Wall Hydrant Information to Consider When Purchasing

Wall Hydrant Information to Consider When Purchasing

Oct 4th 2022

Though they may be called by quite a few names, plumbing professionals know them all to be the same. Whether you call it a wall hydrant, a sillcock, a lawn faucet, a spigot, or anything like that, they’re all often used to refer to the same thing.

But what is a wall hydrant, how do they work, what features do they possess, and why does it matter?

What Is a Wall Hydrant

A wall hydrant is a plumbing fixture that is typically accessible from the outside of a building, often a few inches off of the ground (although it could be higher) that requires minimal maintenance and little to no winterization.

In a word, they provide access to plumbing from the outside of a building and connect to the plumbing behind the walls.

How Does a Wall Hydrant Work

The operation of a wall hydrant is simple enough. To draw water from the hydrant, one only needs to turn the exterior handle, which opens and closes a valve inside the building.

Hydrants typically contain a bibb washer that when open allows water to flow freely, but which can also be closed against the water supply from outside, shutting off the flow through the hydrant.

Are There Other Types of Hydrants?

Wall hydrants are not the only types of hydrants in the plumbing industry. There are several other types of residential, commercial, and industrial hydrants, including:

  • Ground post hydrants

Like wall hydrants, ground post hydrants consist of a pipe and a valve, often opened and closed by a lever, that provides access to water at the ground level, through the ground, and often at a distance from a building.

Ground hydrants, which like wall hydrants may be frost-free, can provide access to water to those away from facilities and amenities.

  • Roof hydrants

Roof hydrants are just like ground post hydrants except they are installed on building roofs and provide access to clean water from a rooftop. They are often also opened and closed via a lever and can also be frost-free models.

What Is a Non-Freeze Wall Hydrant?

Many different types of hydrants (not just wall hydrants) are marketed as non-freeze, frostproof, or frost-free hydrants.

This is a style of hydrant that when used and installed properly, will not freeze, protecting both the fixture and the plumbing inside the building against frost damage.

In the instance of wall hydrants, a frost-free version must be installed properly and used responsibly to prevent the incidence of frost damage.

With respect to installation, frost-free wall hydrants must be installed at a slightly downward angle, typically between 3 and 5 degrees. When the hydrant’s valve is closed via the handle, all of the remaining water will drain out of the pipe, preventing accumulation and frost damage. This feature prevents homeowners and facilities managers from the need to actively winterize frost-free hydrants.

Proper installation falls under the responsibility of the professional that chooses and installs wall hydrants, but proper use is also required to prevent frost damage.

Specifically, it is essential never to leave hoses or other fixtures attached to frost-free hydrants when not in use. If left attached, these fixtures will trap water inside of the hydrant that can then freeze, damaging the pipe or valve.

Oftentimes, damage to a frost-free hydrant occurs behind the walls and will not be noticed until the next season when the hydrant is used again. Moreover, the damage, being behind the walls, can be costly or expensive to fix.

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How Does Design Prevent Backflow?

Whenever there is unequal pressure in plumbing lines or a vacuum is created, it can result in backflow or back-siphonage, which draws water backward through the lines and can contaminate potable water sources. Some wall hydrants feature designs that prevent backflow and the risks associated with it.

Some wall hydrants contain either check valves or vacuum breakers, o both, which can prevent this issue. A check valve is a valve at the stem of the hydrant that will close, “checking” water whenever it tries to flow back into the system. A vacuum breaker allows air to enter the hydrant, preventing the formation of a vacuum, stopping backflow, and also allowing the hydrant to drain at the same time.

What Companies Produce Wall Hydrants?

There are a number of different commercial plumbing manufacturers that make wall hydrants (along with roof and ground hydrants) including but not limited to the following:

  • Wade
  • Watts
  • Arrowhead
  • Woodford
  • Zurn
  • Josam

We carry hydrants and hydrant repair parts from all of these manufacturers, along with others.

I Need Wall Hydrant Parts. Where Can I Get Them?

Looking for a wall hydrant assembly or just hydrant repair parts? Create an account with us here at Quality Plumbing Supply and get access to the equipment and genuine parts from industry-leading manufacturers at great prices.

If you have any questions about our products or how to set up an account, get in touch with us at 1-833-251-4591.