AeroGrow International, Inc. developed and began selling the AeroGarden line of indoor hydroponics growing systems in 2006. The early models of AeroGardens were noted for issues with their water pumps. They were apparently sourced overseas and were not especially sturdy. There were numerous reports of noisy pumps and premature failures, most of which occurred while the units were still under warranty. The current 2010 models are more reliable, but still not especially sturdy. There are ways, however, to protect these pumps and lengthen their lifespans.
Inspect the AeroGarden Bowl for Debris
Unplug the AeroGarden. Remove the bowl from the base.
Remove the grow surface of your AeroGarden by opening the view door, sliding your hand into the bowl under the grow surface, and lifting it straight up. The roots will drip, so place the grow surface in a sink or on a towel.
Inspect the interior of the AeroGarden's bowl. Look for loose chunks of nutrient tablets or pieces of plant roots or other organic debris. These items can be deadly to your AeroGarden water pump's longevity. Remove the debris.
If you find chunks of nutrient tablets, contact AeroGrow customer service and ask the representative to recommend a liquid-based alternative nutrient mix. If you see roots floating around that may represent an ongoing threat to your pump, you can use the foot of a pair of pantyhose as an extra pump filter.
Installing a Pantyhose Pump Filter
Remove the seed pods from your AeroGarden's grow surface. If plants with long roots are growing out of the pods, slowly remove the pods, taking care not to damage the roots. If a few break off here and there, it's not a problem. Put the pods upright into a shallow dish, making sure the roots are in water.
Turn the grow surface upside-down. Look for the existing pump filter on the pump tower. Pull it out and run it under hot water to clean it.
Using a flat-bladed screwdriver, pry off the cover plate that covers the pump. Pry the pump out of the pump tower by inserting the screwdriver under the pump and prying up the pump.
Rinse the pump and pump tower under the sink faucet.
From the foot, cut a piece of pantyhose large enough to completely encase the pump. Slip the pantyhose over the pump, tie it off, and replace the pump in the pump tower. Push the cover plate back into place.
Replace the nutrient water back into the bowl. Replace the grow surface atop the bowl. Slip the seed pods back in their respective places by carefully threading the roots of each plant through the mounting holes and into the water. Replace the factory pump filter into the back of the pump tower.
Replace the bowl assembly onto the base. Plug in the AeroGarden's power cord, and you're ready to grow.