With water fountains gaining popularity in gardens, homes, and offices, we’re sure that you’ve envisioned owning one at least once in your life. You may have heard a garden fountain trickling in your neighbor’s gardens or been transfixed by the arresting beauty of a wall fountain in the hottest restaurant in town. Or maybe you’ve been flipping through the pages of Better Home and Gardens and found a water feature that would be perfect for your study. We know how mesmerizing fountains can be. We also know why you are hesitating about taking the plunge. It’s the same concern that most of our customers bring to us: how much maintenance will my fountain require? You may be surprised to learn just how easy it is to keep your fountain sparkling clean. Basically, all you need to do is clean it every once in a while, and you will be able to enjoy your fountain’s charms for years to come. Want a more detailed explanation? Here are the steps that the experts suggest you take to maintain your fountain.
The first thing to keep in mind about your water fountain is that it requires water to work. This means that you need to make sure that it’s water levels don’t run low, which could cause permanent damage to your fountain’s pumps or other components. Whenever you notice your water fountain running low, fill it back up to the correct level, which should be included as part of the installation and maintenance instructions. Another thing to keep in mind is that your fountain will run best on distilled water that has been filtered of the minerals prevalent in tap water. Not only will distilled water provide a purer source of moisture into the air you breathe, but it will also prevent mineral buildup, scaling, and stains from forming inside your fountain and its pump.
While topping your fountain off is one of the best ways to keep it in good condition, occasionally draining it, cleaning it, and refilling it with fresh water will help keep your fountain beautiful for years. But don’t worry–cleaning your fountain is not as hard as it sounds. Basically, once the fountain is completely drained of water, you’ll need to wipe down its surface with a damp cloth. If you encounter particularly stubborn buildup, you can scrub it off using a soft-bristled nylon brush (like an old toothbrush) and vinegar. By performing this upkeep every other month, you’ll be able to ensure that your fountain is freed from the dust and debris it attracts through it’s negative ions. If you do see particles floating in your fountain’s water, don’t worry–it means that your fountain is purifying the air by absorbing the impurities that you would otherwise end up breathing.
If you’re grossed out by the sight of algae growing in your beloved fountain, we don’t blame you. Algae is not only unpleasant to look at, but it can also damage your fountain’s pump and other components. Luckily, it’s also easy to get rid of. Once a week, simply add one drop of water treatment to your fountain for every gallon of water in it. If your algae problem seems severe, you can double the treatment. Increased temperatures will inevitably lead to increased algae growth. During warmer months, you can use a time-release algaecide. These more powerful treatments come in tablets and can be added once every three weeks to your fountain. One remedy we don’t suggest is chlorine or any other type of chemical bleach. While they may be able to kill off the algae in your fountain, they can also prove toxic to other organisms, such as the birds who drink from your garden fountain or your family members who breathe in the “clean” moisture from your indoor fountain.
Although your fountain’s exterior surface will get the most notice and admiration, you should remember that it’s the pump that will keep your fountain’s water flowing. Luckily, even if the pump malfunctions, there are ways to fix it or even replace it without replacing your entire fountain. But these repairs can be messy and time consuming, so why not take good care of it instead? The first sign that your fountain’s pump is having problems is if you notice it producing a strange, spurting noise instead of its usual serene ripple. This usually means that the water levels in your fountain have dropped too low, and that you should fill it back up to the correct level as soon as possible. You should also clean your pump by taking it out every now and then, wiping it inside out, and putting it back in. This is especially important if your fountain is placed outdoors or on the patio, where dust, leaves, and debris are more likely to clog your pump. If you notice that your pump seems particularly grimy, you can open it up and soak it in vinegar to disinfect it before replacing it. By cleaning your pump out once every other month, you will be able to ensure that water continues to circulate smoothly throughout your fountain.
While fountains made from certain materials, such as bronze, can withstand cold weather, others, such as those made from resin or marble, can crack and freeze if left exposed in the winter. While we understand that it’s probably not pragmatic to uninstall your garden fountain during the winter and move it indoors, there are measures you can take to keep in protected until warmer weather. You can start by draining it completely and drying it to prevent water from freezing, expanding, and eventually causing cracks in your fountain. Next, cover it with a garden fountain cover to protect it from the elements. A good cover will be waterproof, protecting it from both rain and snow, resistant to wear and tear in case of hailstorms, and be able to stay securely tied to your fountain even in a strong wind.