Whether your outdoor fountain is just for looks or if it supplies necessary drinking water for your animals, proper winterization is necessary. This is especially true in areas prone to freezing temperatures. The following guide can help you get your fountain ready so it can survive winter unharmed.
#1: Drain the Water
Water expands when frozen, so any water left inside the fountain can lead to a cracked basin or leaking water tubes later. Drain the water out of the fountain and then hook a compressor up to the water hoses and blow out the pipes. This ensures no water remains that can freeze. It's a good idea to drain the fountain a couple of weeks before you suspect freezing weather, because this allows any moisture that is trapped inside the pipes or within the pores of the concrete to dry out completely before the cold weather arrives.
#2: Store the Pump
The pump and its assorted hardware are less likely to suffer weather damage if you remove them and store them indoors. Clean out the pump filter or replace it with a new filter when you store it. This ensures the pump is ready to use next spring.
#3: Provide Protection
You don't want water or snow to collect in the fountain during the winter months. You have two options to prevent this, depending on the size of your fountain. For small fountains, simply turn the bowls upside down for winter. If your fountain is too large for this, fill the bowl with burlap and then cover the fountain with a fountain cover or tarp. The burlap absorbs any moisture that makes its way into the bowl, while the cover keeps out the majority of the water.
Bonus Tip #1: Seal the Ground
It's a good idea to set a concrete or stone fountain on a cement pad. The pad should be sealed to prevent moisture from seeping through. If you do this at installation, moisture won't leach from the ground and into your fountain. It can help prevent cracking if moisture isn't making its way into the fountain from below.
Bonus Tip #2: Providing Winter Water
If you need your outdoor fountain to provide water to animals in winter, you can purchase and install a fountain water heater. These come in a variety of sizes, from those made for small birdbaths to large models that are meant for use in livestock watering troughs.