks on when the pond starts to freeze over and keeps a hole open at all times. Whereas a pond heater will heat up a large volume of water (costly) a de-icer keeps open a hole the size of the de-icer (cost effective).

Hole in ice kept open by surface or floating de-icer

Submersible de-icers are ideal for small ponds
As mentioned above, this hole will allow toxic gasses to escape into the air. De-icers are available in different wattages. Choose a wattage that is right for the size of your pond. Submersible deicers are ideal for small ponds of up to 1,130 liter (300 gallons) and 46 cm. (18 inches) deep or less.
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