With the gentle, relaxing sound of cascading water, your outdoor water feature provides you with a natural sanctuary from the everyday stresses of the world. There’s no denying the fact that most living creatures have a natural response to the sounds and look of moving water.
Now that we’re in the warmer months and temperatures are beginning to rise, the threat of mold growing inside and on your outdoor water fountain is very real.
That’s because mold naturally grows faster and easier in areas that are constantly moist and warm. Since outdoor water fountains typically get more than their fair share of direct sunlight, it’s often the perfect breeding ground for mold and algae.
If that happens, the sense of awe you experienced when the fountain was first installed could be replaced with a feeling of disgust.
How can mold grow on an outdoor fountain?
It’s true that mold and algae will grow faster in water that’s standing still. However, both can still grow in the bowl, base, and filtration system of your fountain. If left untreated, the algae and mold can literally take over your fountain and turn it into a big, slimy, and smelly mess.
What’s the difference between mold and algae?
While the two terms are often thought to mean the same thing, they are entirely different.
Algae is a naturally growing plant that appears “mossy.” While it looks repellent, algae will not eat away at your fountain or cause you harm.
Mold, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. If you or your guests ingest the water from your mold-infected fountain, you could experience a host of health problems, from an irritated throat and eyes, to asthma attacks and breathing problems.
How can I clean and maintain my outdoor water fountain?
There are several relatively easy ways to maintain your outdoor water fountain. The key is to make it part of your regular home maintenance schedule.
To clean your fountain of mold, you can mix together a mold-busting concoction made from several everyday items. This is not as difficult as you may think.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Rubber gloves
- One large sponge
- Dishwashing detergent
- A scrub brush, similar to what you would use on metal pots and pans
- A small container
- A large bucket
- A hose
Step 1: In the small container, mix warm water with a couple of drops of the dishwashing detergent. You should see suds gather in the water.
Step 2: Dip the scrub brush into the cleaning solution you just made, and scrub away all visible signs of the mold. Then, rinse the entire fountain with the hose.
Step 3: Pour a gallon of water into the large bucket with one (1) cup of bleach. Put on your rubber gloves and goggles, and add the sponge to the water-bleach mixture.
Step 4: After the sponge has been saturated, wipe down the whole water fountain structure. Then, let the bleach solution stay on the fountain for five (5) minutes so that all the remaining mold spores can be killed.
Step 5: Use the hose to rinse the fountain. Take your time with this step to ensure that all of the bleach solution is removed.
Step 6: Fill your fountain with fresh or even distilled water to work on the filtration system. Distilled water can be especially helpful as the impurities have already been removed.
How often should I clean my outdoor fountain?
This procedure should be repeated at least once every six (6) months to make sure mold and algae don’t gain a foothold on your fountain.
Does the installation impact the health of the fountain?
It sure does. Because the base of the fountain must have a tight seal, it’s recommended you hire a professional to do the job. One tiny, little crevice is more than enough room to let mold spores and algae in.
Today, most fountains are made with a sealant. However, this sealant tends to wear off over the course of time. If you have a stone fountain, you’ll probably need to replace the sealant once every 2-3 years. In most cases, a sealant rated for outdoor use will do the trick. Simply use a brush to apply the sealant over the entire fountain.
The key to doing this is to apply a thin layer with wide back-and-forth movements.
To learn more about water fountains and other water features, our team of creative landscaping professionals at Hidden Creek Landscaping are here to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.
If you’d like for us to go ahead and begin gathering information about your needs, check out our online Dream Builder page.