How to Clean A Water Fountain

Stainless steel wall water fountain
Cleaning your water fountain will improve the longevity of your fountain and keep it looking like new for years.

Owning a water fountain is like owning a small piece of paradise for your home or office. To help keep your little paradise pristine, you will need to clean your fountain regularly. Indoor fountains are less susceptible to debris, but will still need regular cleaning and fresh water added. Outdoor fountains, depending on your location, need special care and attention to keep them working beautifully. Whether you own a floor fountain or a wall fountain, or another type of fountain, these cleaning tips will help you keep your fountain clean so that you can enjoy the natural tranquility.

Water Pump Care

Keeping the pump in good working condition is vital for your fountain’s appearance and functionality. To clean the pump, first turn it off and let the propeller stop completely before you remove it from the fountain.

Use a cloth to wipe away debris on the outside of the pump. Open the pump and use a small brush, like an old toothbrush, to clean the propeller, inner vent, and ports. Clean the pump’s tubing before reinstalling the pump. To prevent pump clogs, check your fountain for debris and algae monthly.

Algae Prevention

Algaecide for water fountain cleaning
Algaecide can be purchased at your local home improvement store, nursery, or pool supply store. This 16 oz bottle can be purchased online at Home Depot here.

Placing your fountain in the shade or in low light will help prevent algae growth. Algae feeds off of waste and debris. Light accelerates the process. Household bleach or algaecide (available at home improvement stores) can be used to kill existing algae, but only if your fountain does not have fish or live plants. The most important thing you can do to prevent the growth of algae in your fountain is regularly clean your fountain and add fresh, clean water.  If you are particularly concerned about algae, you can fill your fountain with distilled water, which lacks the nutrients algae grows on.

Distilled Water
One of the best ways to prevent algae from growing in your fountain is to used distilled water. You can buy distilled water at any local shopping center or grocery store for $1-2. For example, this 1 gallon bottle of Crystal Springs distilled water can be purchased at Home Depot. If you have fish or animals in your water feature, you can’t use algaecide so this is just another benefit of using distilled water.

To remove algae from your fountain, you can use a stiff brush and then rinse the algae away. Then, once the algae has been cleaned from the walls and basin, add fresh water.

3 pennies
The copper in pennies can prevent algae from growing in your water features.

Fun Tip: Place a few pennies (pre-1982) in the basin of your fountain. Copper inhibits algae growth so you can use this as a quick and inexpensive method to prevent algae from growing in water features but be sure to keep the pennies away from water pumps or areas that can interfere with the fountains function.

Cleaning the Water

Algae, white scale and other build up can cause the fountain water to look cloudy or dirty. Lights will look dim if the water is dirty. White scale—calcium build up, occurs in fountains due to minerals in water. Though unsightly, it is not harmful. White scale can easily be removed with distilled vinegar and a scouring pad or stiff brush. Using distilled water in your fountain can help prevent both white scale and algae.

 If your fountain has a filter, it will filter out sand and small particles. Feathers, grass, sticks, and leaves will need to be removed by hand. To help keep the water clean, strategically place your fountain in the shade and away from high traffic areas. At least once a week, check the water for debris and add fresh water to make up for evaporation. If your fountain is outdoors, use mosquito tablets once a month to keep the pesky insects away and keep your backyard peaceful.

How to Deep Clean a Water Fountain

Deep cleans are necessary for the upkeep of your fountain and to prevent algae and staining. Larger fountains can go several months between deep cleans.

  1. Turn off pump and filter, if applicable, and unplug the fountain.  
  2. Remove all stones and decorative items from basin. Clean these separately using a stiff brush and soap and water.
  3. Remove pump from water to clean (see above.)
  4. Empty the fountain completely. Your fountain may have a sump pump to drain it, but if not, a water vacuum may be used.
  5. Using a stiff brush or scouring pad and a bucket of mild soap and water, clean the entire basin. Take special care on areas with algae such as inlets.
  6. Rinse and dry fountain completely. Be sure to rinse away all soap, as it can be harmful to the pump.
  7. Reinstall pump, then refill reservoir.

Your fountain will soon be sparkling clean, promoting serenity, providing better air quality indoors, and adding relaxation to your day.

Water Fountain Experts

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