As we install fountains and aeration equipment, many pond and lake owners want to know how much it will cost to operate. I am always glad to figure this out for them. Just for fun, I ask if they know how much their electric company charges per kilowatt (the billing unit for power), and they almost never know. There are several sites that can let you know, however taxes and fees make it confusing to truly find out. For our calculations, we are going to use a cost of 10 cents per kilowatt.
Knowing your goal and choosing the right equipment to fulfill that goal is important.
Fountains cost more to aerate with than diffused aeration with respect to efficient movement of water, however they are more aggressive with the water movement that they create and they have timers that can control the time of day for operation. Diffusers don’t have a display either.
Timing allows you to make a strategy for use: just aesthetics to enjoy on your property when you are there in the morning and evening? Set it for morning hours and afternoon evening hours. Basically, if you aren’t there, you won’t need to operate it. Just concerned with aeration? Operate it 3-4 hours before sunrise and 3-4 hours in the mid to late afternoon. If you are a real estate developer and want to dress up the pond or lake to create interest in your houses or lots for sale, then only operate it during the day when potential clients would view it.
Diffused aeration is made to operate continuously, and unless it is an exception, that is how I design my installations. They typically do not use a timer but are the most efficient way to mix and aerate a larger body of water. So in 15 feet depth of water a single diffuser can move 4.5 million gallons per day. Six of these can be operated in a lake for a total of 27 million gallons per day for $58/ month.
So, you may want to use diffused aeration operating constantly to keep your lake aerated, and then operate your display fountain during the time when it will be most enjoyed.
Let’s get back to electrical costs… Your fountain manual or specification sheet will show the voltage and amperage that is used to operate the equipment. Volts times amps is watts and 1,000 watts is a kilowatt. Kilowatts are the unit we are paying for on the electrical bill and like we said earlier, we are going to assume an average of 10 cents cost per kilowatt.
Two other things to note… nothing is 100% efficient and we will use a factor of 0.95 to adjust it and in a 30-day month there are 720 hours.
Electric Cost $$$ = volts x amps x 0.95 efficiency x 720 hours per month/1,000 watt-hours/kilowatt-hour x 0.10 cents per kilowatt-hour
Electric Cost $$$ = Volts x amps x 0.684
My high school algebra teacher, who gracefully gave me a C-, would be so proud.
Check out our calculation sheet to see how much it will cost to operate your Kasco fountain or aeration system!