A fountain is a great water feature to have for your yard, but it can be frustrating when your water feature starts losing its water.
Fountains lose water for many reasons, the worst of which is a crack deep in the fountain’s foundation. However, many other causes are more common, such as plant overgrowth, small leaks, weather, and mistakes made in the fountain’s design. Many of these problems can be fixed easily.
Your fountain’s leaking problem might have any number of causes, and the water loss might be a result of a bunch of tiny issues all pilling up. Keep reading to learn all the little ways your fountain can be losing water (and how to fix it).
Leaks and Cracks
When you first noticed your fountain losing water, you likely thought cracks and leaks were the culprits. Don’t fear; there are plenty of other causes for water loss, and not all cracks go deep into the fountain’s foundation.
If you suspect that your fountain might have a crack, turn the fountain off and let it stand for twenty-four hours. After a day, if the water level has gone down more than an inch (due to evaporation), then you’ve got a leak on your hands.
Another way to check for cracks is by letting the fountain stand for a week (again, with the pump and nozzle off), and dry cracks will be easier to see, sometimes turning white on concrete fountains.
Now that you know there’s a leak, what to do? Well, the most tried-and-true method is to use a sealant. Sealants will make your fountain airtight, filling in all holes and cracks. You can use a sealant on the entire fountain, or you can just use a leak sealant on the offending spot. It’s up to you.
If the crack runs deeper, then the solution is a little bit harder than just spraying it with sealant. It might be time to call out a plumber or the person who installed the fountain to check all the pipes. It could’ve been a case of negligence on their part when they installed the fountain, which is annoying, but also might mean that you get paid back for all the trouble they caused.
Either way, they’ll be able to tell you what’s going on with your leaky fountain, and they will know how to fix it. If they don’t…then you deserve a refund.
While the whole point of a fountain can be to watch the water gush out of a beautiful piece of stonework, it’s important to remember that the fountain might be flinging the liquid out too far. When a fountain sprays water out of range of its pool, it’s called overspray.
Another variation of overspray is when a fountain shoots the water straight up, but when the water hits the surface again, it causes a splash that sends water out of the fountain.
Both of these issues are common problems, and they have a pretty simple solution. If you check your fountain manual, it should tell you where the knobs are to alter the height and/or width of the fountain spray. If you can’t find your fountain’s manual (that’s totally normal), here is a helpful guide on how to alter this:
Water Flow Issues
Fountains need water pumping through them at all times to elegantly spray water out at all times. But that means that things could be going wrong with your pump. Luckily for you, this solution is super simple.
If your fountain is definitely leaking, but you can’t find the crack, check the pump and tube. They might be attached incorrectly or it could be defective.
Water pumps can be deceptively simple-looking, so double and triple-check your fountain manual to make sure it’s all attached correctly. If they’re all attached fine, with no water coming out of the seam edges, there might be a hole in the tube.
If there is a hole in the pump’s tube, it’s probably time to get a new tube. The cost for new water fountain tubes ranges from around two to ten dollars, so this solution is simple and inexpensive.
Sometimes, the problem might lie with the pump, which isn’t as easy to replace. Pumps can be stuck inside the fountain, but here’s a step-by-step video that shows you how to replace a faulty pump:
This one is almost self-explanatory. The wind blows, and when the water splashes out of the fountain, the wind makes sure that it doesn’t fall back into the fountain’s water supply.
The best way to prevent an issue like this is to place your fountain nearer to your house, blocking the wind coming from that direction. However, this method isn’t foolproof, and wind comes from more than just one direction.
It’s impossible to control the weather. But the best way to keep from spending a million dollars on your water bill is to buy a fountain cover and turn the fountain off. This way, the water won’t be splashing up all day, and the wind can’t push it out of the fountain.
And then, when you have a yard party, you can just take the cover off and turn it back on. You still get all the benefits of a fountain without having to power it and pay for the water loss.
Where there is water, there is life. And where there is life, there is almost always plants. Every fountain is different, and every yard is different, but chances are, you likely have plants growing up and around your fountain.
Plants need water, just like everything else, so if any vegetation is growing on or around your fountain, they’re probably the reason the water is draining so quickly. Your fountain isn’t just a pretty decoration anymore; it’s quickly becoming a source of water for leafy weeds.
The solution is easy; cut back the plants. Pull the weeds out from around the cracks of your fountain, and prune back the plants that you want to keep. Just make sure that the leafy greens aren’t in contact with the water in any way, and your fountain should stop losing water so quickly.
Not surprisingly, evaporation is one of the most common reasons for water loss. No doubt you learned about evaporation, condensation, and precipitation in elementary school, and the same principles apply here. The water in the fountain is heated up by the sun and then hits 100 degrees Celsius before it evaporates into the air.
On average, fountains lose about 1 inch of water per week due to evaporation. That’s quite a bit of water, and this might be the reason your fountain seems to leak.
In order to fix this problem, you can either try to move your fountain to a more shady spot. However, not all fountains are created equal, this might not be possible. If your fountain is built into the ground and, therefore, immovable, then you can try to set up umbrellas near your fountain to block out the sun during the brightest part of the day.
If neither of those options is possible, just be sure to refill your fountain more often during the summer. There’s not really a great way to block out the sun entirely, especially since most fountains are outdoor water features.
The model of the fountain might be faulty. You haven’t done anything wrong, but not all fountain models are made and tested before they’re put on the market. This means that you might have bought a fountain model with some problems, and its design could be unable to keep a lot of water inside the fountain.
There are plenty of issues that can cause water loss, but the most common is low edges. Fountains with low edges might look like they can hold a lot of water, but the edge isn’t high enough to keep it all in, and it will spill out.
The best way to keep from wasting water is to notice where the water line is on your fountain and refrain from filling above that line. Otherwise, you might keep refilling it, only for it all to spill out, and it will start to look more like a waterfall than a fountain.
The material fountains are made of also alter how well they retain water. Some stones are better at keeping water in than others. Sometimes fountains will be made of porous stone, meaning that they are full of little holes that air and water can sometimes seep through. Fountains made from porous stone will absorb water into the cracks of their stone, so it will look like the fountain is losing water.
But if you already have the porous fountain in your yard, it’s a little late to take it back to the store. The best way to keep a porous fountain from absorbing all the water is by using a sealant. Sealants are made to keep the water from slipping through those tiny holes, and there are plenty of sealants made to use on concrete or terra cotta fountains (common porous fountains).
Here is a helpful website that explains how to use a sealant properly on your fountain: