How do I Protect Outdoor Water Fountains During a Freeze?

Written by gryphon adams
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How do I Protect Outdoor Water Fountains During a Freeze?
Add a fountain heater or remove the pump for winter protection. (Fontaine gelée 02 image by Jacky Levisse from

Freezing weather may damage and even destroy outdoor features, including water fountains. Amy Jo Detweiler, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension, suggests bringing the fountain indoors for the winter. If it isn't feasible to put the fountain indoors, she recommends insulating it. In the same way most gardeners develop strategies to protect treasured outdoor plants, create a method for protecting an outdoor fountain with the right pointers and supplies. Careful wrapping will help protect a fountain through a freeze.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Burlap, blanket or thick towels
  • Rope or cord
  • Heavy-duty plastic
  • 2 pieces of wood, if needed

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  1. 1

    Drain the fountain completely before the freeze. Take out the rubber stopper and drainpipe, if the fountain basin has one, and keep them indoors for the winter.

  2. 2

    Remove the fountain pump. Grasp the pump housing firmly and pull out the tubes. Bring the fountain head or the tube that extends from the top of the pump inside as well.

  3. 3

    Turn the fountain upside down onto the burlap. Inverting the fountain prevents water from collecting in the fountain's basin and reduces the risk of cracking. If it isn't possible to invert the fountain, place two pieces of wood, such as 2-by-4s, under the fountain to keep it from freezing to the ground, if it's possible to lift the fountain.

  4. 4

    Cover the fountain fully with burlap, towels or blankets to insulate it.

  5. 5

    Cover the burlap-covered fountain with plastic or a waterproof tarp. Tie the tarp on securely with rope or cord to help prevent water from seeping in.

  6. 6

    Check the fountain during the winter to assure that the covering remains watertight.

Tips and warnings

  • Soak the pump in white vinegar overnight to remove hard water deposits before storing it.
  • Some companies that carry fountain supplies offer fountain covers designed for winter insulation.
  • Keeping the fountain dry helps to prevent cracking.
  • If the fountain has a removable statue, store it indoors.
  • Tie the plastic on tightly and use double knots to reduce the risk of children untying the plastic.
  • Do not allow children to play with plastic sheeting due to suffocation risk.

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