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Winter Storage For Aerators & Fountains
Focus on Aeration: Should I put my aerator into hibernation over the cold months?
Should I put my aerator into hibernation over the cold months?
The answer is quite simple: if your aerator is an oil-cooled unit, subsurface unit or diffused air system it can remain in the water during the cold seasons. Please note there are some precautions and exceptions that need to be kept in mind. Aeration systems that run by a water-cooled motor must be removed from the water and stored in an area where the temperature will remain above freezing. Freezing temperatures will cause the water inside the motor to expand and crush vital components.
Some areas of the country experience cold and harsh winters, while other areas experience a more mild winter but may still notice decreasing water temperatures. In both cases there will be some possible exceptions with removal and storage. The basic rule: if the water generally does not drop and remain below 30 degrees Fahrenheit the unit can remain in the water. It is safe to advise those with oil-cooled motors that they can keep them in the water year round, however diffused air systems should only be kept in so long as there are no moving parts in the water.
For those who have oil-cooled units and wish to leave their aerator in the water during the colder months to keep the area free of ice, Otterbine Barebo, Inc, the industry's leading manufacturer of aerating fountains, advises running the unit 24 hours a day, every day to prevent ice accumulation and damage. If the power is shut down and the unit freezes in, it must not be run it until the ice clears. Otherwise severe motor damage may occur. If you do not plan on running the aerator continually you may wish to remove it from the waterway.
Removal of a surface aeration system is fairly simple and is based on whether the unit is anchored to the bottom or moored to the pond's shoreline. If it is anchored, disconnect the anchoring lines from the unit and flip it upside down. At this point, either hoist it into the boat or tow it to shoreline. If the system is moored, remove the mooring line on one side of the pond then carefully tow the unit to shore.
Anchoring the cable and mooring lines to a buoy is recommended for easy retrieval when it comes time to re-install. In both cases, once you have the unit on shore remove the power cable (if the power cable has a quick disconnect remove it from the unit and place a protector cap on the end) and store it. For oil-cooled motors, simply store the unit indoors - temperature of the area does not need to be a concern however you will want to protect the unit from potentially harmful environments.
Even though Otterbine units are virtually maintenance free, once the system is successfully removed a quick visual inspection should be performed. Glance over the float and spin the propeller to make sure the bearings are free. To ensure that the unit is in prime condition when it is re-installed, and if the unit incorporates oil into its motor components, this is the ideal time for an oil change. In order to uphold some warranties and for optimal functioning, Otterbine recommends an oil change after the second but before the third running season.
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