A garden fountain can be a beautiful centerpiece for your backyard or a peaceful accent for your deck during the warm spring and summer months. However, when cold weather begins to blow in, it is time to turn off the fountain and prepare it for winter.
It is important to properly winterize your outdoor fountain before freezing temperatures set in to protect it from the cold, moisture, and ice that winter brings.
Fortunately, all it takes to protect your fountain is a bit of seasonal maintenance. Read on to learn all the do’s and don’ts to winterizing your outdoor fountain.
4 Don’ts For Winterizing Your Fountain
1. Don't Run Your Fountain During the Winter
As much as we love the elegant appearance and soothing sounds of a garden fountain, winter is not the time to run it.
During the cold winter months, the water inside a fountain can freeze and expand as temperatures fluctuate, weakening and cracking the material of your fountain and damaging the pump.
When to begin the winterizing process can vary based on your geographical location, but generally you should stop running your outdoor fountain and begin the winterizing process in late autumn before the temperatures drop below freezing.
2. Don't Add Antifreeze or De-Icing Product to Your Outdoor Fountain
Adding antifreeze to your outdoor fountain may seem like a practical way to keep the water in your fountain from freezing, but it can have very serious negative consequences.
Antifreeze is a toxic substance and according to sciencing.com, adding it to your fountain can endanger any pets, wildlife or children who have contact with the fountain. Plus, antifreeze can also damage your fountain’s pump. You are better off simply draining the fountain and storing or winterizing it for the season.
3. Don't Leave Your Fountain Exposed to the Elements
Once your fountain has been properly drained, it is important to keep it somewhere safe during the winter months.
If your outdoor fountain is small enough, the best option is to drain it and store it in a dry place like a garage or shed. If your fountain is too large to move, use a fountain cover or a tarp to cover the fountain and keep out any snow or moisture.
4. Don't Forget the Pump
If your outdoor fountain is too heavy or cumbersome to bring inside, remove the pump and store it indoors before covering the fountain.
Before storing the pump, take a moment to clean it by wiping away any visible debris with a soft cloth and a mild dish soap and running water through the tubing. This will help your fountain run more smoothly once you set it up again in the spring.
4 Dos for Winterizing an Outdoor Fountain
1. Completely Drain the Outdoor Fountain
The first step for winterizing your outdoor fountain is to unplug the fountain and drain all of the water out of the bowls.
For smaller outdoor fountains, you can do this by using a scoop or bucket to bail the water out. For wall fountains and large floor fountains, you can use a shop vac to suck the water out of the bowls.
2. Take Apart the Fountain
After you have drained the fountain, disassemble it as much as possible.
Not only will this make it easier to store and clean the fountain, it also allows you to ensure that each part is completely dry so water can’t accidentally freeze inside the fountain and cause damage.
3. Clean the Interior
Before packing your outdoor fountain away for winter, take the time to clean out its interior and remove any dirt or algae with a mixture of mild dish soap and hot water and a soft bristled brush.
If you notice any white calcium or lime scale build-up, use a mixture of water and distilled white vinegar or baking soda to scrub these stains away as well. Always test any products that you use to clean your fountain on a small inconspicuous area of the fountain first before using them to clean the rest of the fountain.
If your fountain is made of copper, do not use vinegar or store-bought cleaners as they can damage the patina. After you’ve given the fountain a good scrub, allow it to dry completely before covering it or moving it into storage.
4. Place Absorbent Materials in the Basins
If you plan on leaving your fountain outdoors for the winter, give it a little extra protection from snow and moisture by lining the basin or bowls of the outdoor fountain with towels, blankets, or burlap sacks before covering it with a tarp or fountain cover. These items will absorb any stray moisture that seeps past the cover.
Keep Your Water Feature From Freezing with Proper Care and Maintenance
Maintaining your fountain all year long will make the winterizing process easier as well as help prolong the life of your fountain. For more tips on how to clean and maintain your fountain properly, check out our Fountain Maintenance Guide.
Taking the time to keep your fountain safe from the cold and ice will ensure that once spring comes again, it will provide all the beautiful sights and sounds you love!