Ecosystem-style ponds (with skimmers/intake bays and waterfall/wetland filters) are generally safe to run in the winter. Just be sure to turn off bottom aerators or jets that will disturb the deep, warmer water where the
fish will live during the cold season.
Keep a shallow aerator or de-icer running. If winter cold becomes too frigid and the customer decides to ultimately turn off the waterfall, you don’t want them to have to trudge through snow to install these components.
Determine whether the auto-fill should remain on or be turned off. Consider the exposure of the supply line to harsh weather.
Plan to add water. Evaporation can happen just as quickly in the winter as it does in the summer. You will also lose available water-in-motion when it turns to solid ice. Is there a feasible, efficient way for you or your customer to add water during periods of extreme cold?
Pondless Waterfalls & Fountainscapes
Consider the basin size, and be sure you can catch enough of the splash zone when some of it becomes capped in ice. If your water feature has a very small footprint, there is a strong chance that it will not be able to catch its own water once ice begins to creep its way across the gravel surface. A small basin also means that freezing water will quickly create the need to add water.
What is the fountain made of? Concrete, porcelain, resin and most other materials commonly used for these products have the potential to crack if ice accumulates in certain areas. Consider the risks in these cases. For example, I have several ceramic vases that I run in the winter at my home. As long as the water keeps moving, I’ve had no issues with damage.
Ice dams can form in waterfalls and stream areas that may push water over the edge of the liner. This is something that can happen in almost any feature, and it should be discussed with your customer. If your customer takes a weekend vacation, or if there is another reason why the feature may go unnoticed for several days, you should consider turning it off while they are away — particularly if frigid temperatures are in the forecast.