What is a Fountain Pump?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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A fountain pump is the main component of any type of house or garden fountain. The pump is responsible for drawing the water up and then creating the flow of water from the top or side of the fountain. When building a fountain, the selection of your fountain pump should come early in the process. This allows you to build the fountain around the pump, concealing the pump from view.

There are three main types of pumps that you can choose from when building a fountain. Each has particular areas where they are best suited. The different types are a direct drive style, a magnet drive pump and finally a solar powered design.

The direct drive fountain pump is the oldest and most common type of outdoor pump. The pump’s motor is enclosed in a waterproof shell filled with oil. The areas around the cord and impeller shaft are sealed to prevent water from reaching the motor. Direct drive fountain pumps are large, due to their design, and it can be difficult to hide them in many garden fountain designs.


The magnet drive pump is a much smaller pump. They allow you to have a smaller fountain, either in your garden or in the home. The impeller is attached to a magnet, which twirls outside of the pump housing. The wiring is separated from the moving parts, allowing for a smaller pump. The disadvantage of this design is that because some parts of the pump are located outside of the sealed area, debris can get jammed inside, shutting down the pump.

The solar power fountain pump is a low-voltage design. It works nicely in areas that receive a good deal of sunshine. They are more expensive for the equivalent size magnet or direct drive style of pump, but you save money later because they do not require electricity. They are especially nice in areas where you would like to install a garden fountain, but there is no close access to an electrical outlet.

Whatever type of pump that you choose, you want to make sure that it is the correct size. A rule of thumb for this measurement is that for every however many inches wide the water stream from the fountain will be, the pump should move the equivalent in gallons per hour. For example, a water stream that is three inches (7.6 centimeters) wide will need a pump that moves 300 gallons (1,135 liters) per hour.

If you have an idea of the design for your fountain before buying the fountain pump look carefully at the pump before you buy. The area of the pump that draws water into the pump is known as the intake. The intake must be completely submerged in water for the most effective flow of water.


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