7.-Draining water from architectural fountains. In most cases, a water drainage system comprises the overflow, bottom drain plug, wall penetrations and a drain network:Read More
- - Overflow: The overflow is a way of removing excess water that reaches the architectural fountain as a result of rain, faulty operating, etc. in order to prevent overspill as far as possible and to keep a sufficient level of water in the pond for certain nozzles to work properly. There exist overflows whose height can be adjusted to enable them to adapt to the different needs of each architectural fountain basin.
- - Bottom drain plug with grille: the purpose of this is to be able to empty the water from the architectural fountain. The speed with which water can be emptied will be faster or slower depending on the number of bottom plugs installed and their diameter.
- - Wall penetrations: these are necessary to enable the water inlet piping to the architectural fountain to cross safely and tightly through the walls of the basin.
- - Drain network: this is the series of pipes that transport the water from the overflows and bottom plugs.
8.-Electricity supply and control in water fountains. In most cases, the system comprises: power supply, electrical control switchboards, wiring, underwater connectors, waterlight junction box, etc. Electrical control panels or switchboards must meet the installation’s safety requirements for humans and machinery, as well as ensuring operating reliability and enabling the water pumps, lighting system, etc. to be switched on and off.
9.-Technological parts to create water features. The technological parts that define the features of a water fountain are:
- Jet and fan nozzles: generally these nozzles are defined according to the effect they produce in the water jet: crystalline fountain jets, frothy water jets, spray or spherical-shaped. Given the large number of nozzles that exist on the market, this subject will be dealt with in greater detail in future posts on this blog.
- Cascade Jets: waterfalls used in water fountains can be of various types, from free falling cascades in which the appearance is of a wall of water; either continuous or artificially created using jets that are placed close to each other. The water falls cleanly from a certain height so that the water spills onto and between natural or artificial stones, etc.
- Surface channels: in Arabian style fountains, it is common to find water channels connecting two or more points of the fountain, thereby enhancing its three-dimensionality. These channels can be built on site or prefabricated and fitted to the fountain. Interesting water effects can be obtained if channels with varying slopes are combined to create water jumps (relatively sudden variations in the depth of the water circuit) and also by varying cross-section width with steep slopes in the water depth. Analyzing these channels is certainly more complicated than for pressure piping, given the uncertainty of the position of the water surface, but that can be solved by calculation.
- Water mirror: the visible surface of water in a basin is a simple example of a water mirror. The use of water mirrors enables the fountain to maintain part of its charm even when the nozzle system is not in operation.
Jet and fan nozzles can be fitted to piping as ‘rigid’ units, with swivel joints or on ‘flexible’ brackets. The latter are accompanied by a type of actuator that uses pneumatic control or underwater electric motors to produce oscillating movements of the nozzle. Computer controlled water supply to the nozzles, actuators and the lighting enables spectacular moving water features with coordinated color designs and music to be created.
10.-Architectural fountain lighting.The lighting system of an architectural fountain generally comprises the following:
- Lights (underwater fountain lights with incandescent or LED bulbs).
- Color filters.
- Light and filter fastening systems.
The latest generation of exterior and underwater lighting systems in architectural water features use LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes), “optic fiber” and laser beams.
The advantages of LED lighting are listed below:
- They produce more light per Watt of electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- They can emit a colored light without using color filters.
- They can be very small, in some cases less than 2 mm.
- Their response time is very short – they reach maximum power in 62 µs and, in some cases, can be even quicker.
- They produce less heat than filament bulbs and therefore provide significant energy savings.
- Durability. LEDs have a long service life. In trials, they have been seen to achieve between 35,000 and 50,000 hours’ operating.
- Shock resistant. LEDs are more shock resistant than filament bulbs.
11.- Other items. When it is estimated that wind speeds may exceed the maximum acceptable limit for a water fountain, it is advisable to fit a wind gage connected to the control system to automatically stop fountain operations partially or entirely in order to prevent disturbance to passing persons and vehicles or water losses, etc.
Interactive Play Fountains. It is the term used to describe the installation of water jets in public squares, promenades and child play areas. In such places, they are generally fitted to produce a pleasant surprise effect when jets ‘camouflaged’ under the ground suddenly spring up to delight small children. The items used to produce these fountain jets are generally different types of nozzles similar to those used in architectural fountains. The illustration below shows a few examples of interactive play fountains built into urban furniture and installations.