It is early winter time here in the Northeast, a time when pond pumps in many ponds that have skimming systems suddenly and seemingly for no reason just stop working. I seem to get many phone calls this time of year that “my pump has suddenly died, it was working this morning and this afternoon it has just stopped”.
After so many years in this business and seeing patterns and situations that develop at given points in the year my first piece of advice for those customers with “sudden dead pump syndrome”, after telling them to unplug the pump, is to ask them to check the pump intake to see if their neighborhood frog has it’s leg caught in the pump intake. I estimate that about 90% of the time that is what the problem is. Most of the time if the problem is brought to my attention early enough the frog can be released and be on its merry way, hopping a bit crooked, but all the same on its way.
Frogs will often hang out inside the skimmer box because it offers a pocket of warm air compared to the outside temperature, and frogs like that. It is not unusual to open a skimmer lid and see 2-3 frogs perched along the net supports this time of year. Frogs will swim into the bottom of a skimmer to be closer to the source of the warmth…the pump, and tend to get their leg jammed in the pump’s intake.
If your pump suddenly “dies” just when the weather is getting a bit chilly, first check your pump to see if your local frog has gotten himself in a jam!