View Full Version : How Hard is it to Replace a Hydrant by Yourself?

Jul. 7, 2010, 02:07 PM
The interior barn hydrant where I board sprung an underground leak almost 2 months ago. We told the farm manager right away. He removed the hydrant stand pipe and nozzle, replacing it with just a tap at the end of the pipe in the hole. Since then we've had to kneel and reach down to turn on the water and, heaven forbid, the front stalls need water because we have to switch hoses.

Since the damage "May" have been caused by one of us boarders pulling up on the frozen handle during the winter, we gave the farm manager $80 towards the cost of replacing the hydrant. That was 7 weeks ago. He hasn't done a thing towards fixing it since then.

We're tired of it and was wondering if we should nag him to Git-R-Dun or just suck up and do it ourselves.

The original installation was obviously never done right in the first place many moons ago. The underground pipe is plastic PVC and is only buried about 12 inches down. There's no gravel or anything to prevent freezing...hence our issues this winter.

So, talk plumbing to me........

Jul. 7, 2010, 02:13 PM
You can use electric heat tracing to keep the pipe melted, but make sure you get a control box to keep it from getting too hot. Electric heat tracing kits are available at hardware stores, and quite simple.

I'm not sure what type of hydrant you're talking about, but it sounds like a basic one, probably easy to install...depending on how far the lead pipe runs, you and a few friends could probably dig it up and re-install a new hydrant in a day. It's hard work, but not tricky...water equipment is pretty basic.

Jul. 7, 2010, 02:19 PM
Hah! Your scenario sounds familiar, I think I even have pictures of our spigot in a pit.

We did ours, you've got half the work done if the hole has been dug. I don't know if there is a frst line in GA so 12 inches may be adequate depth.

From our experience, the standpipe was put in with gravel around it, not underneath it. The water pooled there and the pipe never truly drained out, over time the pipe developed a pinhole leak in the thread area and viola, our own personal geyser bubbling up every time you lifted the lever and the pressurized water moved in there.

I'll go back and get the link to where Tom King talks about how to correctly mate PVC pipe, the right kind of joints, etc.. Or maybe Tom might consider putting it in the FAQ's?

Jul. 7, 2010, 02:30 PM
It's easy. The worst part is the digging. I think they even come with instructions- if not, they're easy enough to find. Be sure to attempt this project only if there is a hardware store open- it sucks to get into a plumbing project and not have the proper fittings.

Jul. 7, 2010, 02:48 PM
Hubby did mine - both of mine - and they are dug 4 feet down (below the frost line) and the hole was big enough for him to stand and walk around a bit down there.

Once the faucet was joined up to the water pipe, we put down a lot of 3/4 inch gravel as there is a small pressure relief valve / drain at the bottom that allows the water to fully drain back down the pipe once it is turned off, and that gravel allows it to drain properly and quickly and not pool on the dirt instead. Hubby is VERY particular about stuff like this and doing things properly! :lol:

The inside one is never really subjected to freezing temps even in the dead of winter and the outside ones are subjected to the worst that winter can throw at us and as long as some moron doesnt a) forget to push the faucet down completely to allow it to fully drain or b) leave a hose attached to it so it cannot drain, they operate flawlessly year round without a hitch

Good luck!

Tom King
Jul. 7, 2010, 02:51 PM
PVC pipe is fine. 12" is fine in Ga.

A few rules worth following:

Never use a plastic female threaded adaptor anywhere in a plumbing system. Never use a plastic (PVC) elbow at the bottom of a hydrant.

To teminate PVC pipe into the bottom of a hydrant, use a PVC male threaded adaptor on the end of the straight run of pipe, use a galvanized "street" (female threads on one side and male on the other) elbow. The plastic male threads go into the female end of the elbow after being wrapped with teflon tape. The male end of the street elbow goes into the bottom of the hydrant also after wrapping it with teflon tape.

Most problems I've seen with hydrants come from using a plastic elbow on the bottom.

Dig down deeper than you think you need under the hydrant and either bury a cinder block on end or use plenty of round rock underneath so the water has somewhere to drain into.

Jul. 7, 2010, 04:35 PM
or you could call a plumber. I just had one replaced for about $100.

Jul. 7, 2010, 04:36 PM
Well if Mr. Farm Manager doesn't Git-R-Dun soon, I'll be deducting $80 from next month's board check and hiring a plumber myself ;)