Fountain How-To Series: Part 7 – Maintaining & CLEANING Your Fountain

Part 7: Maintaining & Cleaning your fountain

Fast fact: Water in dreams symbolizes emotions.

Regular cleaning is necessary for extending the life of your fountain. The first important thing to remember is to keep your fountain clear; scoop out debris like leaves and seeds to keep the pump from clogging and running too hard.

Always use a material appropriate cleaner: metal cleaner for metals, cast stone cleaner for stone or concrete, etc.

You can help prevent white scale, or hard water buildup by using distilled water. This is very beneficial for tabletop, smaller fountains or any of the fountains from Design Toscano’s Small Wonders collection that will only need a gallon of water or less.

To prevent hard water buildup and algae (the green/black plant) there are many natural and chemical products out there made just for fountain care like Fountec Algaecide and Water Clarifier (EC50008).

I recommend using a safe, natural cleaner and/or a preventive that uses enzymes because they are safe around children, pets and wildlife. 

If you are seeing white mineral deposits, empty the fountain and using a soft cloth wipe it down with something gentle like white vinegar.

Try not to use soap, but if necessary try Dawn dish soap and rinse very well afterwards. For algae buildup, empty the fountain, wipe it with a soft rag soaked in white vinegar and baking soda; then check the pump, if the tubes are green power rinse them out, or use a bottle brush and/or toothbrush and rinse thoroughly.

Outdoor fountains should be cleaned, emptied and wiped down every 2-3 months, and/or just before storing for winter. Indoor fountains, smaller fountains or wall fonts should also be cleaned, emptied and wiped down every 2-3 months.

Quick tip: If you take a picture of your pump, then you have it to refer back to while putting it back together or if you need to replace the pump.

Maintaining Your Design Toscano Fountain

A fountain is out in the elements all day, every day and they are subject to harsh sun and extreme weather.

All Design Toscano outdoor fountains are weather resistant, meaning they are finished to stand up to wet weather and other elements. Brass and metal fountains will weather and acquire a patina.

There are some things you can do to help keep your investments protected allowing you to enjoy them for a long time.

Here are some helpful tips to maintain your fountain:

  • In areas where the temperatures reach freezing, completely empty the fountain of water in the fall before the first frost. If you can, remove the pump and bring it and all the fountain pieces inside. If you absolutely can’t move the fountain, remove and bring the pump inside, and make sure to cover the fountain for the winter. We also suggest to cover and tie down it with plastic or purchase a fountain jacket.
  • As for fountains that are left out in the hot baking sun; it is a fact that colors will eventually fade in direct sunlight. Some colors seem to fade faster, but I’ve left many pieces outside for years without doing anything special to them they are still just fine. (The black bear cub I mentioned before is now a bit grayer but I’ve had him for almost ten years.) Almost all of Toscano’s fountains and statues are created especially for the outdoors and are weather resistant. Check the descriptions of items if it says: “for the garden, for indoor/outdoor,” it should be fine in most kinds of weather.
  • To prolong the life of the finish you can add a clear (non-glossy) UV protective coating over the fountain. There are waterproof coatings made just for fountains if you can find them, follow the instructions. If you can’t find that, a spray of a clear (non-glossy) coating to hold up outdoors, or a poly sealer made especially for plastics and resin can be sprayed over the piece to help fight back the sun. Use non-glossy over natural looking fountains, but you could use semi-gloss on brightly colored pieces. Please check for lights first and don’t spray over them.

One other thing to consider:

Some splashing is inevitable, but unless you have a huge forced water fountain it shouldn’t splash too much. Just a few drops about a foot out for the most medium sized fountains, and less for smaller ones. If a fountain is splashing more than you like, check if the pump is set in correctly. Check your pump instructions or look them up online; some pumps have water flow levels and yours could be adjustable to a lower setting. Also check if your fountain is level; it might be tilted causing it to splash further. It is also beneficial to keep up the water level; too much water it can splash more and too little is bad for the pump. You can also reduce splashing by adding a screen over the water surface.

Tip: We like to top off our fountains with water each week to compensate for evaporation and daily splash loss.

I hope I’ve stimulated your imagination and your ready go out and create your own special Design Toscano garden retreat. Don’t forget to check out the wonderful new Design Toscano products, wall décor, metal garden furniture, and all the most wanted garden statues Design Toscano has to offer.

Posted by Sue Mell.

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How to Clean and Care for your Outdoor Water Fountain
How to Clean and Care for your Outdoor Water Fountain