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Hi there. I have multiple questions, thanks in advance. We had a 2/3 acre pond built last year and we want to add an aerator this year. Last fall we ran electric back to a shed on the property with the intention of installing the aerator there and then running the air line up the hill to the pond. While trying to pick out an aerator and talking to several vendors they have suggested this was not the best situation and we were going to have condensation issues and need to greatly increase the size of the hose to push the air up the hill and then down into the diffuser plate. We don’t mind the work of running electric to the pond. It would be a hair more than a 600 foot run to the location where we want to put the aerator if we run Electric wire up the hill. If we go straight up to the pond it’s a 500 foot run but I don’t want to cut into the dam face. We only need 1/4 hp aerator with a single diffuser. The pond is pretty much a circle and 20 feet at the deepest point. My question is can we use 12 gauge direct bury wire for a run that long or should we look at something heavier like 10 or 8 gauge. I ran the calculations and I believe 12 will be fine even with the loss of voltage with that length of wire. At this point the only load on the electric run would be the aerator pump. Has anyone else had experience with running electric that far to the pond and have any suggestions or tips? We have looked at solar and wind, but feel like setting up with electric is the best long term option for how we want to manage the pond. Right now it’s mainly stocked with forage fish and a few bluegills.

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I suggest you run as heavy a wire as you can afford, and send 220v to the pond. Some points to consider:

1. Any chance you'll want electric for anything else at the pond in the future? Lights? Bug Zapper? Refrigerator?

2. I once ran 12 gauge about 150 feet to my machinery barn. Delivered voltage ran about 95 volts (this was undoubtedly lower than it would have been with a straight run, as there were three places along the way that the electric was also supplied, and all those splice joints added resistance.

3. I have 6 gauge running 220v/50a about 650 feet to the shed at my 1st pond where the aeration compressor is located. Small single phase motors (milk house heater) don't like running there unless the load is balanced to the other phase.

4. Whatever you run, GET A 220V COMPRESSOR. This cuts the required amperage (and line loss) in half. My 3/4 hp compressor has been running with the electric supply defined in #3 above with no problems since 2008.

5. Too light a wire and hence more line loss equals low delivered voltage, which may not be good for some motors.

Last edited by Theo Gallus; 07/01/24 07:21 AM. Reason: Length of electric run added

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Thanks for the tip on the 220 connection. I know every aerator we have been comparing to select has an option to get it set up for 220. We aren’t sure if we will ever want to run anything else up there unless we would put a little screen shed up there and maybe run a fan. We are just overwhelmed with this now since the original plan was to run air house and not electric. But we aren’t afraid to get dirty and figured we could run the wire and then just pay the guy who is a qualified electrician and has done some other work for us to make the connection to the breaker box

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A cooling fan sucking outside air and blowing directly on the compressor is a good idea.

Amazon has cheap 24 hr 220v timers that last 5-10 years controlling my compressor.


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Buck boost transformer at the end of the line can be very helpful to correct the voltage drop and they aren't super expensive.


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If you push air, I would mount the compressor up off the ground by 2-3 feet somehow, and have the line come out of the compressor, dip down, and then go up to the pond. To make a "P" trap of sorts in the airline and plumb in a drain there. You will want to open the "P" trap drain to remove moisture from the line. If the moisture builds up enough to go into the compressor when it's shut off and you don't catch that , the compressor will most likely be locked up the next time you want to fire it up.

Yes, there are check valves in some systems and you can put one in, but mechanical things fail. In this instance, I think you are better to run electric to the pond.


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I came here to say exactly what esshup said about building a fluid trap at the compressor. Further, you should plumb in some clear tubing (pressure rated) to use as a "sight glass". You can also plumb in an electrical float switch to turn off the compressor before the fluid build up reaches the equipment.

I think running the airline over the hill will by MUCH less expensive than running electrical line over that distance. Further, you will have significantly lower energy costs not suffering line losses over your long electrical run. You just need to ensure that your pipe run does not have any dips in the line that could also slowly accumulate fluid. Running a line uphill or downhill at a constant slope is NOT a problem.

I am NOT an aeration expert. However, I have designed and operated larger diameter pipelines.


Question for the actual aeration experts: Humidity is generally much greater at ground level than it is higher in the air. Would it make a significant difference to plumb an 8' chimney stack (with a rain vent) into the cooling fan intake? I think that would pull much less humid air through the compressor, especially after heavy rains or all of the times when there is heavy dew on the grass.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
I came here to say exactly what esshup said about building a fluid trap at the compressor. Further, you should plumb in some clear tubing (pressure rated) to use as a "sight glass". You can also plumb in an electrical float switch to turn off the compressor before the fluid build up reaches the equipment.

I think running the airline over the hill will by MUCH less expensive than running electrical line over that distance. Further, you will have significantly lower energy costs not suffering line losses over your long electrical run. You just need to ensure that your pipe run does not have any dips in the line that could also slowly accumulate fluid. Running a line uphill or downhill at a constant slope is NOT a problem.

I am NOT an aeration expert. However, I have designed and operated larger diameter pipelines.


Question for the actual aeration experts: Humidity is generally much greater at ground level than it is higher in the air. Would it make a significant difference to plumb an 8' chimney stack (with a rain vent) into the cooling fan intake? I think that would pull much less humid air through the compressor, especially after heavy rains or all of the times when there is heavy dew on the grass.

When you are talking more humid at ground levels, give me some numbers. Is it 2% more humid at ground level?

All I can say is run 3/4" or 1" line underground. If the compressor is inside a building other than a stable that is open to the weather, you shouldn't have any issues.

I like the idea of a clear line, and as far as pressure rated, if it can handle 10-15 psi you are good to go for a long while.


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Originally Posted by esshup
When you are talking more humid at ground levels, give me some numbers. Is it 2% more humid at ground level?

I was hoping you would tell me!

I did google that question, and there is nothing even close to addressing the topic. So it probably doesn't matter.

(OTOH, in my personal experience I think the humidity at ground level could at times be 80-90% greater than at 8' in the air. I have gone out early in the morning on hot days to plant trees. When kneeling below 3' tall prairie grass that is covered with dew and in enough sunlight to start transpiration from the grass, I am drenched in sweat after 60 seconds of mild labor. When I walk back to the truck in open ground with a slight breeze, the sweat dries off very quickly in obviously much drier air - much to my relief!)

Chris, I raised this topic just to get some advice from experts that would drop into your thread. Don't pay attention to this "theoretical" portion of the responses.

Experts: I asked that question for two reasons. The first was being discussed in the thread - namely reducing the amount of free water that drops out in the air lines that might cause problems running back into the compressor in this "uphill" case. (Or cause freeze up problems in the winter where there are a few dips in the air line running to the pond.) The second reason was due to a cost/efficiency calculation. Any additional water vapor that is compressed is wasted work performed. Specifically, if it drops out of the air line as free water droplets after the compressor outlet gas has cooled during transportation through the pipeline, then that volume of compressed gas is NOT available at the diffuser. I suspect that amount is trivial, but I just wanted to see if any of our aerator experts had ever heard of that concept being addressed.

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Note that air compressors heat the air that they put out, which is therefore more capable of retaining water vapor. If you get the airlines into the pond or in the ground below the frost line quickly (closely), you are unlikely to have frozen air line problems.

At least that has been my experience, with no frozen airlines since I fired up the compressor in 2008.


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The industrial air systems I have experienced used water traps with automatic dumps. Would this be a possible solution?

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Originally Posted by Bigtrh24
The industrial air systems I have experienced used water traps with automatic dumps. Would this be a possible solution?

Sounds good to me!

Got a link to that type of system? If too expensive for our pond applications, perhaps we can copy the principle?

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Our systems were huge but here is a link to one on Amazon. Never used this one, just one I found quickly for an example.

https://www.amazon.com/Particulate-...auto+drain&qid=1719949260&sr=8-5

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Thanks for the advice folks. We decided to run power to the pond. In the long run we think it will be better for the pond and ensure the system we choose can operate exactly as it’s supposed to. Thankfully where we were working is not rocky and there aren’t any trees so we were able to complete the task pretty quickly. We are going to get the aerator wired for 220/230 and plan on setting up a post mounted unit. Any other suggestions from folks are most appreciated.

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Be mindful of starting it up slowly. Don't want to take all that bad water on the bottom of the pond up at one time or you will stress/kill the fish. Slowly increase run times over a couple of weeks.


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