Close this search box.

How To Heat A Pond In Winter (With And Without Electricity)

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

To heat a pond in winter, you can use a propane or wood stove in your house on the property closest to the pond; this will help keep the water from freezing.

You may also need to run a hose through the bottom of the pond to melt ice that has formed at the bottom, making it easier for the heater to access the water.

Suppose you don’t have electricity available to power the heater.

In that case, you should consider using solar energy to heat the pond by placing reflective panels around the pond’s perimeter.

In addition, you can try to find a local farmer who would be willing to donate their time during the cold months to dig out the frozen pond so that you could place the heater inside the pond.

What Are The Best Heating Options?

Ponds (see also ‘Backyard Pond Depth Guide’) with a depth of between 8-10 feet generally require more space than ponds under 10 feet.

However, they can still be heated relatively quickly with a gas tank heater placed directly into the shallow end of the pond.

These heaters are usually powered by natural gas and are very efficient when used properly with proper maintenance.

They provide enough warmth to keep small fish like goldfish warm all day without worrying about them getting too hot.

However, suppose you want to protect larger fish, such as koi and other varieties of carp.

In that case, you should avoid these types of heaters unless you have a specific reason for wanting to keep them warm.

The second option for heating ponds is an electric heater. This type of heater works much better for large ponds because it needs less wattage than a gas heater to heat up the same volume of water. 

Electric heaters work by running electricity through copper coils that surround the entire body of the water; this provides even distribution throughout the whole pond.

In addition, an electric heater is very safe for keeping fish alive in the colder months since there is no risk of overheating the water while the fish are swimming.

Another alternative to heating a pond in the winter is to use a solar pump and thermostat.

Solar pumps operate by moving water up to the surface, warmed by sunlight.

Once the water reaches its boiling point, it returns back down to the bottom of the pond, where it can be circulated through the system again.

A thermostat keeps track of how many times the water goes through the loops and activates the pump accordingly.

The advantages of this method over a traditional pump include lower cost and more minor battery consumption.

However, it does not work well for big ponds with a lot of flow, making it an ideal solution only for small ponds.

How To Heat A Pond With Electricity

To heat a pond with electricity, you can use a solar panel located near the pond’s shoreline.

This allows you to get more sun exposure to your solar cells, which helps increase efficiency.

However, since a solar cell can generate electricity, you must first convert it into thermal energy before it can be stored inside your home.

How to Heat a Pond in Winter (With and Without Electricity)

This conversion process requires additional components that add extra cost to the system.

It is also important to note that the initial investment in solar panels may seem steep.

Still, once you see your electricity bill drop each month, it becomes clear why investing in a solar system makes financial sense.

The next step after installing the solar panels is to install batteries. Batteries store electricity until complete and then transfer the extra energy generated from solar cells into the electrical grid.

When the batteries are empty or need replacement, they will need to be swapped for new ones.

There are two main types of batteries: lead-acid and lithium-ion. Lead-acid batteries last longer than lithium-ion batteries and are cheaper to buy, but they do not charge as fast.

On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries are much quicker to recharge and hold their power much longer than lead-acid batteries. Still, they tend to cost more on average.

Once you have installed your solar panels and batteries, you are ready to install a thermostat that can turn the pump on and off, depending on whether or not the pond is cold. 

For example, most solar pumps come equipped with an On/Off switch.

This allows the user to set it so that the pump turns on when temperatures dip below freezing and shuts off when temperatures rise above 25 degrees Celsius.

Suppose you are using an outdoor thermostat to control your pump. In that case, you should place it at least 1 meter away from the pond to avoid any potential damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

Depending on the size of your pond, you may want to consider placing multiple thermostats around the perimeter to keep the temperature evenly distributed.

Tips For Keeping Your Outdoor Fish Happy In Winter

To keep your outdoor fish happy in cold climates, try adding warm water to their tank every few days.

If you have hard water, you can easily purchase a water conditioner that will help improve the quality of the water.

Another option would be to filter out the impurities in your tap water using a simple filtering device.

You can find all kinds of aquarium filters online or at your local pet supply shop.

These products will ensure that your fish stay healthy throughout the winter months. 

Other than keeping the water clean, many other factors could affect the health of your fish.

Therefore, we recommend checking your tank regularly and cleaning it out thoroughly.

Remember that fish often cannot swim against the current, so if you notice that your fish has difficulty swimming, this often indicates that something is wrong with their habitat.

A lack of nutrients in the water could cause them to sink to the bottom of the tank, while excess oxygen levels could make them float belly up. 

Make sure that your fish tank (see also ‘How to Clean a Fish Tank‘) is always filled with fresh water. The best way to do this would be to simply siphon out the old water from the top every now and again.

However, suppose you use gravity-fed water systems, such as a waterfall.

In that case, you will want to replace the water periodically based on its level.

Ideally, you would like to remove 50% of the water from the top and replace it with new water.

However, if you only have access to 50%, you need to fill half of the tank with fresh water to keep the fish alive.

How To Heat A Pond During A Power Outage

To heat a pond during a power outage, you will need a battery charger for each individual unit.

Once the grid goes down, disconnect all of your batteries immediately. This ensures that they won’t discharge over time and damage the equipment once the power comes back.

Next, connect both sets of batteries to the inverter box. The inverter converts DC electricity from the batteries into AC voltage. 

How to Heat a Pond in Winter (With and Without Electricity)

This allows you to plug an extension cord into the inverter box and run several appliances simultaneously from the outlet.

To begin the process, plug in all of the machines you plan to use: heater, lights, fan, etc.

Then, start the gas valve slowly until you hear the system click on and off.

At that point, you can shut the gas valves entirely and turn on the gas line.

You should leave the propane on because it helps maintain a constant temperature.

There are also units available that provide instant heat when plugged into the wall socket. 

Although not necessary, this method may work better depending on which type of heater you choose.

After warming up your pond, remember to close the gas valves and reset the timer before turning off the stove.

As long as everything was turned on correctly, the entire process should take no more than 30 minutes.

It is important to note that it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes for the system to reach total capacity after the initial startup period.

For example, most heaters require 12 hours of continuous operation before going to maximum output.

Also, check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how much input needs to be applied to produce a certain amount of heat.

How To Build A Heated Pond Cover

You can also add heating elements to ponds. Miniature versions of these can be purchased through mail-order catalogs and hardware stores.

They come in various shapes and sizes and can be placed anywhere within the pond.

Some even include timers so that you don’t have to worry about the system constantly running.

Most models also feature thermostats that let you adjust the element’s temperature to suit your preferences.

Consider installing solar panels if you’re looking for a safe and easy way to heat a pond.

Solar heating systems are designed to absorb sunlight and convert it into energy. This energy can then generate warmth in your home or garden.

In addition to being relatively inexpensive, solar systems are environmentally friendly.

Unlike conventional heating methods, solar tanks do not emit harmful toxins. Plus, solar collectors usually last longer than traditional heating devices.

Solar heated pans for ponds. Solar heated pots are a great way to heat a pond without the risk of overheating or burning plants.

These pots are typically made of ceramic and are black in color. One side of the pot is coated with an anti-friction material that keeps the pan in contact with the water surface.

There is a small hole in the center on the opposite side to allow air circulation around the pan.

When sunlight hits the black pan, the heat radiates outwards, causing warm water to rise up and surround the sides of the pan.

Because there’s no direct sun exposure, solar-heated pans are particularly effective at night.

Solar hot tub covers. Solar hot tub covers come in various styles and materials.

They can help keep your deck or patio area warm and cozy in the winter.

They are often constructed from polyester fiberglass or vinyl film and attached to your cover using double-sided tape.

A reflective coating can also be added to make them look like natural wood.

However, suppose you want to build your own solar hot tub cover.

In that case, you’ll need to purchase a few simple supplies such as PVC pipe (see also ‘How To Connect A PVC Pipe‘), insulation board, adhesive spray glue, aluminum foil, paintbrushes, and a drill.

Solar heated panels for ponds. Solar heated panels for ponds are another excellent option for providing heat without generating any emissions.

These panels consist of a watertight tank filled with liquid sodium.

The pump uses solar cells to collect enough energy to operate itself. It consists of two chambers connected by a circular tube.

They can also be mounted directly onto the roof of your house so that they capture direct sunlight throughout the year.

A solar-powered pond pump. A solar-powered pond pump (see also ‘Best External Pond Pump‘) is one of the easiest ways to circulate your pond water if its levels drop.

How to Heat a Pond in Winter (With and Without Electricity)

During daylight hours, the chamber containing the solar cells receives light.

This causes the cell to release electrons, which travel through the wire and create an electric current.

When the cell stops receiving light, the electricity goes back where it came from.

The other end of the circuit is connected to a magneto, which creates pressure when a rod passes over it.

As long as the power source produces electricity, the rod will continue to turn.

A solar-powered pond heater. There are many options available when it comes to heating your pond.

There’s bound to be something that suits your needs, from solar panels (see also ‘How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?’) to solar lamps.

For example, the Sunlight Pond Heater is a solar panel that produces enough electricity to run a lamp post that heats your entire pond.

This device works best when paired with a solar collector, but some can use it independently.

Another method involves placing many hot rocks into the pond, hoping that the heat from the stones will slowly seep into the water.

Heated pond liners. Heated pond liners are cost-effective to provide warmth to your pond all season long.

Some models include a heating element embedded within the liner. Others have a floating system that circulates heated water between layers of plastic.

Either way, these liners can increase your pond water temperature by several degrees.

Pond heaters. A pond heater is an ideal solution for anyone who wants to heat their pond without worrying about creating unwanted chemicals or greenhouse gasses.

However, a pond heater may not be feasible for colder climates because cold water does not retain heat well.

In addition, installing a pond heater requires a lot of space and money. However, if you live in a warmer climate, a pond heater may be what you’re looking for.

Solar pond heaters are another type of alternative to traditional heat sources.

Like a pond heater, this unit harnesses the sun’s rays during the day and converts them into electricity.

Doing so ensures that you don’t pollute the environment while still getting rid of the excess heat generated.

In addition, because it doesn’t require a constant power supply, you don’t need to spend much time maintaining it either.

Most models last up to 10 years before requiring maintenance.


To conclude, using any of the methods described above to heat a pond should ensure that your fish stay healthy throughout the year.

If you aren’t sure how to properly heat a pond, you might benefit from seeking advice from an experienced professional.

Whether you go the DIY route or hire a contractor/installer, we hope you find our list helpful and comprehensive.

Remember that there is no “perfect” way to heat a pond. Any method you choose will work just fine, provided you follow the instructions carefully.

We encourage you to experiment with different techniques until you find the one that best suits your needs. Good luck!

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


On Key

Related Posts

Is Drano Bad for Pipes? The Truth Revealed

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases. When it comes to dealing with clogged drains, many homeowners turn