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Fountains require a power source to keep water flowing. This power comes from one of two sources: electrical power or solar power compliments of Mother Nature.
The closer you locate a water fountain is to the electrical outlet, the easier and less expensive installation will be. Electrical power for a safe water feature also requires a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFI) outlet. GFI outlets have a sensor that automatically shuts off the electrical power if they come in contact with moisture. Voltage for water fountains and water fountains accessories also differs. Most fountains require 120 volts to operate the pump, filters and lights. Extensive project with a large pond or lake fountain feature may require a 240-volt supply. Both 120 volt and 240 volt cables must be buried in protective piping and usually require a permit and installation by a certified electrician. (Note: Some fountain accessories, like outdoor lighting, only require low-voltage via a cable connected to a plug-in transformer that reduces household electricity to 12 volts.)
Solar powered fountains and solar powered fountain lights operate off sun's energy. No electrical wiring required, installation is easy and power is free. To produce electricity through solar energy, fountains and fountain lights need a solar cell or solar panel. The cell or panel simply sits and collects photons within sun rays and transforms them into conduction electrons that carry an electric charge through a circuit to the fountain pump or light. Sounds simple. However, location is the key to efficient operation. Solar cells need direct sunlight and lots of it. Shady locations cannot support solar power. Climates with more clouds and rain than sunshine, especially during shorter winter days typically have a deficit of solar power. Avoid disappointment; before installing a solar powered yard fountain, ensure that an adequate supply of sun power is available.