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Solar Powered Fountains Buyer Guide

by Chris - January 5th, 2011.
Filed under: Solar Products. Tagged as: , , , , .

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There has been a huge explosion of inexpensive solar powered fountains and solar powered bird baths on the market over the last couple years. Just like any popular, new electronic device, there is some great value to be had and also a large population of crap. This article is intended to help people separate the crap from the value when looking to buy a solar powered fountain.



The advantage of a solar powered fountain or solar powered birdbath is that the water is kept moving and is less likely to turn green from algae. Also, birds do seem to prefer moving water to stationary water. Solar powered fountains generally come as complete units, so you don’t have to worry about properly sizing the solar panel to the solar powered pump and to the batteries like you do with a solar powered pump kit.


Technical Complexity

Fountains Solar Powered

Solar Powered Fountain - Photo by 1010uk


Solar powered fountains come in just as many shapes and sizes as non-solar powered fountains. When looking at solar powered fountains, be sure to clearly identify why you want it. Are you looking for a solar powered fountain to float in your pond and look pretty? Do you want a solar powered bird fountain? Do you want to a solar powered fountain to sit on your deck and emit that pleasant burbling sound?



The point here is that once you identify the purpose of your solar powered fountain, you can start looking at the least technically complex solar powered fountain that will fit your purpose. The rule of thumb is to pick a solar powered fountain that has the least number of parts.



This is why I like the solar powered fountains that are sold as a single unit, with no cords, and the solar panel is built right into the bottom of the water pool. Smaller units that are too small to hold the solar panel usually have an external panel with a cord that plugs into the solar powered fountain. Be sure to keep this in mind so that you’re not unpleasantly surprised by it. If you can’t see the solar panel in the product photo, then it most likely has an external solar panel.



If you have basic electrical training or know someone who does, you don’t necessarily need to stick to this rule. In this case, you may even want to get a solar powered fountain that has more parts so that you can tweak it to your hearts desire. You may even want to get a solar powered pump to convert an existing fountain.


Warranties

Just like most other electronic devices, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the warranty. The length of a products warranty is a clear statement by the manufacturer about how confident they are that their product won’t break. Go with a manufacturer that is willing to put their money where their mouth is.








One thing to check before purchasing a solar powered fountain is what the warranty says about dry running. If you solar powered fountain runs out of water, the pump will still run when the sun is shining. The solar powered pump in your fountain should be capable of dry running without damage. If it does get damaged, it should be replaceable. Read the warranty details before purchasing the product. If the warranty is not available online, then that is a huge red flag that the manufacturer is not willing to back up their product.



One final note on solar powered fountains and their warranties: install the solar powered fountain as soon as you can. Most warranties for these items only last 30 or 60 days. You want to get as many hours of run-time in on your solar powered fountain as you can before the warranty period expires. All electronic products, solar powered fountains included, are statistically much more likely to break within their first month than within the following 12 months.







2 Responses to Solar Powered Fountains Buyer Guide

  1. Great post. Will try some of these things out

  2. Yes, finally someone that shares identical thoughts and ideas on this topic as myself. Good stuff. Love your blog.

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