Winterizing an outdoor fountain is essential to protect it from the potentially damaging effects of freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. Here are steps to help you properly winterize your outdoor fountain.
Turn Off and Unplug the Fountain
First, turn off the fountain pump and unplug it from the power source. This is an important safety step before you begin any maintenance.
Drain all the water from the fountain. This step is crucial to prevent water from freezing and causing damage to the fountain's components. Depending on the size of your fountain, you can use a wet/dry vacuum, a submersible pump, or simply tip the fountain over to remove as much water as possible.
Remove and Clean Components
Take out the fountain's components, including the pump, hoses, and any decorative elements. Clean them thoroughly to remove any debris, algae, or mineral buildup. This will help extend the life of these parts.
Store the Pump
Store the fountain pump indoors in a dry, frost-free location. It's important to prevent the pump from freezing, as this can cause damage. You can place it in a bucket of water or antifreeze to keep the seals from drying out.
Cover or Protect the Fountain
If your fountain is small and lightweight, consider moving it to a sheltered location, such as a garage or shed. For larger fountains that are difficult to move, cover them with a waterproof, breathable cover to protect them from the elements.
If your fountain has plumbing or pipes that can't be removed, consider insulating them to prevent freezing. You can use pipe insulation sleeves or wrap the plumbing with heat tape. Make sure these materials are suitable for outdoor use.
Keep the Fountain Clean
Throughout the winter, periodically check the fountain for debris and snow accumulation. Excessive weight from snow or ice can cause damage. Remove any buildup to prevent stress on the fountain's structure.
Check for Cracks or Damage
Inspect the fountain for any cracks, damage, or wear. Address any issues before spring, so they don't worsen over the winter.
Regularly Ventilate the Cover
If you've covered your fountain, make sure there's proper ventilation to prevent condensation inside the cover, which can lead to mold or mildew.
Consider Adding a Deicer
In extremely cold climates, you may want to consider using a fountain deicer, which is a small heating element designed to keep the water from freezing. This can be especially useful for large or decorative fountains that are challenging to move.