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How to Winterize Fountain for the Cold Season

November 1, 2023


As the leaves begin to fall and the temperature starts to dip, it’s time to think about how to winterize your outdoor water fountain. Proper preparation and protection can save you from costly repairs and prolong the life of your beautiful water feature. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to winterize your fountain and ensure it remains a stunning centerpiece in your garden year after year.


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Key Takeaways

- Winterizing your outdoor fountain is essential for its longevity and protection against freezing cold temperatures.

- Proper preparation includes draining the water, cleaning debris, utilizing covers & absorbent materials and caring for accessories & supply lines.

- Restarting in spring requires cleaning, checking for damage, filling with distilled water and using enzyme products.

The Importance of Winterizing Your Outdoor Fountain

A concrete outdoor fountain with water flowing in the winter

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Overlooking the winterization of outdoor fountains could lead to significant damage. Fountains, such as tiered or concrete outdoor fountains, are exposed to the elements and can suffer damage when temperatures drop below freezing. Water expands as it freezes, causing small cracks to form in the fountain bowls and other components. Over time, these cracks can grow, leading to leaks and structural damage that may require expensive repairs.

When you winterize outdoor fountains, the structure remains protected from freezing temperatures, and future maintenance becomes easier. Proper winterization extends the lifespan of your outdoor water features, ensuring that they continue to bring beauty and serenity to your garden for many seasons to come.

Preparing Your Fountain for Winter

As colder weather approaches, it becomes necessary to ready your fountain for the chilly months to follow. This process involves several steps, including draining and turning off the fountain, cleaning and drying it thoroughly, and removing and storing the pump. By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your fountain stays in optimal condition and is ready to resume its mesmerizing display once warmer weather returns.

The subsections below explore each step in detail, offering a comprehensive guide to winterizing your outdoor fountains and safeguarding them against potential freeze-induced damage.

1. Draining and Turning Off the Fountain

Draining all the water from the bowls is the first step in winterizing your outdoor fountain. Turn off the fountain pump to complete the process. This is crucial because water left inside the fountain can freeze and expand, causing cracks and structural damage to the water feature. Some concrete outdoor fountains have a plug on the bottom that makes draining the water easy. If your fountain doesn’t have one, you can manually empty the basin using a bucket or a garden hose.

Upon draining the water, you should clean the tiered fountain, removing any grime or debris. This step ensures that all parts of the fountain are completely dry and ready for the cold weather ahead. A comprehensive clean-up can hinder the growth of algae and other microorganisms that can harm your fountain and complicate the restart process in spring.

2. Cleaning and Drying the Fountain

After draining your outdoor fountain, it’s time to give it a thorough cleaning. Start by removing any visible debris and muck from the concrete fountain. Use a brush, like the Konex Heavy-Duty Scrub Brush, which is designed to clean various surfaces without the need for abrasive cleaning supplies.

To clean the fountain bowls, follow these steps:

1. Mix hot water and mild dish soap.

2. Scrub the surfaces with a hard-bristled brush to remove any stubborn deposits, such as calcium and lime buildup.

3. Rinse the fountain with clean water, ensuring that all the lines are clear and ready for the cold temperatures.

4. If there is any remaining buildup, you can use a mixture of distilled white vinegar and baking soda to remove it.

Let the fountain dry entirely before proceeding. This is necessary as leftover moisture can freeze and inflict damage during the winter. If your fountain is made of materials that are prone to repelling water, such as copper fountains, you may need to allow extra time for the fountain to dry completely.

3. Removing and Storing the Pump

With your outdoor fountain clean and dry, it’s time to remove the pump. Here’s how:

1. Detach the pump from the water feature.

2. Clean both the interior and exterior surfaces of the pump with a dry and soft cloth.

3. Properly store the pump to safeguard it from freezing or sustaining damage during winter.

To properly store your fountain pump during the winter months, follow these steps:

1. Place the pump in a bucket of water.

2. Store it in a dry area where the water will not freeze.

3. Submerging the pump in water prevents the seals from drying out, ensuring that it remains in good working condition when it’s time to restart your fountain in the spring.

4. Using fountain enzyme products can also help maintain the cleanliness of the fountain and prevent mineral stains.

Protecting Your Fountain During Winter

Shop a fountain cover protecting a garden fountain from freezing temperatures

Now that your fountain is clean, dry, and the pump is stored safely, it’s time to protect your outdoor water feature from the harsh winter elements. Two popular methods for protecting your fountain during winter are using fountain covers and absorptive materials. These protective measures not only shield your fountain from freezing temperatures but also safeguard it from accumulating moisture that can lead to structural damage.

The subsections below highlight the benefits of using fountain covers and absorptive materials to maintain your fountain’s condition throughout winter.

Click to shop a fountain cover protecting a garden fountain from freezing temperatures.

Fountain Covers

Fountain covers, such as outdoor fountain covers, are specifically designed to protect outdoor fountains, including fountain fountains, from the elements. Made from robust, weatherproof materials, they shield your fountain from:

*  rain

*  snow

*  UV rays

*  debris

This prevents damage and keeps your fountain in top condition.

A waterproof, UV-stabilized cover with a drawstring is recommended for securing your fountain during winter months. These covers provide a layer of insulation that helps to preserve the fountain’s structural integrity while protecting it from moisture, freezing temperatures, and other environmental threats.

Using a properly sized and shaped cover for your fountain is important as it guarantees a snug fit and optimal protection. Whether you have a small tiered fountain or a larger concrete outdoor fountain, the right cover is a crucial investment for maintaining the beauty and longevity of outdoor water fountains.

Absorbent Materials

Absorbent materials, such as towels or fabrics, can be placed at the bottom of the fountain to prevent moisture buildup. These materials have small holes or pores that allow them to absorb and retain liquids when they come into contact with them. By placing absorptive materials at the bottom of your fountain, you can lock up any accumulated moisture, preventing it from freezing and causing damage to the water feature.

Various absorptive materials can be used, including cloth rags, shop towels, and specialized absorbents employed in different industries. Regardless of the specific material you choose, using absorptive materials in conjunction with a fountain cover provides an additional layer of protection for your fountain during the cold winter months.

Caring for Your Fountain's Accessories and Supply Lines

Aside from readying your fountain for winter, you should also winterize the accessories and supply lines that ensure the smooth operation of your outdoor water feature. Start by shutting off any auto-fill devices and disconnecting water supply lines. This ensures that no water remains in the lines, where it can freeze and cause damage.

Next, clean any debris from the supply lines and accessories. This helps to prevent blockages and ensures that your fountain will be ready to run again when spring arrives. Taking care of these components not only extends the life of your entire outdoor water feature but also helps it remain an attractive centerpiece in your garden for years.

Tips for Restarting Your Fountain in Spring

When warmer weather returns and it’s time to bring your fountain back to life, there are a few steps to take to ensure a smooth and successful restart. Begin by cleaning the fountain and checking for any damage that may have occurred during the winter months. Make sure all components, including the pump, are in working order.

Filling your fountain with distilled water is advised, as it can hinder mineral buildup and maintain the aesthetic appeal of your fountain. Additionally, consider using fountain enzyme products to maintain the cleanliness of the fountain and prevent unsightly stains from forming.

With your garden fountain cleaned, filled, and ready to go, simply activate the pump or switch and enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of your outdoor water feature once more.


In conclusion, winterizing your outdoor fountain is a vital task to ensure its longevity and maintain its beauty throughout the year. By following the steps outlined in this guide, including draining and turning off the fountain, cleaning and drying it, removing and storing the pump, and protecting it with covers and absorptive materials, you can safeguard your fountain against the harsh winter elements. As spring arrives, follow the tips provided for restarting your fountain, and enjoy the tranquil ambiance it brings to your outdoor space for many seasons to come.

Follow along as Garden Answer shows the proper steps to winterizing a fountain!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I winterize my fountain?

To winterize your fountain, drain the water from it and store away its pump in a warm and dry place. Additionally, cover the fountain with a fountain cover or tarp to keep out snow or moisture.

Can you leave water in a fountain in winter?

Freezing accumulated water in an uncovered fountain can damage your pump.

What is the purpose of winterizing an outdoor fountain?

Winterizing an outdoor fountain ensures it is well-protected from freezing temperatures and keeps it working longer.

What type of cover should I use to protect my fountain during winter?

A UV-stabilized waterproof cover with a drawstring is the best option to protect your fountain during winter.

How do absorptive materials protect my fountain during winter?

Absorptive materials placed at the bottom of the fountain can prevent moisture buildup and lock up any accumulated moisture, thus preventing it from freezing and protecting the fountain during winter. An easy tip is to lay dry towels.

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