One of the most important things you should do for any major water feature you have installed outside your home is to prepare it for the winter season. Even though outdoor fountains are designed and built to withstand the elements, they should still be winterized properly. This is because any water remaining in the basin, pipes, and pumps can freeze during the season and cause these vital components to crack and break.
Thankfully, winterizing your outdoor fountain involves only a few simple steps. If done correctly and in advance, proper winterization will keep your water feature safe and functional for many years.
- The first and most important step in winterizing outdoor water features is removing all water from the fountain. This is ideally done well ahead of the winter season. Before everything starts to freeze, make sure that every part of the fountain — from the exposed parts to the system that makes the fountain work — is dry. Check the lines, pipes, and pumps, too, as water can accumulate in these places. If the fountain is a large one, you can use another pump to draw out all the water.
- Disassembly and storage. Depending on its size, make, and construction, parts of your outdoor fountain may be disassembled into its component pieces. Remove the fountain pump and store it in your garage, barn, or equipment shed to keep it safe and dry despite the freezing temperatures. Proper storage eliminates the chances of exposing the pump to harsh weather, thus adding years to its service life.
- You don’t have to stop at disassembling and storing the components of your water feature; you can also take this opportunity to have these parts looked after. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to do this for you. Check out the manual for the fountain and take note of the instructions. Examine the pipes, lines, and the pump and clean out the algae, dirt, and debris that may have accumulated over time. These may block the pump or cause a leak in the system.
- Some fountains, such as those that are made of stone, cannot be disassembled and moved without using large machinery. If this is the case for your fountain, your next best option is to fine a fountain cover. High-quality fountain covers are typically made of weather-resistant material. Most of them also come with drawstrings or locking mechanisms so that they can securely fit different fountain sizes. Just the same, try to find a cover that is specifically made to fit your fountain’s measurements.
- Moisture absorption. As an added precaution, you can also use absorbent materials like foam or cloth blankets to protect your water feature after you’ve done all you can to drain it. Fill your fountain’s basin with thick-cut pieces of foam, sponge, or blankets. These will absorb any residual and eventual moisture, preventing water from going to the more delicate sections of the fountain. Do note that this is not something that will work 100% of the time, so always use a fountain cover in conjunction with this. Also, ensure that any part that can be disassembled from your fountain, such as the pump, is stored safely indoors.
Water features like outdoor fountains add a touch of luxury to any garden and make guests feel instantly welcome. As such, it’s important for any house owner to ensure that their garden centerpiece is well-taken care of. Neglecting proper winterization can damage the appearance and components of the fountain, which will eventually cause it to break down and stop functioning. Follow the simple steps indicated above and you can ensure that you and your family will enjoy the benefits of your water fountain for years to come.