How to Control the Splash of a Garden Fountain
The sound and sight of trickling and splashing water in a garden fountain and water feature drowns out other noises and instills a sense of refreshing coolness. Electric water pumps, either properly installed on dry land or submerged in water, pump and move water at varying rates and have a direct effect on the movement, force and splash of water in a fountain or pool. Pumps usually have a flow-control mechanism that adjust slightly to modify water flow to the gardener's desire. Each pump style, model and manufacturer varies in its capabilities and features, including adjusting flow rates.
Clean the fountain's hardware, such as any statuary and catch basins, with brushes and fresh rinsing water. Accumulation of algae, organic debris or dust and sand can modify the flow of water in a fountain. Wear rubber dishwashing gloves for better grip and traction when handling fountain materials.
Clean the pump and any conduits/piping. Unplug the pump with dry hands and use brushes or a garden hose with water to flush the pump equipment clean. This thorough cleaning beforehand lets you modify the fountain with the fewest factors potentially affecting the flow and splash of water in the system later.
Check to see if the fountain is level. Water always flows straight down, and if a basin, stature or other part of the fountain isn't properly aligned, it may contribute to awkward water flow and exacerbate the unwanted splashing.
Look at the pump body, especially the side or underside, searching for a lever or screw to change the pump's rate flow of water. Use a magnifying glass if needed to read any surface writing or to better view the lever. A screwdriver head or long handle may be needed to manipulate the flow-control mechanism on the pump.
Change the setting or valve tightness on the pump to increase or decrease flow based on what you believe causes the undesirable splashing in your fountain feature. Plug the pump in; note any water flow changes and see if the splashing issue subsides. If not, adjust the flow-control mechanism again to see if any water flow changes correct the splashing issue.
Install a different diameter pipe or conduit from the pump into the water feature if changing the flow control mechanism doesn't fix the undesirable splashing. The wider the pipe, the lower the water pressure and gentler the flow. Conversely, narrowing the pipe diameter leading away from the pump increases water flow and pressure.
- Fountain Finder: Fountain Pumps
- "The Practical Rock & Water Garden"; Peter Robinson; 2002
- If the splash in your fountain remains profound even after modifying the pump flow or piping diameter, it could be that the pump's size and capacity are too large or small for the amount of water and size of the fountain. Return the pump or purchase a new pump with a flow rate or speed more in line with the fountain, keeping in mind the amount of splash you're trying to eliminate.
- Understand the pump in your fountain. If it is a submersible pump (always underwater when working), do not run it when out of the water as it can burn out the motor or cause other damage. Do not place dry-mount pumps into water if they are not rated for such an environment. Electric pumps must be used in appropriate environments -- and, remember, moisture conducts electricity, so always be careful when working with them.
Jacob J. Wright became a full-time writer in 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. He has worked professionally at gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Wright holds a graduate diploma in environmental horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware.
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