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Hydrant problems--help?

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  • Hydrant problems--help?

    Got a frost free hydrant in the barn at our new place.

    It was beginning to leak around the stem, so I suspected it needed the packing replaced. I bought packing, but never got the chance to attempt repairs, because last week, when I was in St. Kitts visiting Ross, my SO called to ask me where the shutoff valve in the cellar was--he had been watering, and the hydrant wouldn't shut off at all.

    I told him where it was, and he called a plumber the next day. Plumber came and adjusted something (I have no idea quite what) and informed husband that hydrant *might* need replacing.

    After this adjustment, the handle needed to be just slightly up from the fully closed position or it leaked from the spigot.

    Last night, when I was watering, and attempted to shut hydrant off, nothing happened--as in water keeps running full force.

    Raising the handle does still move the rod up and down. I tried adjusting the linkage connecting the rod to the handle, but it seems to make no difference.

    Can this hydrant be saved, or do I need to yank it out and replace it?

    If so, can I simply remove the top only, or do I need to excavate?

    (Oh, and plumber informed SO that he was going to be out of town for a couple weeks.
    Right now, I've got one of those little screw on valves on the end of the spigot, and the temps are above freezing, so we *can* wait if necessary.)
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

  • #2
    Hubby says start digging. Likely the stop/drain valve at the bottom is shot. Depending on age of your unit you may wish to try to repair/rebuild. BUT sometimes once everything is pulled out of the ground you realize everything is just too rusted/old/broken up to salvage.

    So dig...plan on repairing/rebuilding. But save your reciepts and be prepared to run back to Menards for a replacement exchange.


    • #3
      If its a Woodford, any part can be replaced from the top. If the handle is not moving the rod, the break in the linkage should be pretty obvious.

      If it's not a Woodford, dig it up and replace it with one.


      • #4
        One of ther good things about digging it up and replacing it is you can take that opprtunity to dig a good sized hole below the joint of hydrant to water line, really dig down and outward and then fill it with gravel. Now you have improved the drainage for the replacement hydrant and it will help extend the period of time that the next hydrant will drain well which meand non-freezing. Everytime you shut off a hydrant it drains the water in the pipe and spigot off down below. That water has to have a place to go so having a big gravel filled pit below and around the bottom of the hydrants pipe is importent.

        I replaced one almost all by myself as my spouse was laid up with an injured back. I bought the new hydrant, dug up the area around the old one, shut off the water and removed the old hydrant. I plugged the water line to keep dirt out of it as I excavated and filled with pea gravel and hubbie found me out there with my feet in the pit. I knew I had to splice the PVC pipe and he "explained" how to prep and seal. Of course I actually knew how to do this but not WHERE he had hidden to goop needed to do it. Anyway, having two of you to work on it does help since you can discuss and argue until you get it done


        • #5
          We have had different models and brands over the years and all have a rubber bullet on the bottom, that the rod screws to.
          That will close the water when you close the handle and the water is supposed to then drain off the pipe thru the drain hole down there

          Your rod may have become unscrewed from the rubber bullet and you may luck to keep trying to screw it back on, if that is so.
          If the threads are striped, you won't be able to fix that.

          Best to just put a new hydrant in there and not have to worry for many years after that.

          Start digging, it ought to be easy, if it is that wet, not dry and hard.
          Use a post hole digger, it will go faster than with a shovel.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks all, I'll start digging, then, though it is *not* going to be easy--the hydrant is set in a concrete floor with a circular dirt opening that isn't very large...
            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Tom King View Post
              If its a Woodford, any part can be replaced from the top. If the handle is not moving the rod, the break in the linkage should be pretty obvious.
              The handle is moving the rod--I suspect the stopper is no longer attached to rod, though.

              If it's not a Woodford, dig it up and replace it with one.
              Thanks for the recommendation.
              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


              • #8
                I will second the suggestion of a Woodford. We have had
                one for nearly 25 years in a pretty cold climate (near
                Minneapolis/St. Paul) and it has only needed one minor
                repair (which was done from the top). Our other frost
                hydrant, a Campbell, has needed replacement packing
                nearly every other year and has frozen up a couple times.
                The Woodfords cost a bit more to purchase but our
                experience is that they are cheaper in the long run.
                And the Woodford people have a nice website with a bunch
                of troubleshooting tips so you can direct your SO to that next
                time you are out of the area and he has to make repairs.
                Last edited by Robin@DHH; Mar. 17, 2012, 08:44 PM. Reason: extra idea
                Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                Elmwood, Wisconsin