Guest Author - Sheri Ann Richerson
Fall brings many outdoor gardening chores such as raking leaves, cleaning and putting away gardening tools as well as preparing your pond or water fountain for the cold weather that lies ahead.
If you have a concrete or cast stone water fountain and live in a cold area the best advice is to empty it, remove the pump and bring it all inside before the first freeze of the season. Cold temperatures cause concrete to expand and contract which could cause the concrete to crack, especially if there is water in your fountain.
Do not add antifreeze to your fountain. Antifreeze is dangerous to children, pets and wildlife!
When it comes to removing the pump you will want to clean it and the fountain of all debris that has collected in it such as leaves and algae. The best place to keep your pump during the winter months is inside where it is warm. If it is a submersible pump you will need to keep it in a container of water in a warm spot so the seals and gaskets do not dry out.
In the event that your fountain is too big to bring indoors or you simply have no place to put it, then you will want to remove all the water from the fountain as well as remove any tiers that are not concreted on the fountain. Find some absorbent material such as old towels to lay in the fountain basin and all tiers. These will help to absorb any water that should find its way inside the cover.
The next step is to cover your fountain completely with a fountain cover, tarps or other protective material. Make sure the cover is secure or it could blow off during the winter. If possible, use a fountain cover because they are designed specifically to fit the shape of outdoor water fountains, they are waterproof, UV resistant and come with a special drawstring that is used to insure a snug fit. Fountain covers can be purchased online as well as through most local retailers who sell water fountains.
In the event that you decide to leave your water fountain outdoors for the winter it is a good idea to uncover it from time to time to make sure that no water has accidentally got into your basins or tiers. In the event that you do find water, remove all waterlogged cloth, dry it making sure to remove all the water that can possibly be removed, add dry towels and re-wrap your fountain.
Following these basic steps will help insure that you get years of enjoyment out of your outdoor water fountain.