There’s nothing that feels quite like the end of a spring cleaning. You’ve gotten rid of the junk, garbage, and dirt that’s been accumulating for weeks (if not months or years) and you finally have a clean space that your mind can rest easy in. Well, with ponds and water features it’s no different! In the next few weeks we will be up to our eyeballs in the office with spring cleaning calls, all of them asking us to come out and get their pond or pondless waterfall ready for the spring and summer months. However, if you’re a new pond owner or have never had a spring cleaning done on your water feature before, you might be wondering why it’s so important.
The Spring Cleaning Process
In order to clean the water feature, we first have to get rid of the water. Unless you’re treating your pond or water feature with harsh chemicals (i.e. chlorine), pond water is REALLY good fertilizer for plants and grass so we make sure to drain the water into an area of the yard where the water will feed a lot of grass or plants. For ponds with fish, we drain some of the pond water into our holding tank to create a friendly, familiar environment for the fish before we remove them from the pond as well. Once the water has been drained, we then break out the big gun – the power washer gun, that is. Our Pond Service technicians begin to power wash the hard surfaces of the feature, removing dirt and muck that builds up over the course of the year and washing away the organic sludge that forms at the bottom. They’ll also wash out the filter mats while they’re at it.
With the pond drained of water, this is a great time for our technicians to check lights, fertilize and trim back plants, check suspect areas for leaks, and any number of other things that might otherwise require them to go for a swim. Once the power washing is done, our Pond Service technicians rinse the feature down, dislodging any remaining debris or muck that might have avoided the power washer sprayer. If the water feature was shut down for the winter, the technicians reinstall the pump and begin to fill the pond back up. If you have fish, the technicians will make sure that the temperature difference between the water in the holding tank and the new water is within five degrees before putting them back into the pond in order to reduce stress. They will also add dechlorinator and ammonia neutralizer to the water to remove the harsh water treatments that are found in city water districts so that they don’t harm the fish. After this, all that’s left is to wait for the pond or pondless waterfall fill up enough to the point where the pump can be plugged in; you can even do this part yourself to save a little bit of money!
The Importance of Spring Cleanings
So it might be nice to have a clean water feature, but the process is involved and can get expensive for larger features. This leads some customers to ask the question: is a spring cleaning really necessary? In short – yes, very! A clean pond isn’t just pleasant to look at; a spring cleaning helps a water feature to stay that way.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, beneficial bacteria are a crucial component to keeping a natural ecosystem water feature clean (if you haven’t read it yet, you can do so by clicking here). These tiny little organisms do a lot of the heavy lifting in keeping the water clean and clear – during the warm months, anyway. Once the water temperature dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit many bacteria strains die off, and those that don’t are few in numbers. As we are all aware, however, leaves and runoff water don’t stop going into your pond just because the weather gets cold, and when the water temperature warms up again this organic debris will begin to break down. The end result? Lots of algae-feeding nutrients go into the water with very few bacteria to eat them all away. All it takes at this point is a few algae cells and some sunlight and your water will be greener than a Christmas tree.
Case in point: a customer recently called in and scheduled a spring cleaning. When she called in, she mentioned that she would normally have us do the spring cleaning on her pond but that she and her husband decided to skip last year to save some money. About the middle of April, however, string algae took over her pond and they couldn’t get rid of it until cold weather finally rolled around 8 months later. In her words: “We definitely want to do a spring cleaning this year!”
Scheduling Your Spring Cleaning
Right now, the phones are relatively quiet. Things are beginning to pick up, but it’s not yet as busy as it will be in April or May. Once the warm weather really kicks in, however, you can bet a dear relative of yours that our phones will be ringing every five to ten minutes or even faster, with many callers wanting to schedule a spring cleaning for their water feature. Since a cleaning is an involved process that will take on average 2 to 3 hours, we only have a limited amount of available cleaning spots on our calendar each day, and as a result our schedule gets full really quick. Latecomers to spring cleaning season might call in the first week of April to get their spring cleaning scheduled only to find that our first availability is in the last week of May!
If you want to avoid the spring cleaning scheduling rush, get a hold of us as soon as possible! Call us in the office or contact us via web by clicking here or on the “Contact Us” link in the menu at the top of your screen. The earlier you let us know you’d like a spring cleaning done on your pond or water feature, the earlier we can get you on our schedule!