Water features need a little maintance for the colder months. The best thing to do is leave them running all year. They look pretty, sounds nice, and it keeps the pipes open and flowing to make sure hibernating fish stay healthy.
A constant flow is beneficial for water features. If a system is turned off and on at various times, water can settle in the underground pipes, and freeze and rupture them. There are other issues as well. Water can create ice dams where it is being emitted over the waterfall. The ice dams will direct flowing water to go other than back in the pond causing the pond to lose water which could possibly cause the pump to work harder. Pumps themselves are not built to work in extreme cold. So if you falls are freezing make sure your pond stays at the correct level. It may mean you will have to fill the pond occasionally. Ponds with fish also need to deal with flowing water to support the flow of oxygen and defeat the buildup of harmful material. If you decide to keep your water feature running through the winter you will have to monitor it. Some other duties you will need to do as much as needed, is clean the skimmer out of debris. A dirt skimmer will work that pump very hard too. So always check the skimmer and make sure it is clean.
Pond less waterfalls are the easiest to take care of, once you see freezing taking place shut the feature off and fill the pond less water feature to the top. This keeps the pump submerged under water and helps keep the hole from freezing saving the pump.
Two key side notes here to keep in mind is one you can stop feeding your fish in your pond when winter sets in because they go dormant. A good way to do so is when we have 10 days in a row of 50 degree weather or below.
The other side note is I keep a heater in my pond on the freezing cold days to keep the pond from freezing. Then I don’t have to worry about putting a hole in the pond to keep the fish alive. If you do have to put a hole in the water because your pond is frozen, don’t bang on it with a hard object because you will scare the fish and kill them. There is a heater that is made specifically for putting a hole in the pond so there is gas exchange taking place and keeping the fish happy.
I hope you find this helpful…