The Best Wind Powered Pond Aeration System 2019 (updated)
All ponds would benefit from extra aeration, and with renewable energy aeration systems becoming more popular, it’s a great time to invest! Here we discuss the best wind powered pond aerators, with main consideration towards power efficiency, reliability, and ease of installation.
|Outdoor Water Solutions Backyard Windmills||Outdoor Water Solutions Windmill Aerators||Mescan Windmill Aeration Systems|
How Do Windmill Pond Aerators Work?
Windmill aeration systems provide massive amounts of oxygenation to bodies of water with the zero-cost, environmentally friendly power of the wind! Just like industrial wind turbines that you may have seen going up across the country which help provide electricity to thousands of homes, pond windmills operate in a similar fashion to produce power, although at a much smaller scale. Air currents hit the highly optimized blades of the fan head which drives the movement of an internal rotor connected to a generator. This movement is then converted into an electrical current which can power a range of devices, including air compression aerator systems.
As you can imagine, there are a range of benefits of providing aeration in this way, with the main one being the monthly energy savings on your electricity bill. Just like solar power, wind driven aerators do not require connection to the grid, so the only investment will be the initial purchase cost and general upkeep. Unlike solar power, however, wind powered aerators are much more efficient and reliable at providing higher airflows to much larger bodies of water, especially in remote locations. Although these kind of devices can be placed in your garden on a smaller scale, the optimal set-up would be as elevated as possible and in a location without any obstructions. Basically, the more open, elevated, and remote you can install your windmill, the better your aeration will likely be!
That’s not to say you can’t use wind power for smaller ponds, and luckily there are models perfect for backyards if you happen to have windy conditions throughout the year. On the other hand, as well as their energy saving potential, windmill aerators are a perfect aeration solution for remote ponds and lakes which may not have access to a mains connection. Not only can they provide a huge amount of airflow (2-5+ CFM), they can be installed anywhere with wind currents and will require only basic maintenance and upkeep once installed – a win win for remote ponds.
The benefits of Wind Driven Pond Aerators:
1) Massive Aeration (Airflow) Potential
Although you may not think it, the wind is truly a powerful force! Wind-driven aerators are capable of producing some seriously massive airflow, being able to oxygenate waters from 1-12 acres in size. Smaller models can oxygenate backyard koi ponds, with high-end models being able to aerate even the largest of natural lakes.
2) Can be Installed in Remote Locations
Not only can windmill aerators be installed totally remote away from the grid, but they actually perform better in this type of location! To get the most power from your windmill, you’ll want maximum air currents, which means minimal obstructions and as much height as possible – two things a remote installation can often provide.
3) Huge Savings with Renewable Energy
Just like solar power, wind power is a environmentally friendly and renewable energy source which means you’re totally off the main electrical grid. You don’t need a mains socket connection, and the only cost you’ll have is the initial purchase price, which could mean huge savings later down the road.
Considerations when Investing in Wind-Driven Aerators
1) Airflow & Aeration Potential (CFM)
Just like regular electrical aeration equipment, you’ll need to make sure the windmill you purchase can provide the correct amount of airflow (oxygen) to your volume of water. If this will become your primary source of aeration and you don’t have a backup system in place, we always recommend investing in a slightly larger unit which can provide more CFM even at lower wind conditions. CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, and represents the amount of air which can be moved from a pressurized storage container using an air compressor. Top-end wind-driven aerators will be able to provide 3+ CFM of airflow, which is more than enough for ponds above 1 acre in size or around 30,000+ US gallons in volume. You can find a chart below in our FAQ section which gives some rough guidance on average CFM you’d want to look for in relation to the water volume of your pond.
2) Height of Tower & Blade Length
Common heights for windmill aerators range from 9 foot towers suitable for backyards, to as high as 30+ foot towers for massive outdoor lakes. Since the strength of air currents increase with height as there are less ground-level obstructions, finding a sweet-spot is key for maximum aeration. For example, if you’re installing a smaller tower in your garden and have an enclosed yard with 7 foot walls, you’d want a tower with a minimum height of 7 foot to be able to catch upper levels of air currents. This is why windmills are so well suited for remote installations, as height is less of a concern here and you can go much larger to maximize the aeration potential without annoying the community. The sweet spot in height would be above any obvious obstruction to air currents, and as centred as possible away from objects that can block incoming winds.
As well as the height of the tower, you’ll also want to take note of the size of tower head which holds the rotating blades. As a rule of thumb, the larger the blades the more power you’ll generate, but the more wind you’ll need to drive to the equipment. If your blades are too large they’ll need strong winds to work and may stop completely in low wind conditions. Likewise, if they’re too short they may not be able to produce enough electricity for effective air flow. Although manufacturers will differ in size, we’d recommend a fan head size of 60-80 inches for taller remote towers, and between 30-60 inches for backyard towers.
3) Reliability & Bearing Fatigue
The Achilles Hell of air driven windmills and turbines is something called bearing fatigue, which effects just about every turbine on the planet. Bearings are required for rotating the blades of the turbine head, with larger bearings often lasting longer than smaller ones. The problem with larger bearings, however, is that they reduce overall equipment efficiency by increasing friction, with smaller bearings being good with efficiency but faster to fatigue. There isn’t much you can do to prevent this apart from invest in a windmill system optimized against bearing fatigue, which means bearings have been specially sized for that particular model for maximum longevity.
As well as this, making sure you have a lengthy warranty in case of damage and an expert’s contact number at hand is always good for peace of mind. Some manufacturers may even offer a professional installation service for extra cost, which may be worth considering if you’re working alone to get the system up and running.
Wind Power vs Solar Power – Which Aerator is Better?
Both solar power and wind power are great options for pond keepers looking to save money long term, or if you require aeration for a remote water garden. However, even though both are renewable sources of energy, they’re not always equal in terms of aeration potential. For example, solar power is a much more widely used source of renewable energy and is often cheaper and easier to install for regular garden ponds. Unlike the wind which can be quite unpredictable, you can often bank on getting at least a little sunshine each day, even if your have a crowded backyard. If you don’t require huge amounts of aeration then investing in a quality solar powered aerator may be a better option in comparison with wind power.
If you have a fairly large pond in a remote location, wind driven aerators are unbeatably in terms of airflow vs energy efficiency. The top models will be able to provide aeration as high as 6+ CFM, which is ideal for ponds over 30,000 gallons or 1 acre+ bodies of water. To get even close to this type of CFM with solar power you’d need to invest in a much bigger solar panel, which will hugely inflate costs. Not only that, top-end solar panels often require specialized maintenance if they are damaged, which means you’ll be without aeration until you can arrange an expert call out. Windmills, on the other hand, can easily be maintained with some DIY know-how and an extended warranty from the manufacturer for repairs and damage.
Windmill Pond Aeration – Common Questions Answered
Q) Are wind powered systems suitable for backyard ponds?
Wind power is best suited for wide open spaces where you can capture plenty of air currents without obstruction, as winds can easily be reduced by walls, trees, or surrounding buildings. The problem with installing turbines in backyards is that you’ll need extra height for the best air flow, which can make them a bit of a public windmill eyesore. If you’re looking to drive aeration for a smaller pond and don’t require large amounts of air pressure, there are certainly smaller scale windmill options available that can provide aeration even without much height. These are essentially re-purposed ornamental windmills which can be hooked up to an aeration system to provide good airflow for backyard ponds.
However, a word of warning, any kind of turbine aerator is much more difficult to set up in comparison to a solar powered aerator or an electric aerator. You’ll need some DIY know-how to carry out the extra steps needed to get the equipment together and in good working order. Since most backyard ponds will have a mains connection handy, it’s often easier to just purchase a high efficiency electrical aerator to save the hassle. The top models won’t cost much to run monthly, and will be more reliable for fish ponds (such as koi) where constant aeration is essential.
Q) What happens during low wind conditions? Will I still get aeration?
Unlike solar aerators which often have a battery pack ready for low-light conditions, wind powered aerators usually don’t have a backup system in place. It takes a lot of work to power the air compressors that come with windmill systems and a battery isn’t always going to cut it. You could manually switch over power to your mains electricity by adjusting the wires to your compressor, but this could void the warranty of your windmill.
If you have a pond which absolutely requires constant aeration, such as a large koi pond, we always recommend a backup aerator in case the primary one fails. If you have access to a mains socket, a standard electrical aerator can be switched on quickly until the winds pick up. If you don’t have the luxury of a mains connection, a solar powered system can be implemented alongside a wind-driven system as a fail-safe – although this could be very expensive depending on pond size!
However, the best windmill models will always be optimized for air capture even in very low wind conditions. Most can continue to provide aeration in conditions with winds as low as 7-10 MPH, but obviously at a reduced rate. Taking note of your windmills lowest possible operating speeds is an important indicator of quality, with better optimized blades and designs being able to create power in even low pressure conditions.
Q) What size windmill compressor should I buy for my pond?
Similar to electrical aerators, you’ll want to make sure a windmill aerator’s maximum CFM is adequate for your ponds size and water volume. Tower height and blade length should also be taken into account, but these won’t matter if your aerator doesn’t provide the minimum required airflow for your pond. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to sizing up CFM in comparison with water volume, below is a table providing a rough estimate of what to look out for when purchasing an aerator. Most manufacturers of windmills will also list a model’s aeration potential in acres, so you can also use this measurement instead if you’re unsure of the water volume (i.e., for a natural lake) but know the square size in acres.
|Pond Volume (US Gallons)||Recommended CFM Rating|
|0.50 -0.80 CFM|
The Best Windmill Pond Aerator Reviews 2019
Below are some of our top pond windmill recommendations, all of which have been chosen based on their power generation potential, reliability, and ease of installation. Reviews have been included for wind powered aerators suitable for both smaller ponds or large koi ponds.
Great for Backyard Fish Ponds
1) Outdoor Water Solutions Backyard Windmill Review *
(*This model requires a separate air compressor kit to function as an aerator – for advice, contact manufacturer here.)
Although advertised as an ornamental windmill, this small turbine from Outdoor Water Solutions can easily be converted to a pond aerator with an add-on aeration kit from the manufacturer. The windmill comes in two tower heights, both 9 and 12 foot, as well as a range of colors and finishes. We like this range of windmills as they’re much smaller (and cheaper) than their industrial sized counterparts, and it’s not always easy to find a quality wind powered solution for backyard ponds in an market dominated by 20ft+ towers. They also come in the same quality galvanized steel as more expensive models, so you don’t have to worry about rusting or general wear and tear.
Coming in it about half the size as most other wind powered aerators, these windmills would be an ideal choice for a small or large fish pond in your private garden. The height of the tower should be enough to capture plenty of air currents, but it shouldn’t be too tall to cause problems to the surrounding community. The base measures in at 32″ from leg to leg, and 45″ diagonal through the middle so you won’t need a huge amount of room to accommodate the foundation, either, which is great.
As mentioned, this windmill is designed for ornamental purposes but can be turned into a full aeration system with a compressor kit. The kit includes a 2.0 CFM air compressor which pushes oxygen through a 1/4″ weighted air hose which is attached to the outlet. You can probably purchase any 1.0-2.0 CFM air compressor and get this connected with some DIY ingenuity, but we’d recommend going straight to the manufacturer (Outdoor Water Solution) for the kit and installation advice.
With the 2.0 CFM air compressor, the windmill would be able to provide aeration to ponds up to 16,000 US gallons without much issue. The blades are slightly shorter than larger models, with the fan head coming in at around 30″in length, however, this is more than suitable for smaller-scale aeration and backyard purposes. The blades have been optimized for low wind conditions, and you’ll still see movement with winds as low as 10 MPH.
The base will need to be cemented in place to keep the tower secure, and you’ll need to allocate some time to get the windmill set-up as the instructions can be confusing. However, the windmill comes with a 5 year warranty as standard and the manufacturer can provide guidance for assembly over the phone for those struggling. Overall, a great choice for aeration in backyard ponds, providing a good amount of airflow at a reasonable price point, with no extra monthly running costs!
- Tower Height: 9 foot or 12 foot
- Fan Head Size: 30 inches
- Material: Galvanized Steel
- Air Compressor: 2.0 CFM (purchased separately)
- Airline: Weighted 1/4″ ID line (purchased separately)
- Diffusion: Weighted diffusion plate (purchased separately)
- Warranty: 5 Years
Heavy-duty aeration for extra large ponds, lakes, or water bodies in remote locations! Outdoors Water Solution’s second offering here, but one with far more aeration potential and a much larger tower height. This 20 foot windmill aerator is manufactured from rust resistant 8 gauge galvanized steel, designed to withstand a beating in harsh weather conditions. The windmill comes with patent pending “balcam” technology, which has been designed to help minimize bearing fatigue and improve the lifespan of the fan head. Since bearing failure is one of the biggest problems with wind turbine maintenance, it’s good to see companies wanting to optimize their infrastructure to reduce future potential costs and hassle.
In terms of aeration potential, this windmill kit comes with a 4.5 CFM air compressor capable of providing oxygen to ponds over 30,000 US gallons or water bodies between 1-3 acres in size. The compressor comes with a 5 year warranty for peace of mind, and operates via a 100 foor 1/2″ weighted airline under a maximum pressure of 30 psi. The compressor moves air down the airline and oxygenates water through an optimized diffuser air stone which sits at the bottom of the pond. If you’re installing in a fairly remote location, the compressor and airline supports installation up to 100 feet away from the water, which is great for optimal positioning.
The fan head is one of the biggest around, coming in at 73 inches in length, and is able to operate in even low wind conditions. Just like the rest of the structure, the fans are made from 8 gauge steel and are resistant to rust, while being highly streamlined for movement. You’ll see decent operation from winds as low as 10 MPH, but for maximum aeration, you’ll want to position in the best location to capture air currents at full strength.
Installation is a little tricky, but the instructions provide enough information to piece things together. Bolts should be kept loose during construction, as you’ll need extra slack when connecting all the equipment together at the end. If you over tighten you’ll have to go back and loosen all the bolts and connects before you can finish the tower. As with any big wind tower, it is a difficult to set up as a single person and we recommend asking for help or hiring professional contractors to makes thing go smoother. If you want to tackle this yourself, be prepared to allocate some time to the construction as it won’t be a quick job.
Overall, one of the strongest wind-driven aerators for ponds, suitable for heavy stocked koi or natural bodies of water in remote locations. The 4.5 CFM compressor provides amazing air flow to water, and the 100 foot airline provides extra flexibility in terms of positioning. Highly recommended for heavy duty aeration!
- Tower Height: 20 foot (more sizes available)
- Fan Head Size: 73 inches
- Material: 12 Gauge Galvanized Steel
- Air Compressor: 4.5 CFM
- Airline: Weighted 1/2″ ID line – 100 foot
- Diffusion: Weighted air-stone diffuser + backflow valve
- Warranty: 5 Years (compressor)
Great for Large Ponds or Lakes
Another heavy duty windmill aerator capable of producing huge amounts of water aeration is the Joe Mescan Windmill range. These windmills comes in a range of sizes, including 13 foot backyard towers to 33 foot commercial sized models for the largest of lakes and ponds. Just like other windmills on offer here, they’re constructed from quality galvanized steel (14 gauge) to prevent rusting and include powerful compressors producing up to 6 CFM of airflow.
The model pictured is the 28 foot model, which includes a 6′ 6″ (78 inch) windmill head and a 6′ 3″ (75 inch) foundation. The wheel is designed with powdered coated steel and is capable of operating in wind conditions as low as 7 MPH. The blades have been optimized for maximum air capture, and under heavy wind conditions can provide up to 6 CFM of airflow via the attached single compressor unit.
The compressor itself is a bellow design compressor, which is able to produce more air volume in comparison to most diaphragm compressor models. It also has a 15-20 year life expectancy, and is backed by a 5 year manufacturers warranty in case of damage. All the towers come with a single bellow compressor, and all can produce high airflow in the range of 3-6 CFM, which is suitable for ponds over 30,000 US gallons or up to 2 acres in size. If you need even more aeration, a dual bellow compressor option is available, which provides airflow as high as 12 CFM for ponds and lakes as big as 4 acres in size.
Included also is 100 foot of weighted 1/2″ airline with an optimized pond stone diffuser plate which sits at the bottom of the pond to provide aeration. The generous 100 foot of airline means you have plenty of choice in terms of installation, with the windmill being able to work up to 100 feet away from the pond itself.
Just like other larger turbines, installation can be difficult and you may require the help from professional contractors. Instructions are included, however, and the manufacturers has some useful assembly videos detailing the process to make things easier. We recommend having a few hands on board to make things easier, and allocating plenty of time for complete assembly. The compressor comes with a 5 year warranty in case of damage, and the windmill parts have separate warranties ranging from 1-4 years, which is great for peace of mind.
Overall, a fantastic range of heavy-duty windmill aerators that would be suitable for ponds or lakes up to 2-4 acres in size. Smaller models would be great for the backyard, however these aerators really shine in more remote locations where you capture plenty of wind currents. As a final positive, they have a really kick-ass design which truly makes them stand out, with bold reds and an even bolder American eagle!
- Tower Height: 28 foot (more sizes available)
- Fan Head Size: 78 inches (28 foot model)
- Material: 14 Gauge Galvanized Steel
- Air Compressor: 3-6 CFM (single compressor) or 6-12 CFM (dual compressor)
- Airline: Weighted 1/2″ ID line
- Diffusion: Weighted Pond Diffuser unit
- Warranty: 5 Years (compressor)