Common Hydrant Problems (and the Necessity of Hydrant Repair Kits)
May 27th 2022
Yard, wall, and roof hydrants can provide easy access to water in otherwise inaccessible locations, and can really improve the infrastructure of a setting.
Unfortunately, hydrants of all makes, models, and sizes are simply mechanical devices that can fail. Moreover, the nature of their location outdoors means they will face the full onslaught of the elements, month in and month out.
For these reasons, many commercial plumbers and contractors keep us on speed dial so that when they’re called to troubleshoot and repair a hydrant issue, they can make the fix.
But it’s not always the case that the hydrant itself needs to be entirely replaced. In some instances, a hydrant repair kit that contains some replacement parts may be all you need.
So, let’s get into some common causes of hydrant failure.
What Causes Hydrants to Fail?
Because hydrants are out in the elements throughout the year, they are subject to a wide range of environmental stressors, the least of which is common use (which can also wear down parts over time).
Chances are unless something specific has failed within the hydrant head, your hydrant is experiencing one of these issues.
Ground hydrants are in contact with the ground, which may at certain times of year be wet and full of corrosive salts.
While many ground hydrants are made with corrosion-resistant brass and steel alloys, rain, salt, and other elements can cause corrosion that damages fittings and pipes.
The riser pipe - that reaches from the supply pipe to the hydrant fitting - is at particular risk of corroding from the outside in. It will depend on the environmental conditions as well as the chemistry of the soil, but it is a distinct risk.
If the riser pipe corrodes through from the outside (and is buried) the only detectable sign might be a drop in pressure when the hydrant is opened.
Luckily, many modern hydrants can be removed without the need for excavation, streamlining certain repair procedures.
There are many different types of frost-free hydrants, most of which have a failsafe built into them that helps protect them from frost damage.
When you shut off the water in a frost-free hydrant, the water drains through the vertical shaft and out through a drainage hole, preventing it from accumulating and freezing.
If this drainage hole is blocked or the hydrant cannot drain for some other reason and water gets trapped in the hydrant shaft or head, it can freeze and break the fittings.
When this happens, there may be catastrophic damage done to the hydrant head or fittings, making it impossible to repair them with a hydrant repair kit. In this instance, the hydrant may need to be replaced entirely.
It’s not easy for a yard hydrant to become occluded with debris, but it’s also not impossible.
One hedge against this is to get into the practice of flushing the hydrant periodically. Sediments and rust can accumulate in the hydrant line, and stagnant water can become contaminated. Flushing periodically helps to remove these.
Simply open the hydrant all the way to dislodge any rust, debris, sediment, or stagnant water that has accumulated in the supply line.
Slow leaks are not entirely uncommon on frost-free hydrants. The reason for this is that frost-free hydrants contain a plunger and a long pump rod that runs through the vertical shaft of the hydrant body all the way down to the supply pipe.
Over time, if the seal of the plunger gets degraded, it can start to develop a slow leak. This wastes water but can cause other problems, too. One is that it can allow water to remain in the standpipe, which can cause frost damage when the temperature drops. The other is that a constantly leaking hydrant head can keep the ground around the standpipe wet, which will eventually cause corrosion.
If leaks of this nature form on frost-free hydrants, the typical repair procedure is to replace the plunger and if necessary, the connected pump rod, in order to restore pressure and supply an adequate seal to stop the leak.
Need a Hydrant Repair Kit to Troubleshoot Issues on Job Sites?
In addition to these common problems, there is a wide range of other problems that home and business owners can come across insomuch as it affects their hydrants. Luckily, many commercial and residential hydrants contain many repairable parts.
For instance, pivot connectors, set screws, steel linkages, pivot connectors, rings, and packing nuts can also get lost, wear out, or suffer corrosion damage. In these instances, the operation of a yard, roof, or commercial hydrant will be severely impaired or halted until the part is replaced.
That’s why we carry a wide range of yard hydrant repair kits that include the parts above, as well as other piecemeal replacement parts for top manufacturers such as Wade. We also carry essentials like hydrant keys for adjusting the supply valves.
If you have any questions about making repairs to your customers’ hydrants, please get in touch with us at 1-833-251-4591.