Fountains are a lovely addition to the yard, and require a little maintenance to keep them functioning and looking their best. Doing a little bit of cleaning regularly can make a big difference to increase the longevity of a fountain pump. Outdoor water fountains tend to need cleaning more regularly than indoor ones, due to leaves, dirt, dust, algae, and waste from visiting wildlife. Here are a few tips to keep your fountain in tip-top shape:
- Use distilled water, if possible, to reduce mineral buildup.
- Keep fountain pump completely submersed in water.
- Keep pump running continuously; the pump will last longer and water will stay cleaner.
- Change the water daily or every other day if birds or other animals visit the fountain.
- Check the fountain daily to remove any leaves or debris that gets in and might damage the pump.
Cleaning a fountain involves cleaning the bowl of the fountain and the pump. It’s helpful to clean the bowl from time to time by just wiping the inside with a cloth, sponge, or soft brush to remove any algae or deposits. Don’t use any chemical cleansers on outdoor fountains, so as not to harm wildlife. Vinegar can be safely used on most fountains, except copper fountains! Refer to special instructions below for cleaning copper fountains.
It’s very important to keep the pump clean so it can function properly. Clean it by removing from the fountain, wiping with a cloth, or sponge, and using a toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach places. Drain pump and soak in a 2:1 vinegar to water solution to remove any build up inside.
Between manual cleanings, add a liquid cleanser to the water to keep the basin and pump clean. We recommend using Auraco Small Fountain Cleanser weekly, to break down sludge, stains, water lines, and biofilm. It’s easy to use and safe for pets, birds, and other wildlife.
Cleaning Copper Fountains
Copper fountains require more regular cleanings to maintain the copper color. Eventually, all copper fountains will naturally oxidize to a green color, but this process can be slowed considerably with a regular cleaning and maintenance. First, find out if your fountain is a natural copper (usually already green) or has a powder finish or clear coat to protect it from turning green. If it has a protective coat, use a turtle wax once every two to three months, being careful not to get any in the pump. If white spots appear, use CLR to remove, but only on copper with a clear finish. For copper fountains without a finish, DO NOT use copper cleaner, instead, use a furniture polish such as Pledge.
Preparing Fountain for Winter
Outdoor fountains must be brought indoors for the winter to prevent damage. Before any danger of frost, drain and clean the fountain and pump completely, and store indoors. The pump should be stored in a heated area, whereas the fountain can be stored in a garage or shed. If the fountain proves too difficult to move, it can be left outdoors, as long as it is completely drained (to prevent cracking) and covered. Just be sure to bring the pump indoors.