Why Water Feature Maintenance is Critical Right Now
Posted in OTL Newsletter, Maintenance -
While commercial real estate strategy may have changed appreciably over the last couple of years, one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of protecting one’s investment. This is especially relevant as it applies to water feature maintenance for stakeholders who have implemented these amenities at their properties.
Shifting occupancy levels and ongoing economic flux cannot deter property owners from taking excellent care of their water features. Time and again, these amenities have proven to enhance the value of commercial properties while offering a host of additional benefits to landlords, investors, and tenants. As property owners recognize the importance of properly maintaining their water features, OTL is increasingly providing maintenance services for the projects we design and/or build (and for many that we don’t).
While it might be tempting to let fountain maintenance lapse in the face of current economic challenges, here are a few compelling reasons why it’s vital to continue regular maintenance by water feature professionals, especially as we head into the cooler months.
- Winterization ensures that fountain equipment and materials remain in good condition.
As not all water features are meant to operate year-round, often fountains in geographical areas with four distinct seasons must be winterized to keep them operating at their best throughout the year.
Winterization requires draining the fountain and its plumbing, using special equipment to remove moisture from pipes, allowing accumulated water to drain by opening drain values and plugs on pumps and strainers, and installing plugs in drain sumps to ensure that rain and snow remain outside the pipes during colder weather.
It’s also essential to have the fountain and all its equipment and systems inspected visually by a water feature professional at least once a week during the winter in addition to after a change in weather conditions to prevent costly damage.
Note that heaters, heat exchangers, and heat-trace—which utilizes electricity and insulation to maintain or increase the temperature of pipes or other vessels, replacing any heat lost to outside temperatures—can be used to keep water features operating year-round, preventing down time on these amenities for property owners. A plumber who is qualified to work with water features should inspect this heating equipment before it is used for the first time each year.
- Maintenance includes servicing water feature technology that can prevent operating interruptions.
Today’s fountain controls utilize technology that can detect leaks and potential malfunctions before they limit use of the water feature or cause more serious operating issues. Maintaining and servicing these controls is becoming an integral part of water feature maintenance.
Most pool and spa cleaning service people are not educated enough in today’s advanced technology and a dedicated water feature professional is required. In fact, OTL is growing increasingly involved in larger, technologically sophisticated projects with specialty controls like the Nancy Best interactive show fountain we recently constructed at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas; Station Park in Farmington, Utah; The Village at Meridian in Meridian, Idaho; Grand Park in Los Angeles, California; Legacy West in Plano, Texas; Texas Live! in Arlington, Texas; and many more. As such, we have been called upon to maintain these water features, along with others on site.
As stakeholders depend upon these amenities to attract and entertain visitors, it is imperative that the sound, motion, lighting, and music technology—and every part of the fountain—are functioning safely and optimally, particularly when guests are present. Hiring a skilled technician to ensure controls are maintained and functioning properly can reduce or eliminate fountain down time and provide peace of mind for property owners and operators.
- Regular fountain maintenance can save property owners serious money.
Putting off scheduled maintenance on any large investment can result in expensive repairs or replacement, and water features are no different.
As these amenities grow increasingly complex, the cost to restore or replace damaged equipment or components rises. In addition, during the current supply chain issues, it may take months to get replacements for parts that are allowed to fail, making preventive maintenance especially beneficial right now. Given the challenges many commercial property owners are facing, the ability to circumvent capital expenses due to deferred maintenance is key, which makes adhering to a regular maintenance schedule crucial.
Water feature professionals like OTL with deep expertise in all types of fountains can customize a maintenance schedule and budget for every stakeholder that will boost the bottom line and keep their water feature clean, beautiful, and operational for the long run.