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5 Tips To Keep Your Fountain Running

Without regular care, a bubbling fountain can quickly go from lovely to grubby. Follow these steps to make sure it flows.

Photo by Lee Anne White/IPN Stock

Get Rid Of The Grime.

Dirt and debris wear on the fountain's surface. Once a month, bail out gritty water (or siphon it off with a wet-dry vac); then wipe the interior with a soft cloth or sponge. Scrub off buildup with vinegar and a soft bristled nylon brush; wipe clean and refill.

Put On Socks. Slip an old nylon stocking over the pump and its intake to keep out stray dirt.

Fight Buildup. Each time you refresh the water supply, add a clarifier to deter algae growth and a scale and stain remover, following the label directions on dosage (it depends on your fountain's capacity). Double the normal amount if you notice algae or scale that persists. In warmer months, when algae grows more readily, add a time-release algaecide in tablet form about once every three weeks.

Don't Let It Run Dry. Your pump could overheat if the water level's too low, so keep an eye on it, especially if you've had a string of hot, dry days.

Use Chlorine Only If Needed. Fountain pumps aren't designed to work with concentrated levels of chlorine, but if an algae bloom won't die down, add 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach for every 5 gallons of water, and run the pump overnight so it circulates long enough to disinfect the entire system.