Key Water Feature Maintenance Tips

Posted in Insights -

No matter how long a water feature has been owned or operated, it is imperative to review proper maintenance practices for these projects.

From the dead of winter to sweltering summer days to everything in between, smart water feature maintenance goes a long way toward protecting owners’ investment and keeping fountains clean, safe and in optimal condition. Maintaining these projects regularly also prevents equipment breakdowns that can be quite costly and time-consuming to repair.

As a design/build company that specializes in water features, artificial rockwork and themed environments, OTL also provides maintenance services for the water features we design and/or construct as well as those created by others. The custom plans and programs we offer are tailored to the long-term needs of each project.

Here are the maintenance practices we recommend for making sure water features remain beautiful and functional for years to come.

  1. Develop a schedule.

Even if an owner or operator knows their water feature like the back of their hand, having a schedule or system in place for routine maintenance practices ensures no important steps are skipped.

This schedule should take into account the weather and atmospheric conditions surrounding the fountain and how these conditions might impact the water feature’s components. For example, if it rains a lot where an outdoor water feature is located, parts should be checked more frequently for rust, leaks and other wear caused by moisture. Many of our fountains in cold climates have heaters in the system. For those fountains, a thorough inspection of the heating system should be done before the onset of freezing weather, and any repairs needed made or the fountain winterized before the first hard freeze of the season.

Scheduling maintenance helps circumvent potential issues so that stakeholders can continue to operate their water features worry-free. OTL manages maintenance scheduling for clients who use us for this service so that this critical process is kept up to date.

  1. Incorporate sustainability.

Maintaining fountains properly can help property owners and operators promote environmental stewardship. Utilizing a water feature maintenance provider who employs sustainability practices can advance stakeholders toward this goal.

One of the practices to which our maintenance team adheres is proactively heading off water leaks before they become a major concern, which prevents water waste and preserves a vital natural resource. In addition, checking the integrity of fountain basins, valves, jets, and other aspects of a fountain that touch water also helps reduce expenses, increasing NOI for stakeholders.

As electricity is by far the largest operating expense associated with water features, minimizing power consumption is another inherently “green” maintenance practice. OTL installs LED light fixtures rather than incandescent lights and uses variable frequency drives in our projects in order to dramatically diminish the cost of operating these water features. LED lights require much less frequent changing by maintenance personnel, increasing efficiency and benefiting the environment.

In a strategic maintenance program, the condition and operation of lights, pumps, filters, and other vital operating systems are inspected and any necessary repairs are recommended to the owner. Also, the schedule for light and fountain operation should be checked and periodically adjusted as required by changes in the temperature, daylight hours and use.

  1. Address technology.

Today’s show fountains are far more technologically advanced than they were even a decade ago. The new systems require periodic maintenance to ensure these water features continue to work as intended, enthralling audiences with magical displays and driving them back to experience the wonder time and again.

For example, the dynamic Illuvia fountain our team designed and constructed at EpicCentral, a 172-acre retail and attraction park in Grand Prairie, Texas, combines air-fired jets and robotic nozzles that shoot water 60 feet high with colorful lighting, engaging music, and large-scale projection moving images. This technological masterpiece, which soon will feature our patented Aquarius Interactive™ AI technology, attracts more than 30,000 guests per week to the venue. A robust maintenance schedule is in place to ensure this show fountain’s magnificent displays continue to run as planned.

Equipment that delivers effects such as fire, music, or AI should be tested at least every few months for optimal performance as part of a strategic maintenance plan. Features with fire will also require additional inspection for safety and operation, including the supervisor station and safety mechanisms, such as trip wires or sensors.

Regardless of a fountain’s size and scope, a systematic maintenance program goes a long way toward protecting stakeholders’ investment in that water feature. Developing a schedule, incorporating sustainability, and addressing technology are key components to that program, keeping water features attractive and in excellent working order far into the future.

For more information on OTL’s maintenance services and additional maintenance recommendations, click here.