When I started in the waterfall and pond design & construction business in January of 1982, I was asking the same question. I had a slight advantage over most when it came to answering the question, "Which pump do I use?"

I came out of the energy conservation field, so I was already savvy about energy consumption topics.

It was a challenge in the seventies, when I was trying to convince people that they should buy the Mitsubishi compact fluorescent bulb to save energy. This was the first of its kind and it retailed for $12 to $14. Its lumen or light output was equal to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, which sold for $ .60 in most stores. I needed to convince the engineer at Betty Ford Hospital that a $12, 12-watt bulb would save the facility $35,000 a year in electrical costs. I did so, and it did!

Pumps are no different when it comes to performance vs. energy consumption. The rule of thumb is: If an electrical appliance was engineered to be used only occasionally, as opposed to continually, rest assured, it is not engineered or built with the highest industry standards in mind.

Sump pumps were designed to be submerged underwater and pump that water to a different location. Their most common uses are in basements, bunkers, bilges, and that sort of thing. These pumps would only come on by demand, when a float control indicated a high water level.

Sump pumps were cheap to buy because they were built cheaply. It did not matter that they consumed more energy than the more expensive centrifugal pump, since they only came on occasionally.

These pumps turned out to be perfect for the get-rich-quick liner pond industry for three major reasons:
They were cheap to buy, as were the liners;
They were simple to install; and
They were easy to hide.

One major drawback of sump pumps that the liner pond industry does not share with their clients is that they are literally energy sponges. But then, that is not the only thing they forget to mention to their usually innocent and unsuspecting clients.

These easy-to-install, easy-to-make-a-killing liners that come with a 20-50 year warranty (against factory defects only) are actually a meal down the road to a burrowing gopher, rat, mouse, ground squirrel, chipmunk or muskrat.

How do I know? I replace liners with concrete and rebar for a living and I ask if the customer if the liner salesman told them the pros and cons about the liner. (Most cons don't!)

Besides a sump pump costing twice as much to operate than a high efficiency, centrifugal pump, they plug up easily. (By the way, the liner guys changed the name to a "submersible pump" and they are now using the term "waterfall pump.") Concrete and rebar constructed ponds with bottom anti-vortex drains seldom, if ever, plug up.

In the industry magazine, Water Garden News, the vice president of product management for the Aquascape Company stated,

A lot of the time, the more energy efficient the [sump] pump, the less solids and debris it can handle. So often the consumer is excited the pump will only cost them $10 a month to run, but what they did not know is that they are going to have to be out there 3 times a week, cleaning the intake of the [sump] pump to keep it going.

Water Garden News is a trade magazine that is for manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers in the water garden industry. This information was not meant for the consumers' eyes. Until now!

Read my article entitled Pondless Waterfall: Concrete vs. Pond Liner ; EzineArticles.com. I cover the subject in depth, and expose the truth about pond liner promoters. All of the costs involved in building a pondless waterfall are analyzed by comparing the two techniques: using concrete & rebar or a rubber liner.

The difference in the cost of energy consumption between a 5700 gallon per hour sump pump and a 5800 gallon per hour high-efficiency centrifugal pump is staggering. The sump pump uses twice as much energy, costs $171 more to purchase, and its warranty is 6 months less! Look before you leap and research before you weep.

Happy koi, peace and joy.

Author's Bio: 

Douglas C. Hoover, CEO of Aquamedia Corp, Master Waterfall Builder, architect, engineer, freelance writer, author, designer & builder of over 2,000 waterfall and ponds in CA (30 years). Author of “Waterfall and Pond Construction Manual,” was $49.00 in bookstores, but for a limited time only $14.95 available as a downloadable e-book. Also "The Ultimate Training Course" has been reduced from $149 to only $39.95. For more free information and photos go to http://www.aquafill.com.