Does Windmill Aeration Actually Work in Ponds?
Article by Braden Galbreath-O’Leary
There is a certain amount of ‘buzz’ whirling around the internet about windmill aeration-there are dozens of sellers pushing their own unique twist, all vying for consumer’s attention using the badge of eco-friendly aeration.
But what is really going on here? Do windmills live up to their seller’s hype? In this article, we will analyze the pros and cons of aeration windmills to see how they stack up.
There aren’t any, unless you really enjoyed Erector Sets when you were young.
The windmill aerators come disassembled, and req
uire a substantial amount of time and energy to erect. Such assembly projects are rarely as easy as they seem. Many of these windmills also require you to pour a concrete base, which adds to the difficulty. Expect a multi-day project.
With every windmill, you must also install a submerged aeration unit, largely without direction. The effectiveness of each diffuser depends on relatively specific placement-and these companies often leave you to figure this out on your own.
Once purchased and installed, windmills have no operating cost.
While ‘cheap’ to operate, windmills provide the customer with a minimal amount of aeration-requiring a minimum wind speed of 3-10 miles per hour just to begin operation.
Even on the absolute windiest of days, windmills max out at 2-4 cubic feet of air (cfm) output.
On a normal day, if it is running at all, it would average between 1-2cfm pumped into the pond-which is less than sufficient.
Windmills are absolutely reliant on the wind, so inconsistent performance can be expected, and even in best case scenarios your pond will be under aerated.
Windmill Aeration adds a little bit of air to your pond, more than would be imparted if no aeration was used.
We’ve already established that the amount of air produced by windmills is both inconsistent and insufficient for adequate pond aeration.
When it is actually working, a pump rate average of only 1-2cfm is not adequate to aerate & mix, both of which are integral to reducing algae and keeping the pond water fresh. When aeration is low, the mixing is even lower. Even at top speed, a windmill’s fine bubbles rise too slowly to
thoroughly mix the water.
Windmill aerators will also operate less (or not at all)at night, as the windspeed is generally much lower at this time.
Unfortunately, ponds have the lowest levels of dissolved oxygen at night-so windmill aerators often do not aerate your pond when it needs it most. This can lead to stressed fish and significantly diminished pond treatment, raising the potential for both fish kills and for algae to proliferate.
The age-old adage of “you get what you pay for” appears to ring true in the case of windmills-you do get an aerator, albeit one with little ability to treat your pond the way you intended.
When purchasing windmill aerators, it seems that customers would be losing sight of what they are trying to achieve with their pond. Sure there is a low operating cost, but you’d be spending thousand
s of dollars to under treat your water with a lousy, tough-to-install product.
The windmill vendors love to say they’re ‘green,’ but that’s hardly the case unless they are talking about the ‘green’ you would be spend on a product that doesn’t get the job done.
What’s more, many windmill customers actually end up using pond chemicals to supplement their pond treatment-costing more money and ruining the environment.
For an eco-friendly aerator that actually gets treats your pond properly, check out the MARS Pond Aerator. It leaves your pondwater healthy, aerated, and fresh, minimizes algae, and prevents odors and fish kills.
To read more about ponds, visit our Pond Blog
About the Author
Braden Galbreath-O’Leary is a pond management expert for Triplepoint Water Technologies, based outside of Chicago, IL. He and his colleagues are committed to providing efficient, sustainable, and environmental solutions to the water and waste wastewater industries.