Design of Pumps rooms in an architectural fountains

Continuing with our description of the components of architectural fountains that started in the first part of this section, we now turn to pump chambers or rooms, essential items in the design and installation of any water feature fountain.

3.-Pumps Rooms. A pump room is required when water pumps are the 'dry-well' type, i.e., they are not submergible. The size of the pump room depends on the size and number of jets to be fed. It should preferably be located in a place 'hidden' from the main visual feature and with an access route discreetly matching the surroundings.Read More

Other general requirements for such pump rooms are:

  1. It should be placed as close as possible to the water feed to reduce initial building and installation costs and to minimize annual power costs of pumping water.
  2. It should have sufficient room to allow for maintenance and repair work.
  3. It should be waterproofed to prevent possible leaks through the roof, walls or floor.
  4. It should be fitted with a drain system to prevent the equipment from being flooded in the event of the seals breaking on the water pumps, etc.
  5. It should have suitable air circulation to allow for motor venting and to prevent the build-up of ambient humidity inside the room.
  6. It should have electrical switchboards and apparatus of sufficient capacity and with proper sheathing to prevent any electrical hazards.
  7. The room should be suitably protected to prevent unauthorized access.
  8. When feasible depending on current market conditions, the use of submergible pumps requires a smaller total initial outlay and avoids the need to build a pump room, as they can be fitted inside the water tank. In any case, they should meet the technical regulations in force to obtain the relevant operating permit for the installation.

4.- Water feed to the architectural fountain.

Our recommendation is for a permanent installation to be made with a water feed pipe connected to the local water board main, a well or some other stable source. Feed water can be adjusted by using a level control device on the feature fountain water tank that works automatically to offset any loss of water as a result of evaporation, accidental loss or high winds.

5.- Water discharge in the water feature fountain.

The water discharge system generally comprises:

  1. Pumping equipment: In future installments of this blog we shall look in greater detail at how to choose and operate water pumps.
  2. Inlet or suction piping.
  3. Discharge or outlet piping.
  4. Piping circuits with nozzles: this area calls for a study of the Hydraulics of the pressure piping system. It shall be dealt with in detail in future posts on this blog. We shall look specifically at calculating the hydraulics of an architectural fountain with the aid of Electronic Spreadsheets (for instance, Excel, OpenOffice, etc.)
  5. Valve gear.
  6. Control and shut-off valves.
  7. Wall penetrations, piping brackets, etc.

6.- Water treatment in an architectural fountain.

The water used in an architectural fountain, which generally has a pond with a surface open to the atmosphere, collects fine particles of dust, tree leaves and other mineral and organic matter carried by the wind or other agents. Therefore, various living organisms develop in the water (algae, small water plants, etc.) which contribute to degrading the organoleptic properties of the water. Thus, over time, the water becomes cloudy and may even give off an unpleasant odor. Changes in water pH as a result of such pollutants make it more corrosive for metal piping, pumps, etc

To avoid having to replace the water too often in fairly large architectural fountains, it is usually filtered and treated using physical and/or chemical processes, which serve as algaecides and provide pH control, to reduce the concentration of suspended solids. There are various devices available on the market specially designed for treating architectural fountain water. Choosing the right one depends on the quality of the inlet water (type and ion concentration) and surrounding environmental conditions. Normally, they include filters to remove suspended solids and a biological treatment (because of the microorganisms in the water) as well as chemical feed devices

Installing silica sand or diatom filters in architectural fountains similar to those used in swimming pools, as well as skimmers, bottom drains, etc., is generally recommendable. These measures ensure the water and bottom of the fountain can be kept clean at all times, given that part of standard fountain maintenance work includes cleaning filters and sweeping or vacuuming particles and debris on the bottom. The installation of a skimmer keeps the surface of the water clean at all times, thereby preventing blockage of the overflows, nozzles, … etc.

Architectural Fountain with filtering system Sample of filtering system

A further option to keep the water surface clean is to build a small wall around the entire perimeter and fit it with a stainless steel perforated grille on the other side of the wall. The water runs over the wall carrying the particles floating on its surface, which are then trapped by the stainless steel grille and can be collected from outside the fountain.

On top of all that, an automatic system to control the pH and to add chlorine to the water can be installed to avoid any possible poisoning should a child fall into the pond, as well as preventing foul odor and ensuring the water appears clean and transparent even when the fountain is not in operation.

In the following Post of this Blog we´ll continue talking about the components of architectural fountains such as nozzles, cascade jets, water mirros and much more .