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Fountains and Sound Levels

Posted by Doug Gardner on

There are a lot of benefits to having a water feature in an area. We can enjoy the actual visual look of the fountain, and the water, as well as the moisturizing effect that it can have, which can help to keep an area cool. Sound is also very important with water features. Running water is associated with calmness, focus, and with health and cleanliness. As human beings, we’ve long associated sources of running water with prosperity and safe places to settle and hunt.

While these may not be considerations at a shopping mall, or in a small garden area, there are still ways that you can properly compliment the sound of your fountain to increase their aural appeal.

Acoustic and Environmental Choices

To get the most out of your fountain’s sound potential, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • You’ll get the best effects in areas that have low vehicle traffic, which can muffle sound or drown it out completely.
  • Using a metal basin can increase the “sharpness” of falling water, which could be good or bad depending on the effect that you want.
  • Metal acoustics are also effected by whether there are hollow or solid structures present.
  • The actual area in which the fountain can be heard will be effected by any nearby walls.
  • Dense trees, shrubs, and other structures can actually dampen sound as well.

This presents the average fountain buyer with a few options. For commercial water features that are going to be featured indoors, there are also considerations to make regarding the flooring of the feature. It’s fairly common that a water feature inside of a commercial space is going to have a great deal of space around the actual feature itself, which includes ceiling height, so the sound will be able to carry over a wide distance, but using hard stone or mineral flooring such as polished concrete will carry the sound even further. Some commercial spaces may want to consider wood plank flooring to control sound levels.

Material Choices

As mentioned, metal fountain features will have the further carry of sound from the source. The wider that the fountain is, and the further that the water travels from the spout to the basin, the louder the sound will be. Additionally, tiered fountains may produce a wider range of sounds due to multiple points of noise.

For outdoor fountains, metal may be the right choice if you want a more audible water feature seasonally. Warm water can increase the speed at which sound can travel, along with warm metal. Stone may produce a more controlled sound level throughout the year, which can be more useful with indoor water features where air conditioning and heating will alternate, but sound levels throughout the entire interior are taken into consideration.

Finally, the choice, size, and shape of any other features on the fountain, such as statues or decorations, could effect sound spread or dampening as well. Decorative features that are dish shaped will actually project the sound of falling water into various directions, as an example, so take this into consideration when choosing the right fountain for your desired sound levels.