Maintaining Your Garden Fountain
After going to the trouble and expense of installing your new garden fountain you don’t want to just ignore it. A well-maintained fountain will provide a beautiful focal point in your garden for years, but a fountain that isn’t taken care of, will quickly become an outdoor eyesore. Maintaining a garden fountain isn’t hard, and only takes a few minutes every few days and the payback is you get to enjoy your water feature for years. Here’s some pointers on maintaining your garden fountain.
- Your fountain pump should be installed into a circuit with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breaker on it. This type of circuit breaker is designed to quickly shut down the flow of electricity if there is any loss of current (i.e. electricity leaking into the ground or water). You can test that the breaker is working properly by pushing the button on it. It should shut of immediately.
- Be sure to remove any leaves, twigs or grass clippings that might blow in to your fountain on a regular basis. ). Use a small piece of screen mesh (available at pool stores) to scoop leaves out of your fountain while they’re floating on the surface, before they sink to the bottom. Debris like this can block the water flow through your pump, causing it to overheat. While most pumps are designed to shut off when they get too hot, it’s not really a good way to treat your pump.
- There is usually a screen or filter basket in your pump and it’s a simple matter to remove the filter and get rid of any accumulated debris. (A good habit to get into is to unplug your pump before removing the basket or screen).
- Keep a close watch on the water level in your fountain. A small leak in the liner can allow gallons of water to escape from the fountain, potentially damaging nearby plants and shrubs by saturating their roots. If you think you have a leak or hole in your liner, put a few drops of food coloring into the water and watch to see where it flows. The food coloring will show you where the leak is.
- Once you’ve found the leak it should be a simple matter to drain the water out of your fountain, and repair the leak with some clear silicone. When it dries the silicon will be invisible and the patch will last for years.
- Algae can grow in garden fountains where the water isn’t fresh. Some experts suggest you change the water in your fountain once a week to prevent a build up of algae. Alternatively, you could add some commercial anti algae solution from a garden store, chlorine bleach, peroxide, vinegar or even sea salt to prevent algae from forming.
- If you’re going away during the summer it’s best to remove the water from your fountain and turn your pump off. Debris can build up quickly in the fountain if no one is removing it regularly and anti algae treatments need to be renewed every few days to be effective. Even if your fountain works just fine while no one’s there, the water could evaporate in the summer’s heat leaving your pump running dry and inevitably overheating.
Doing just these few jobs on a regular basis will keep your garden fountain looking beautiful and working properly They would seem to be a small price to pay to enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of your own fountain right in your yard.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with over 500 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He can be contacted at [email protected].