Leaves are falling, the holidays are coming, and so is winter with its dropping temperatures. Now is the time to protect your outdoor water fountain. Avoid cracked basins, burst pipes and broken pumps by taking these steps to ensure that your features are protected through the winter and ready to enjoy when warmer temperatures are back.

There are questions surrounding the use of anti-freeze to simply keep fountains running through the winter months. This is not a viable solution, because using that or any de-icing products can damage the fountain and can be toxic to animals and humans. Running a fountain in winter is not recommended when the temperature is below freezing.

Now is also a great time to decide if you want to add additional fountains or replace freestanding fountains with hardscaped fountains in the spring. If you are considering adding fountains to your landscaping in the spring, Bobvila.com has Top Tips for Adding a Garden Fountain.

Take these 3 steps and your fountains will be protected all winter long!

  1. Drain, Clear, Clean and Store

First, remove any fish or plants. Pull the drain plug on the basin. If there is no plug, run the pump but redirect the water away from the system.  A leaf blower works well to clean leaves and loose debris from in and around your fountain. Clean the basin and let it dry for 24 hours.

Clear water from the pipes by using a small air compressor to blow water out of the pipes to prevent them from bursting during freezing spells. You can also use a wet/dry vacuum for small jobs. You can do this by disconnecting the hose from the vacuum side and attaching it to the discharge side and then connecting the vacuum hose to the piping.

Disconnect the power and remove, clean, and store the pump. Algae and slime can cake up inside the pump. In a bucket or sink, run a solution of cleaning vinegar and water through the pump until it runs clear. Drain the solution, then store the pump in a climate-controlled environment for the winter.

  • Repair

Include an inspection in your winterizing routine. Do not wait until spring to repair cracks. As moisture collects in cracks and freezes and thaws in winter, cracks can widen. To fill concrete cracks, use a hydraulic cement to stop water leaks or structural epoxy paste for anchoring and concrete repair. Secure dislodged stones so that water flows over and not under them, Finally, fix polyethylene and PVC liners. Doityourself.com has more Repair Tips for Outdoor Water Fountains.

  • Elevate and Cover

Fountains may freeze to the ground and cause cracking in the base when left outside in the winter. If the fountain cannot be stored inside or in a dry covered location, it’s best to raise it above ground supported by boards or bricks.

Fountains and bowls are often made of concrete. Covering them stops the material from absorbing moisture and cracking in the winter. Bestreviews.com has what they consider the Best Fountain Covers For Winter. The cover should be a UV-stabilized, breathable cover with a drawstring, especially if temperatures fluctuate above and below freezing. That can cause condensation to form inside the cover. Avoid plastic! The expansion and contraction of the freezing-and-thawing water can crack the concrete. Make sure the fountain cover is taut so no snow or water can pool in the cover. Tie the opening at the bottom of the cover around the fountain.

 At Patera Landscaping, we have a variety of water features to add to your landscape when warm weather returns! Contact us today!