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Replacing a hydrant -- is this a job for amateurs/tenants?

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  • Replacing a hydrant -- is this a job for amateurs/tenants?

    Our back pastures have several frost-free hydrants coming from... oh, ok, I'm not sure where they come from except at the other end there's the well! The well is way at the front of the 110-acre property so I know there must be a network of underground conduits, but I'm not too familiar with where that runs. Let's assume that I could find this out from my landlord.

    Our very furthest pasture has always had a leak underground, close to the hydrant. It causes a small pool and a nice habitat for frogs and such, and there's lower water pressure from that hydrant, but we've been able to live with it. But at the end of last summer, the hydrant itself broke -- split lengthwise.

    Of course it would be best if our landlord were to replace the hydrant AND dig up the spot where it leaks underground to repair that. But the list of what our landlord actually DOES gets smaller with each passing minute. If we were content with going back to the situation we were in for several years, a functional hydrant with a leak nearby, is the hydrant replacement something that can be done easily? I assume it would require shutting off the water if not to the whole farm then to at least our quadrant (if indeed there is partial shut-off capability). That in itself might be a show-stopper since I really don't have the "authority" to shut off everyone's water! But I'd appreciate some tips on what it might entail from a skill/tool/effort standpoint. Thanks!
    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.

  • #2
    It's not hard. Not EZ either, but we did it. We actually had a leak in the very base of the hydrant and it turned into a geyser. Shut off the water, dig down below the bottom of the hydrant and make sure it has a good space filled with rock in which to drain, take out the old one, replace with a new one (people like Woodfords, but my leaky one was a Woodford, so . . .). It could take a day or two if you have to run out and get teflon tape or decide to fix the leak as well (who pays for the water, BTW?).

    All you need is a shovel, maybe some fresh rock, the new hydrant, (they do come in different lengths), teflon tape, the correct pipe parts, search hydrant threads for that, and for the life of me I don't know why we don't have a hydrant replacement for idiots post up in the FAQ's.
    We've only had to do it once and I've forgotten, but unless you repair the leak, which will probably take pipe cutting and threading, it's all simple buy it and screw it together type stuff. And digging the hole. We cheated and used the backhoe on the tractor. Messy but fast.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    • Original Poster

      I'm not being snarky when I ask this so please don't read it that way -- when I said we were on a well, does that not imply free water? This is the first place I've lived that has a well, and I as a tenant pay nothing. I assumed that nobody paid anything.

      There are a lot of things we may lack on our farm but water isn't one of them... we don't fully dry out till August here on the wet side of Washington!
      Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


      • #4
        The water is free, but the electricity to pump it probably isn't, if you pay for the electric separate from the rent, it is costing extra money every day. It really is the landlord's problem. Digging alone could take a couple of days, depending on how deep the pipe is buried, if you are doing all the digging by hand, and how firm the soil is, although a years-long leak should have softened it up for you.


        • #5
          Changing a hydrant should not take any time hardly, if that's all you do, don't have to fix other once in there.

          Fixing a broken pipe, well, if it is metal or PVC, you need different supplies.
          If the pipe is leaking in a joint, maybe it will be easy, if it has holes in several spots, then it is even more of a job.

          We have several miles of pipeline, so we have the tools to fix any problem, threader for steel pipes and all kinds of unions and fittings, etc.

          Since you don't seem to know what you have there, do ask a plumber how much they would bid to fix it for you, or a local handyman someone may recommend for small jobs.
          Ask your high school shop teacher, he may know who can do that for you and watch, so you can do it yourself next time.


          • #6
            We've had easy ones to replace and real buggers. I on on my 7th year of having to turn my barn water on and off at the house pipe because this one needs a much longer trench . When ever the stars collide and that project can be funded and time is available, the weather usually doesn't cooperate. Heavy equipment has to go through a pasture to be able to make the turn to get in to my barn area and its been tough scheduling.
            Do consider the well pump and the extra use it is taking to pump water for the frogs and on your electric bill. Worst is one day it will burn out and you will be stuck with a expensive well pump replacement or your land lord will. No well pump on a farm in summer with animals is VERY difficult. Don't let your landlord take that chance with maintenance.


            • #7
              I have replaced several and yes it is relatively easy. It is fairly common to have someone bump it, and then it breaks underground at the joint where the brass fitting on the hydrant converts to whatever type of pipe you have. Depending upon length of pipe, they cost about $55 at Home Depot. If it's PVC pipe underground, repair is cheap and easy. You just need to dig down to the "t" or 45 degree fitting to see whats going on.

              Yes having a slow leak that continually runs your well will drive up your electrical bill. Ask me how I know! At least you have narrowed it down to which hydrant it is. That can be half the battle.


              • #8
                Actually I have to fess up when I asked who paid for the water I completely spaced on the "well" part - BUT - you don't want that well to quit working, as has been posted by others, especially the way you make the landlord out to be as far as maintenance.

                Modern living really depends on running water - it isn't till you don't have it that you realize how important it is.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible


                • #9
                  Actually I have to fess up when I asked who paid for the water I completely spaced on the "well" part - BUT - you don't want that well to quit working, as has been posted by others, especially the way you make the landlord out to be as far as maintenance.

                  Modern living really depends on running water - it isn't till you don't have it that you realize how important it is.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible