How Do You Remove Mold from an Outdoor Fountain?

stone fountainWith 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
  • Goggles
  • One large sponge
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • A scrub brush, similar to what you would use on metal pots and pans
  • Bleach
  • 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.

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Landscape Water Features

Landscape water features give you a natural sanctuary providing a respite from the stresses of the day right inside your own backyard. There is a richness and diversity that water features produce as both people and nature respond to the refreshing and soothing qualities of moving water.

Whether it is a water fountain nestled among your flowers, a pool waterfall with underwater lighting as a focal point, a pond stocked with exotic fish, a stone waterfall, or spillways that feed into a meandering stream, we have ideas and tips for creating, planning and installing water features that cater to your specific desires.

 

Water has a Healing Effect

Landscape Water Features

Why install a water feature? Well, listening to the sounds of flowing or trickling water, studies have shown, ranks among the same beneficial effects we glean from sleep or massage for their restorative, stress-relieving powers. Water features help relax mind, body and spirit. There are all manners of stone and pool waterfalls, stream designs, koi ponds, fountains and more from which to select your own personal landscape water features.

 

Our Recommendations

The options for backyard water features in Ohio are endless whether you are dealing with limited space or have a large spread of land. We specialize in scaling landscaping projects to add beautiful tranquility to your outdoor living space. Not sure what type of water feature you are looking for to enhance your lawn and garden? Here is our comparison of a few common types to give you a better understanding of will work for you in your garden:

Pools

For one of the most classic water features, it is hard to beat the allure of a pool. This will take a substantial initial investment, but will be a great source of entertainment and beauty for years to come. You can even spice them up with fountains or waterfalls for a natural, relaxing feature. 

Pros:

  • Great source of entertainment for all ages
  • Flexibility – the pool can be whatever size/shape/style you need it to be
  • Increases the value of your home
  • Able to be heated to use for longer time period during the year
  • Great way to exercise

Cons:

  • Requires maintenance to keep the water clean and free of the accumulation of sticks, dirt, algae, etc.
  • Initial excavation may require substantial digging and investment
  • Not able to use all throughout the year
  • May increase your insurance costs

 

Container Ponds

If your available space is limited, a container pond is an impermanent and convenient alternative to an in-ground pool. You can convert just about any container into a container pond from glazed pots to a half-cut wine barrel to concrete bowls, all of which can be of any size. Whether the diameter is the same from top to bottom or the bowl is tapered, they typically have a wide opening, but even a 3-foot diameter allows enough space inside to add fish, aquatic grass, water lilies or other suitable plants for the perfect aesthetic touch. You can use a convenient plant support ring, which is a simple wire rack with openings that hold the plants in their containers just beneath the water’s surface. Now you are dealing with the equivalent of a fish tank to which you can add pumps and filters to keep the water clean and circulating.

Pros:

Landscape Water Features

  • No need for digging or excavation
  • Excellent choice for small spaces
  • Container ponds are available as kits
  • An inexpensive way to “get your feet wet” in the world of landscaping water features. Start with something small and graduate to bigger projects

Cons:

  • You may need to seal your container to prevent leakage
  • The deeper the container, the more difficult it can be to keep clean
  • You need to be cautious of the drowning risk posed when small children present

 

Wall Fountain

Wall fountains provide another alternative when space is an issue. These vertical water features offer the unexpected treat of a water aesthetic within the confines of compact spaces. They typically have a basin to catch and circulate the water with some wall fountains spilling directly into a container pond. Wall fountains use a pump requiring tubing or pipes that are invisibly set behind the fountain.

Pros:

  • Prime for small spaces
  • Can be uniquely designed and installed
  • Available as easy-to-assemble kits that are simple plug-in units
  • Different sizes and shapes available

Cons:

  • Fountain flow is not adjustable without an adjustable valve
  • Cost comparison between a kit and designing your own wall fountain is negligible
  • Can increase humidity in the air

 

Streams

For your larger property, man-made streams present a way to incorporate natural pools and waterfalls while offering a feature that may sidle up to a walkway, providing a tranquil path for all who traverse the landscape.

Pros:

  • Lends to a more natural, informal design
  • Adapts well to existing water features or to expand upon what you may already have in place
  • Conducive to decorative plants, grasses and river rocks for a natural aesthetic

Cons:

  • Streams require a pump system and plumbing to route the flow of water from the pond or pool destination back to the start of the stream
  • Longer streams just look better, which can involve a significant amount of digging
  • The initial build can be costly
  • Requires significant maintenance for the size and organic matter that can accumulate

 

Whatever landscape water features that you select, you should always install a pump to keep the water circulating. This helps detract still-water insects such as mosquitoes and wasps. If you do add fish and plants, make sure your pumps, filters and cleaners are up to the task. Anytime you install an outdoor landscape water feature that includes fish, expect to see other interested creatures appear on the scene such as frogs, raccoons and herons.

The pleasurable effects of landscape water features enhance the overall experience of your garden, whether enjoying a backyard party, a barbecue get-together or simply a private break all by yourself. You can make your yard a sanctuary, and the investment not only offers a calming presence at home, but it contributes to your property value as well.

If you are interested in learning more about custom landscape water features or how to winterize your existing features, our expert team of creative landscaping professionals can provide insight and in-depth knowledge of the many types of feature designs as well as the local Ohio terrain and trends. Contact us today to discuss your dream landscape and how we can bring your plans to fruition!

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