Outdoor living is central to the Central Florida lifestyle. With pools, patios and yards playing such important roles, enhancements like fountains lend engaging visual and sensory interest. There’s a water feature for every style of home and landscaping – from elegant traditional multi-tier fountains to stacked rock (natural or artificial) models that provide a Zen or rustic vibe. Regardless of the style or size, however, every fountain needs proper maintenance – which, when performed regularly, can prevent expensive repairs.
The fundamental basis of fountain maintenance is to keep up the water level. While this may seem simple, a lower-than-recommended water level can damage the pump if the water level drops below the intake tube. Reasons for a drop in water level can include:
Evaporation – Recent Florida transplants need to be vigilant about this during summer months, when triple-digit temperatures and searing sun can quickly dry up water – especially when days go by without an afternoon thunderstorm. Check daily.
Animals – Depending on your home’s location, wildlife may use your fountain as a watering hole. If you have a traditional basin-style fountain, birds may bathe in it, displacing water as they flap their wings.
Leaks – If the base leaks without a visible crack, Serenity Health & Home Décor advises to turn off the pump and let the fountain sit for one week. This should cause the crack to appear white. In addition to damaging the fountain over time, a leak will also increase your water bill.
Please note that we did not include wind as a possible reason. Gusty winds are uncommon in Central Florida except during storms.
All causes other than leaks can be headed off by installing an automatic water refill device. The device works like a toilet tank float. As the water level drops, water is automatically added to the fountain. But again, if your fountain continues to lose water, a leak may be the cause. Certified Leak Detection has years of experience with all types of outdoor fountains and can locate and professionally repair leaks.
Pump maintenance is essential to proper function. As noted by Serenity Health & Home Décor, the pump is the “… heart and soul of any outdoor water fountain. It doesn’t matter what the water fountains are made of, what size they are, or how much they cost. Submersible pumps are what make them tick or, more accurately, flow.”Outdoor fountain pumps are susceptible to becoming clogged with debris (dirt, sand, leaves, grass, etc.) blown into the fountain. They need to be removed and periodically cleaned. This Old House offers helpful methods, such as siphoning off the water with a wet-dry vacuum and then cleaning the interior of the fountain with a sponge. If there is a lot of buildups, scrub it off by using vinegar and a soft bristled nylon brush, then refill the fountain. To prevent debris from collecting, put an old nylon stocking over the pump and its intake.
Add a clarifier to discourage algae growth, as well as a scale and stain remover (as recommended) every time you refresh the water supply to fight build-ups. If you see algae and scale that persist, you can double the normal amount. To avoid algae build-ups, use a time-release algaecide tablet every three weeks during the summer months.
You should only use chlorine when needed. Because concentrated chlorine levels can hamper the pump’s function, only use chlorine when there is an algae bloom. You can add ¼ cup of chlorine for every five gallons of water, and let the pump run overnight so that it disinfects the system. For those who like to be really hands-on with outdoor fountain maintenance, WikiHow provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide that delves deeper into battling algae.
Even the most skilled do-it-yourselfer sometimes needs the help of a professional. If you suspect trouble, Certified Leak Detection is experienced in leak detection and repair for swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs, as well as slabs and foundations. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call. Contact us for quick, reliable service.