After you are done enjoying your outdoor water fountain throughout the warm months, it will need to be winterized. Although you don't have to do it the minute summer ends, you do have to make sure it is done before that unexpected early freeze sneaks up on you. As long as you are diligent about doing this every year, your fountain has the potential to last a very long time.
Drain and Clean
All of the water needs to be drained from the fountain, after you unplug it. A small fountain can simply be dumped over, but you may need a pail to scoop water from a large fountain, or you can create a siphon with a hose.
Clean the fountain as you normally would. You may need to use a special cleaner if there is any algae present. Make sure you do not use abrasive cleaning tools. Rinse the fountain thoroughly and drain again.
Dry, Dry, Dry
Making sure the fountain is dry for storage cannot be stressed enough. Ideally, you will clean the fountain early on a very sunny day, so the sun has the opportunity to dry it. Otherwise, you will want to towel dry over-and-over a few times, just to make sure water doesn’t leak out of crevices and linger in the basin.
Store the Pump
The pump will not be stored in the fountain. You will need to thoroughly clean this as well. You may need to use an old toothbrush to get all the slime in those hard-to-reach places. You can simply store the pump in your home, but it is recommended to keep it submerged in a small pail of clean water. This will keep seals and lubricated components from drying out.
If your fountain is light enough to move, and if you have a basement, garage or shed to store it in, this is perfect. However, you still need to protect it with a fountain cover. If your fountain is large and heavy, and will be remaining in its permanent location, it is crucial that you buy a quality cover. It needs to be weatherproof and you should be able to pull it tight at the bottom. Before you put the cover on the fountain for the winter, place burlap bags in the basin of it, just in case moisture manages to get inside. The burlap will absorb it.