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Fall Maintenance for Outdoor Fountains

Fall Maintenance for Outdoor Fountains

It’s never too early to start thinking about your fall maintenance. In fact, at my household, we have a running calendar with all of our upcoming chores. This helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Being a captain, I run a tight ship and can’t afford to have any leaks.

With that being said, I wasn’t exactly sure how best to service my outdoor fountain to ensure that it runs for many years to come.

We’re planners in my household, so I went ahead and did the research. Here’s the exhaustive checklist to maintain your outdoor fountain this Autumn.

Remove the fountain bowl of debris

The Fall months introduce a lot of unfortunate debris everywhere. Raking your leaves is simple enough, but the falling foliage doesn’t discriminate between your lawn and your precious fountain.

It might seem like an uphill battle, but you definitely want to clean your fountain of any fallen leaves.

Not only are the additional leaves an eye-sore, but they can break apart in the fountain water and cause additional heartbreak. Trust me — you do not want to clean micro-foliage out of your fountain filter.

Because of this, it’s important to clean your fountain bowl of unwanted debris every couple of weeks. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up to have a much bigger problem later on. As my wife can tell you, one of my major motto’s is to deal with small problems now, so you can save yourself from the large problems later.

Drain the water

Before you do any additional maintenance, drain the water from your outdoor fountain following the manufacturer’s recommendation. You won’t be able to perform the next maintenance items without completely draining your fountain.

Most of the time, this is incredibly easy. Most fountains have a visible plug that will either unscrew or can be lifted out. Small, lightweight fountains may require you to tip the entire fountain over though!

Thoroughly scrub down the fountain surface

Although not as bad as winter and early spring, autumn begins the time period where mold and mildew start growing to surfaces.

You’re not going to feel like going out in frigid temperatures to perform maintenance on your outdoor fountain. Trust me on this one — the best of intentions fall apart in sub-zero temperatures.

Because of this, it’s important that you clean the surface of your outdoor fountain as thoroughly as you can before Jack Frost completely takes over.

How you end up cleaning your fountain is up to you, but here are some effective approaches:

  1. Bleach + Water
  2. White vinegar + Water
  3. Pressure washer

Whichever approach you take, be sure to be as thorough as you can.

Clean out the pump

Take this time in the outdoor off-season to thoroughly clean your outdoor fountain pump. This is something that most people simply overlook, but it can drastically increase the quality of your fountain water. Not to mention, it’s sure to increase the lifespan of your fountain system.

Cleaning the pump itself is easy to do. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the pump and remove it from the fountain.
  2. Soak the pump in a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water.
  3. Use a small brush (a toothbrush is perfect) to scrub away the remaining algae / mineral deposits.

Simple, right? Three small steps will go a long way to check off an item from the outdoor fountain fall maintenance checklist.

Cover for the Winter

Being gripped by Fall maintenance tasks means a slightly worse season is right around the corner. Instead of trying to maintain your fountain for the cold, winter months, you’re honestly better served just covering the thing until spring.

I know you’re thinking that covering your fountain is an eyesore, but stone fountains in particular are subject to weather damage from freezing temperatures. It’s best for your fountain (and your wallet) if you simply cover it up.

Amazon has many options available, but this waterproof option by Bosmere is no-frills and does the job beautifully. It will definitely provide full winter protection for your outdoor fountain.

Additional considerations

Can you put antifreeze in an outdoor fountain?

Many folks are tempted to put antifreeze in their outdoor fountain and call it a day. While it may seem like the easiest option, you should not add any chemical antifreeze to your fountain. Deicing products are abrasive and your fountain is porous. This is a bad combination and should be avoided.

Will a running outdoor fountain freeze?

I’ve received this question quite a bit. It seems a lot of people think that as long as they keep their water fixture running, they’ll be spared from a freezing outdoor fountain. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. A running outdoor fountain can freeze. Furthermore, running the electric pump when the water is freezing can cause them to burn out and be destroyed.

Final thoughts

This should prepare you for everything you need to do to maintain your outdoor fountain this fall. However, it’s not everything you need to do to properly maintain your home or patio. has created a fantastic complete Fall maintenance guide that you can read to make sure your home is in ship-shape.

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