How to Maintain, Care for, and Clean Your Outdoor Fountain | Estate Fountains

How to Maintain, Care for, and Clean Your Outdoor Fountain

December 17, 2018

An outdoor fountain is a great centerpiece for any yard or garden. Water fountains also attract birds just by the sound of running water. It’s important to properly maintain your fountain for both aesthetics and health issues.

Cleaning garden fountains must be done with care and cover all aspects of the fountain. If you only clean off the surface, you’ll likely be cleaning again soon. To help get your fountain cleaned right, follow these steps outlined in our guide.

Scrubbing it Clean

The first thing you’ll want to do is go over your fountain with a textured cloth, a toothbrush, and some dish detergent. This should be routine maintenance done at least every other month, depending on surrounding trees. Tree pollen, dirt, and leaves can do a number on your fountain.

Depending on what your fountain is made out of (for example marble, travertine, limestone, Cantera, or concrete fountains), you may need to purchase special cleaner to avoid staining or damaging the surface.  (And with those porous stones, more consistent cleaning is needed, as it’ll require a lot of elbow grease to take off any milky white calcium scale or iron stains.)

On the other hand, if you have a granite fountain, cleaning/maintenance is a much easier affair, as there isn’t much that can hurt granite.  Using a solution of 50/50 muriatic acid/water will very quickly take off calcium scale, and 50/50 ferrous acid/water will take off iron stains without scrubbing.   (Or, there is a product called RidORust that does a really great job as well, if you can’t find ferrous acid.)  As long as the acid is bubbling, that means it’s still working.  If it stops bubbling but the stain is still there, spray some more acid on until the stain is gone.  Then, rinse liberally with water and your fountain will be sparkling clean again.  (Whatever you do, please make sure you wear eye protection, protect your skin, and only spray acids on your fountain on a non-windy day!)

More modern fountain designs can reduce the amount of cleaning necessary, too. Please note, sealing your fountain with a quality sealer like Miracle 511 products will make it much harder for dirt/algae to stick to your stone, which will make cleaning much easier as well.  Typically for our granite fountains we recommend Miracle 511 Impregnator Sealer, or for our marble fountains MIracle 511 Porous Plus Sealer or if you want to bring out the color in your stone the Miracle 511 Seal / Enhance sealer will really make the colors / veins much more visible.  (Essentially, the same colors that the stone turns when it’s wet, but unsealed.)

Pump Maintenance and Water Levels

Keeping a consistent water level can go a long way in maintaining your pump. The water level of your fountain should be noted every day. You will need to keep adding water to your fountain if you live in a hot and dry climate, or if your fountain pool surround does not have an autofill in it to automatically re-fill the pool.

Every month, replace all of the water with fresh water, alternating with algae cleaner (more on that below). While replacing your water, you should be cleaning the pump. Carefully remove your pump and submerge it in a vinegar solution.

Mix roughly one-part vinegar with two parts water and run it for at least 15 minutes, then use a toothbrush if needed to take off calcium scale. (Take the pump impeller out, making sure not to lose small parts, and clean out that chamber as well.)

Cleaning and Preventing Algae

Algae will ruin a fountain’s water pump and cause your water to smell, as well as clogging your auto-fill, which causes it to stay in the open position and results in your fountain pool flooding over the top of the wall. It’s important to proactively clean your water to prevent algae every month. You can buy/make a special anti-algae cleaner that will kill off all living organisms on the surface of your fountain.

Another big contributor to algae growth is location. Direct sunlight allows algae to grow faster, which could allow it to outpace your cleaning efforts. Partial or full shade is best for fountains. This will also keep water from evaporating fast.

Also, if you keep as much water in your fountain pool as possible, it keeps the water colder which inhibits the growth of algae even more.

Outdoor Fountain Maintenance

We hope this guide helps save you some time and reveals the inner beauty of your outdoor fountain. We know it can be a lot of work maintaining a garden and all of the fixtures therein. If you would like some additional help caring for your garden fountain, we have experts that can tell you what to do.

We also offer replacement parts on our website. If you forget to drain your fountain during a freeze, the pump will need to be replaced. And your fountain will likely crack, and start leaking. On our site, you’ll find pumps to keep the water clear and the fountain clean.

If you have any special requests or don’t see the part you’re looking for, please feel free to contact us.  (What