Whether you have them inside or outside, water fountains are fantastic decorations that add an elegant flare to your home. However, all the little things you need to add to your fountain to make it work right can seem to add up so fast.
Fountains have splash guards in order to conserve water. Keeping water in the fountain’s system helps prevent the fountain’s pump from overheating and wearing out. It also helps reduce the amount of money or effort that they fountain’s owner needs to spend on replacing its water supply.
Splash guards are the rare object that produces both ecological and financial benefits for the people who use them. Conserving water is a valuable aim that can only be good for people. Can the water fountain splash guard do any wrong?
Why Splashing is Bad
This all has to do with the mechanics of how a water fountain works. There are three essential components for any water fountain: Water, gravity, and a pump.
The pump works by quickly spinning an impeller in order to bring water into its chamber. Then, the pressure difference between the air outside the fountain and that chamber pushes the water out through the top of the fountain.
Gravity then pulls the water back down into the pool at the base of the fountain. As long as this pool is deep enough, the pump will continually recycle this water. This is true for any fountain no matter its size.
As a side note, the importance of gravity and pressure on the fountain’s mechanism would present quite the challenge if you were to try and build a fountain on the moon and make it virtually impossible to have one in space.
It’s also the reason that conserving the water that’s already in the system is critical for the fountain’s function. The lower the water level in the pool is, the harder the fountain has to work to do its job.
This is where things like splash guards come in. By preventing the water from splashing out of the fountain, they also help the fountain maintain its ideal water level.
Indoors, splash guards can be even more critical. Indoor fountains can be messy if they aren’t already built to avoid splashing. Even if they are built specifically to not splash, changes in the fountain’s settings or environment can easily negate its original intentions.
Splash guards are a great way to prevent the fountain from becoming a nuisance to people trying to live or work in buildings with fountains in them. Having a fountain constantly splashing water everywhere is not only messy, but also a safety hazard on hard floors.
And as dangerous as frequent splashes can be hard on floors, they can be even worse on carpet. Ugh. Fountain on carpet. I’m already mad just thinking about it.
Having your carpet consistently made wet by a splashy fountain is a great way to end up with a moldy decaying carpet. Disgusting.
How Do Splash Guards Work?
There are two really effective ways to stop a fountain from splashing. The first is to increase the size of its basin, the second is to use a splash guard. Splash guards catch water using a screen that will let water in if it’s falling, but is the right kind of material to stop the water on its way back out.
This is the most useful for fountains that produce a few concentrated streams that splash a lot, as well as small waterfalls.
They’re more likely to be used in indoor fountains than outdoor for this reason, especially since outdoor fountains usually don’t have trouble finding the extra space for a large basin the same way that indoor fountains do.
Hiding Your Splash Guard
Splash guards are super cool little devices, but they aren’t exactly the best at blending with fountains aesthetically. This means that one of the design challenges that come with designing a fountain to use a splash guard can be designing the fountain so that the splash guard is invisible.
Potted plants can do a good job of this, although depending on their size they might accidentally end up hiding the whole fountain. My favorite aesthetic is to hide the splash guard behind a pile of smooth stones. It looks natural and it doesn’t obscure too much.
Maybe you’d rather camouflage your splash guard. They mostly only come in white, so you already know what color you’ll be needing. You can fill the basin of your fountain with white stones, which should make the guard hard to spot amid the crowd.
What About Drinking Fountains?
Maybe you clicked on this article with a question about drinking fountains. In much of the western United States the terms drinking fountain and water fountain are interchangeable after all.
Well, the splash guards on drinking fountains are actually a totally different story. Drinking fountains account for a certain amount of their water to be lost to people, you know, drinking out of them, which means that while they do use the same principles to function as a normal fountain they don’t need too worry so much about losing water.
No, the splash guards on drinking fountains are primarily there for public health purposes. As disgusting as it is to think of, without the little splash guard on the fountain saliva can easily get onto it. Even with the splash guard a lot of fountains are actually still super unsanitary.
But the real problem is that without the splash guard a lot of people end up putting their entire mouth over the spout, which is just about the least sanitary way to use a drinking fountain. This can make water fountains a scarily powerful disease vector.
The guard was added to prevent people from doing this and other unsanitary things to the poor drinking fountains of the wold that never really did anything to deserve such a horrifying fate.
If you’re paranoid about drinking fountains, you can usually deal with the worst of the germs on them just by running them for a few seconds before you drink out of them.