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Fountain Care

Congratulations on your decision to buy a fountain. With proper care, your fountain will bring you years of worry-free enjoyment. Relax and recharge as the soothing sounds of flowing water create an uplifting atmosphere. In our retail store, people come over on their work breaks just to sit and relax in our fountain room. They find few other indoor atmospheres are as refreshing.

Fountain care is about as challenging as caring for a low-maintenance houseplant. Once assembled and properly placed, fountain upkeep includes checking and adding water once every 2-7 days and cleaning it every few months. That’s it!

Below we list a few things you need to know to begin fountain operation. Remember that a fountain is a self-contained unit with an underwater pump that recirculates water. The submersible pumps are not designed to work in air and should only be used when covered with water. You’d be surprised how many people bring in a burned out pump and say, “You mean it was supposed to only run under water?” Do not let your pump run dry!

An effective way to introduce the outdoor elements into a home is with an indoor fountain. Unlike innumerable home improvement projects, indoor water fountains are simple to maintain and thus easy to enjoy for many years.

Fountains are available in a variety of different styles including wall fountains, floor fountains and tabletop fountains. Tailoring the selection to a certain part in your house is not a problem. No matter what kind of fountain you ultimately choose, they remain easy to maintain. After installation is completed most fountains only require occasionally wiping it clean.

Many high quality indoor fountains have an attractive copper finish, in which you’re you should follow a slightly modified set of maintenance procedures. As you may have learned in grade school, when a surface made of copper is exposed frequently to everyday elements like water and air, it will develop an antique greenish color, known as verdigris (think of the Statue of Liberty). Some fountains are powder-coated, which is actually a clear finish applied to the copper surfaces that can help combat the coloration. In other fountains the copper finish is all natural. It is worthwhile to keep in mind that all copper, finished or not, will eventually oxidize. It is a natural, unavoidable process. Some homeowners choose to embrace the natural progression of their fountain’s copper finish. However, there are some ways to minimize and delay the tint.

For the day-in, day-out maintenance and more regular cleaning of a copper indoor fountain, use a soft cloth with a light household furniture polish. If your fountain is powder-coated, you can apply Turtle Wax Hard Shell® wax around every three months to stretch the lifetime of the coating. If white spots appear, Calcium Lime Remover can be used, but only on the powder-coated fountains. If your fountain is natural finished, do NOT use Turtle Wax Hard Shell or CLR ®. No matter what type of calcium finish your copper fountain is treated with, never use copper cleaner. Furthermore, when cleaning, take care to not let any polish or other substance drip into the fountain water. Make sure to wipe clean any leftover residue. Those substances will interfere and ruin the fountain pump if left on after cleaning is completed.

If your fountain is made of significant amounts of glass it is recommended to clean with a water and white vinegar mixture. If you find the water of your fountain is noisily not running smoothly over the glass, apply a very slight layer of Jazz Window Prep, available at many art supply stores, to resolve the problem.

If your fountain is made of significant amounts of glass it is recommended to clean with a water and white vinegar mixture. If you find the water of your fountain is noisily not running smoothly over the glass, apply a very slight layer of Jazz Window Prep, available at many art supply stores, to resolve the problem.

Suggestions for Getting Started

1. Assemble the fountain

Most of our fountains require some simple assembly. That means putting together a base, top, pump, and any additional, decorative material. Whenever tubing needs to be attached, instructions will be provided and tubing will be enclosed in the packaging. Please read all instructions that come with your fountain.

2. Add Water

Fill the base of your fountain with water up to about 1/2 inch below the top edge (or follow manufacturer’s instructions.) To save your fountain from the natural mineral build up that arises when using mineral-rich water, we recommend using distilled or reverse osmosis water. Consider using a product called Protec (see Fountain Accessories). Protec prevents and removes white scale deposits and mineral stains up to three months with just one application. It also prevents pump damage due to hard water buildup. Note: it is not for use where fish are present.

3. Plug in and Prime the Pump

Never run the pump unless it is submersed in water. We suggest you prime the pump first and then adjust the water flow before completely assembling your fountain.

To prime the pump, turn the water flow dial to low and place it under water. Then plug in the pump, adjust the dial so that the water spurts to 1-1 ½”high and let it run for 30 seconds to a minute. This will allow a full flow of water to come through the fountain, eliminating pockets of air that could make the fountain gurgle or spurt. Once primed, your pump should run quietly though bare in mind that it has a motor and no motor is silent.

Now you are ready to assemble your fountain. Once the fountain is assembled, take your hands out of the water, dry them, and plug in the pump. Then you can go back and make adjustments on water flow as necessary. Pumps should be connected to a power supply that is properly grounded.

4. Embellish and protect the setting

Potted plants can be used to create a beautiful, natural setting with your fountain as a centerpiece. Remember that plants need adequate natural light. Check to be sure that leaves do not fall into the fountain and divert the water flow onto your table or floor. Also, be aware that decomposing leaves can clog your pump.

Some fountains become moist on the underside. If you are placing your fountain on fine wood, you will want to use some form of protection. Alternatively, you could try placing your fountain on ceramic tile or a trivet designed for hot food, to raise it off your furniture.

To protect the area from occasional splashing and moisture, we suggest purchasing a piece of 1/4-inch Plexiglas from your local lumber or hardware store. Have the store cut it to your size specifications, large enough to protect the area under and around your fountain.

Maintain your fountain for optimal fountain enjoyment.

Keep water level high

The most important aspect of fountain care is to maintain adequate water level. Depending on the moisture level of the fountain’s environment, you may need to fill it every 2-7 days. If you go out-of-town, unplug your fountain.Do not let your pump run dry. Pump warranty does not cover damage caused by allowing the pump to run dry. Without water, the pump will actually melt from overheating.

Clean your fountain every 1-3 months.

An environment of water, light, and air invites algae, and so algae growth is natural to fountains. Unfortunately, algae growth will clog and impede the flow of water through the pump. Therefore it is essential that you clean your fountain pump, bowl, and rocks once every 1-3 months. Keep in mind that algae grows more quickly in bright sunshine, so you may choose not to put your fountain in direct sunlight. Also, there are products that inhibit the growth of algae such as Fountec. Please see Fountain Accessories for more information on purchasing this product.

How to clean a fountain.

We recommend using an old toothbrush or other suitable brush, dish detergent, and warm water. You will need to disassemble the pump and clean inside of it where algae and mineral deposits build up.

Also clean the base of the fountain and rocks in the same way.

Pump disassembly is not difficult and takes only a few minutes. You may need to move any tension clips that hold the unit together, but you will generally not need tools such as a screwdriver. Most manufacturers include instructions with the fountain, which discuss how to pull the cover off the pump and clean the inside under running water with a brush. Pumps will run for an average of 2-3 years if kept clean and submersed. Pumps are under warranty for 1 year.

Algae – Some fountain owners use dilutions of bleach, lemon juice, vinegar or Listerine to kill algae growth. Replacing all the water in the fountain once a month will naturally cut back on algae growth. Don’t forget about Fountec (see Fountain Accessories), an excellent, gentle algaecide that keeps algae at bay. It greatly reduces the need to take a fountain apart for cleaning.

Calcium – Unsightly calcium deposits on ceramic and stone parts of your fountain can be removed with products such as Lime-Away. (Lime-Away cannot be used on bronze, slate, or painted wood.) For preventative maintenance, we offer Protec, a product that will deter mineral buildup. Please see Fountain Accessories for more information.

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