The good news regarding the maintenance of a copper fountain, is that there is none. Copper will naturally oxidise and this layer of Verdi-Gris will actually prevent further degradation of the metal by forming a barrier against the action of the elements.
Verdi-Gris is the green build up you see on copper roofs and can take many decades to build up. We have had copper fountains outside now since 1999 and still only small tinges of green have appeared. This continued patination of the surface adds character and beauty the copper, which makes them all the more special as the years pass by.
I have been asked about pipes freezing and bursting in Winter. This is not a problem, as when the pump is turned off in the Winter months, the water simply drains back into the pond, leaving the pipes empty. If the pump is left on during a freeze then the water from the bottom of the reservoir (which should never freeze if deep enough) will keep the pipes clear. If in any doubt then turn the pump off and if you have a shallow reservoir or one above ground, remove and drain the pump during Winter to protect it.
Copper pipes are safe for domestic drinking water, as copper is not generally soluble in water. Take care when using chemical additives in a pond though, as these may dissolve the oxide build up of the copper, which is not environmentally friendly and are best avoided in ponds where wildlife & fish are likely to be. Advice should be sought from the producers of such additives, before using with a copper feature.
The following is an email received from email@example.com after an enquiry into the use of water treatments, suitable for copper water features.
Thank you for your email.
We would like to advise you that we offer a variety of water treatments that will not affect copper.
Water features can quickly become covered in unpleasant slime made up of fungus bacteria and algae, our Feature Clear treatment removes these problems leaving a clean and clear water feature. Please be aware that Feature Clear is harmful to plants. Please remove them before treating.
We would advise that once a treatment is diluted in the pond it is perfectly safe for domestic animals or wildlife to drink from the pond.
We trust this information is of assistance to you.
Customer Support Administrator"
This mail is sent via contact form on Interpet | The leaders in Aquatic and Pet Products www.interpet.co.uk
Our own pond is a wildlife pond and has a copper feature in the centre, as you might expect. We never use chemicals in the water and the frogs and pond life have been perfectly happy for many years. Try to keep the water sweet by introducing oxygenating plants into a pond. These don't have to be huge things and can even be floating plants so you don't even have to provide any soil, just throw them in. It's always better to try and work with nature and create a balance, than to stress too much about keeping everything pristine, it is a garden after all.
For further advice on keeping fish in ponds with a copper water feature, you should seek professional guidance from a fish specialist.
Metallic Garden accepts no responsibility if these guidelines are not followed.
Even the cleanest of ponds or pebble pools will require the pump to be cleaned periodically. How often this is, depends on how much water is circulated, how clean the water is and the size of the filter. You will notice that there is a drop off in flow when the filter becomes really blocked, so look out for this and attend to it when it happens or check it at regular intervals to avoid flow restriction.
Most pumps have an integral flow adjuster to restrict the flow of water as desired, but an in-line one can be fitted in the supply pipe, if this is not the case. This is simply a plastic tap, which the pipe joins to at either end.
Modern pond pumps do last a very long time, but even the best of them wear out eventually. Some of the better ones have spare parts and repair kits available, so you can replace the components that wear out.
If your pump is not repairable and replacement is necessary, then ensuring that it is easily accessible and that the cable is buried in conduit when initially installing it, will make for much easier replacement later on.
When installing a pump, all electrical work should be carried out by a competent electrician.