Dealing with Odors in Outdoor Fountains

June 22, 2017

If your indoor fountain had an unpleasant smell chances are pretty good that you would notice it right away. Water features that are kept outside or outdoor fountains can often get quite out of hand before you notice a smell. Unfortunately, by this time the odor is probably a little more than just unpleasant. These pieces of beneficial art should be relaxing and promote a serene environment, but if there is an odor you probably have no desire to even be near it.

Malmo Glazed Urn Garden Fountain - Tall

Malmo Glazed Urn Garden Fountain - Tall

What Causes the Smell?

In most cases, an unpleasant odor is due to anaerobic bacteria, algae, and decaying matter. Quite often, these can be blamed on stagnant water. Many people feel as though they are saving energy, or doing the pump a favor by turning it off when it is not being used. This is the biggest mistake you can make. When a pump is turned off, the water sits still, which creates a very welcoming environment for algae and bacteria. Water that is constantly moving stays significantly cleaner.

Plus, if you turn your fountain off and then turn it on when you are ready to enjoy it the pump has to work much harder. Not to mention, it is more difficult for the pump to even work when the water is filled with large particles, such as clumps of algae.

Keep the Fountain Clean

Keeping your water fountain clean goes far beyond cleaning it out once in a while. It needs to be checked often for debris, and these elements need to be removed. You may not think those twigs, leaves, feathers, etc., are a big deal, but as they decay they pollute the water.

Make a point to clean your outdoor fountains regularly. Do not wait until the odor is so bad you are forced to cancel your afternoon barbecue. Do make sure that you scrub the pump clean, as well. If you lose power and the water sits stagnant for a couple days, empty the water and clean it, rather than allowing it to resume operation. Do also make sure you add water regularly to make up for evaporation. You will need to do this more often in the hotter months.

Use a Fountain Treatment

Aside from never allowing the water to become stagnant, the second most beneficial thing you can do is use a water treatment. These products prevent scale caused by tap water and help to prevent and kill algae and bacteria, thereby getting rid of the odor, too. A little goes a long way, so follow the manufacturer's recommendations. You will also need to add a few drops weekly, as you add extra water. If you are worried about birds and other wildlife being adversely affected by harsh chemicals, use one that is safe around pets and wildlife. Fountec is a recommended product.