How To Care For A Fountain
A fountain adds great ambiance to a back yard or patio. They look elegant and the sound of falling water is very relaxing. If you decide to buy a fountain, remember that they will require some basic upkeep and maintenance to keep them free of debris, pests and bacteria and to ensure they continue to look great and work properly.
Keep the Fountain Clean
The most important maintenance task for a fountain is simply to keep clean. While a fountain that runs constantly will remain relatively clean because the water isn't allowed to stagnate it is still possible for mold and mildew to form. You can prevent mold by adding a capful of bleach to the waterevery week. This will help to kill off any mold or mildew before it has a chance to grow. If you do not run the fountain constantly, it may be necessary to use 2 to 3 capfuls of bleach weekly.
Clean the Fountain Regularly
Even using bleach to help prevent mold and mildew will not completely stop it. Over time mold and mildew will begin to take over and form on the base of the fountain. Every 6 months to 1 year the fountain should be completely drained and cleaned using a bleach/water mixture and a scrub brush. While cleaning the fountain always wear goggles and rubber gloves to protect your eyes and hands from the splattering bleach.
Apply a Sealant
If your fountain is made of stone, you'll want to apply a coat of sealant every 2 to 3 years. Most stone fountains come with sealant from the factory but this sealant will wear off over time. Use an outdoor-rated sealant and a fine bristled paint brush to apply the sealant to the entire fountain. Make sure that the fountain is completely dry and clean before you begin this process. When applying the sealant, use smooth, wide back-and-forth movements to create an even layer over the entire fountain. Make sure you only apply a thin layer. Thick layers of sealant can form bubbles which will reduce the effectiveness of the sealant.
Protect the Fountain
In warmer climates it is often enough to place a tarp over the fountain during the coldest months. A simple waterproof vinyl tarp will work well for these situations. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to drain the fountain completely and store it in a garage or shed. If this is not possible, drain the fountain completely and cover it with a tarp. Most of all, never allow ice to form in the fountain. Ice can cause the stone to crack and damage the fountain's electric pump, tubes and hoses.