Your beautiful water feature adds a feeling of holiday and oasis to your yard, especially during the blazing summer months. However, during the winter, it will need special care.
Over winter, water–especially in a small space like a constructed fountain or pond–can freeze. This will expand the water’s area, putting stress on your fountain and its mechanisms. Taking the proper measures during the winter will ensure that your fountain stays beautiful and functional for years to come. On the other hand, neglecting these important steps can lead to leaks in your pipes, cracks in the basin of the fountain, and expensive repairs for you.
Since different fountains have different needs, your first job is to check the manual for more specific instructions just for your fountain. There will be a section on closing the fountain’s mechanism for the season. In some cases, removing the motor and putting it somewhere warmer might be wise. In other cases, you’ll leave the motor and pump where it is, and simply clear the system of excess water. Here are some more tips to make sure that your fountain winters well:
- Treat the water with chemicals. Before you drain the water, incorporate some chemicals that will prevent algae growth, loosen lime and calcium scale, and make it easier for you to clean. This is much like the pool-closing process, however it can be even more important. The pipes and pumps of your fountain are small and delicate, and the small space of the fountain makes it even more prone to freezing. Give them chemicals a week or so to circulate through the system before you drain and close the fountain.
- Drain the water. Some fountains simply can’t be drained all the way. If that’s the case, there are some easy and practical measures you can take to keep ice from forming on the surface of the water. Often, simply dropping a tennis ball into the fountain will do the trick. Make sure that you drain, not just the basin, but the pipes and the pump itself.
- Once the water is drained, take some time to physically clean the pipes, the basin, and the pump. You don’t get many chances to do a really good job with this, so consider it your spring cleaning.
When spring has returned and all chance of a severe frost are past, then you can re-start your fountain and enjoy the refreshing sound that enriches your yard and garden for everyone who visits!