Most outdoor fountains are made to withstand harsh elements, but precautions should be taken to ensure that water does not freeze in your fountain and cause it to crack, or damage your pump during the cold winter months. Depending on your zone* precautions may vary. Concrete and cast stone fountains in particular are vulnerable to cracking in the winter if care is not taken to prevent it.
Prior to the first freeze of the season, drain your fountain completely.
Remove the pump and bring it indoors if possible. This is a great time to clean your pump, removing any algae, pet dander, or other debris that may have accumulated over time. It is common to have fall leaves in your fountain - be sure to get these out. Submersible pumps can be stored in a bucket filled with water in a warm indoor area so that the seals and gaskets do not dry out.
You may wish to purchase a fountain cover, or cover your fountain with a tarp or other protective material, which can help keep moisture from accumulating. Fill the basin of the fountain with an absorbent material such as burlap or blankets to absorb any condensation that can accumulate and freeze during the winter season.
At the very least, turn the bowl(s) of your fountain upside down
Need to winterize your pond, also? Try one of our Pond Heaters.
These tips will help to ensure that your outdoor fountain lasts for many years to come. Many concrete and cast stone fountains will develop tiny hairline cracks over time after exposure to the elements; these cracks are completely natural and will not effect the functionality of your fountain.
*The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) zone system is based on minimum winter temperatures. This system consists of zones 1-11, zone 1 having the coldest winter temperatures and zone 11 having the warmest.