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How to Winterize Water Features

Water Features | December 5, 2019

Whether you have a pond, a fountain, or a waterfall in your yard, knowing how to winterize water features can help ensure that you are able to continue enjoying your water feature regardless of the season. Different types of water features require different levels of care and, at Fontana Ponds & Water Features, we know many ways to maintain your water features in order to keep them healthy and safe year-round.

How to Winterize Different Types of Water Features

The process used to winterize a water feature will change depending on whether the water feature is a fountain, a pond, or a waterfall. Although smaller water features can be winterized with relative ease, it is important to call a professional if you have a larger water feature to ensure that your investment is safe. Some of the different ways to winterize water features include:

Winterizing a Fountain

Fountains are beautiful, versatile, and great for properties that need a water feature to be completely self-contained, but they can crack if left running through a cold winter. To winterize a water fountain, take the following steps:

  1. Unplug the fountain pump
  2. Drain the fountain of water (if possible)
  3. Remove the pump
  4. Cover the fountain with a fitted cover or tarp to keep water from getting into it

By draining the fountain, you can help to keep any pipes or water tubs in it from cracking from ice.

Winterizing a Waterfall or Stream

Because waterfalls and streams are typically incorporated into the landscape, they are more difficult to winterize than fountains. If you live in an area where it stays somewhat temperate throughout winter, it is better to leave these water features running year-round. If you take this route, keep an eye on the water feature on cold days to ensure that ice dams do not form.

If you live in an area that gets cold during winter, it is better to shut down your waterfall or stream. Unplug the pump and remove it to be stored in a bucket of water somewhere that will not allow it to freeze.

Winterizing a Pond

Ecosystem Ponds take more care than other types of water features to prepare them for winter. There are many different things that can be done to winterize your pond and the methods used should depend on the type of plant and animal life that your pond contains. Make sure that you discuss the best methods for your pond with a water feature expert. Some of the ways to get started on winterizing most ponds include:

  • Cutting back marginals to just below water level
  • Cutting back lilies to just above the rootstock
  • Cease all fertilization and remove leaves
  • Remove delicate plants like tropical lilies to winter indoors
  • Stop feeding fish once the water temperature reaches 12 degrees Celsius so that they can begin to hibernate
  • Keep a hole in any ice that forms to allow toxic gases to escape, or use pond deicer to keep the pond surface from freezing
  • Speak to a professional to decide if it is better to leave your pump running or shut it down, as this will vary from pond to pond

If you are interested in learning more about how to winterize water features, or if you would like to learn about our range of pond services and products, please connect with us by filling out a contact form on our website and we will get back to you, or call us at 778-990-9773.


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