Preparing your Fountain, Bubbling Rock, & Pondless Water Feature for Winter
Another year has gone by and the weather is beginning to change. Once again, nights are becoming cooler and the scent of fall is in the air. Sad but true, it is time to start packing up yard ornaments, putting away the lawn furniture (unless you have LuxCrafts Outdoor Furniture - that can handle the elements), and shutting down those water features before freezing temperatures hit.
Outdoor Yard Fountains:
Whether it is a statuary fountain, or a fountain made from pottery, the winterization process is very similar. Some concrete fountains may come equipped with a plug that makes draining the water out of it very simple. Those that do not, need to be pumped out or vacuumed out with a wet/dry vac (or a pond vacuum can be used).
Be sure that all debris and leaves are removed from your water feature. In some instances, it may not hurt to gently clean your fountain with a mild soap and water and rinse it. Make sure that there is not standing water inside or outside the fountain base. If there is it may freeze and cause damage to your piece. Old towels, or burlap bags can be placed inside the bowls or pots to absorb moisture.
Smaller bowls may be turned upside down to prevent accumulation. Fountain covers should be gently slipped over the fountain and tied at the bottom so it does not blow away. Keep the cover pulled tightly so that water or snow may not puddle on top.
Bubbling rocks (with a plastic basin):
Many bubbling rock water features are built with a rigid plastic water basin that is buried in the ground. The good news is you do not need to drain these. The water pressure inside the basin will help prevent any freezing and thawing of the ground around it from deforming and misshaping the plastic.
You will need to remove the pump for the winter. These basins are not deep enough to keep from freezing all the way around the pump which puts it at risk of cracking and breaking. Remove the pump and take it inside where it cannot freeze. We recommend storing it in a bucket, fully submerged in distilled water to prevent dry rot inside the pump.
For added measure, you may cover your boulder or rock fountain with a tarp that is weighed down to keep from blowing away. This will keep leaves and debris out of the stone for easier start up in the spring.
Pondless Water Features (with a rubber lined basin area):
Care should be taken to keep as much debris and leaves out of the rocks as possible. Covering the feature with a net in the fall will help immensely. Leaves and debris can be blown or vacuumed out in the spring, but the less that gets trapped in the rocks to decompose, the longer your pondless feature will stay clean and functioning at full capacity.
It is best to remove the pump for the winter and store it inside where it cannot freeze. Keep it submerged in a bucket of distilled water so that the gaskets inside the pump do not dry rot.
Which ever water feature you have, proper winter care will lead to an easier start up in the spring, viable warranties, and keep your water feature looking good as new.