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Hydrant sounds like it's sucking air??? Tom King??

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  • Hydrant sounds like it's sucking air??? Tom King??

    I just walked out to the barn and the wash rack hydrant sounds like it's sucking a steady stream of air. It didn't do this when we shut it off after watering tonight, it must have started while I was in the house watching TV. It works just fine and has full pressure. I don't recall it ever freezing, and if it's even close to freezing temps, the hose is always disconnected.

    Any ideas what this is??? We weren't thinking when dummy me decided on it's placement, and digging it up will require concrete busting. Sigh...

  • #2
    Sounds like it is just draining very slowly, we had one do this last fall. There are hydrant rebuild kits available, or it may just need adjusted a bit. Try putting a bit more pressure on the stopper in the off position. Our stopper had swelled over time and was not allowing the hydrant to drain at a normal rate. It made the noise you are describing.


    • #3
      Guess we'll wait for Tom King to tell you!
      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


      • Original Poster

        Unfortunately, it's a @#$%$ leak! I finally found the water meter in the dark, and it was spinning. My guess is it's close to where the hydrant ties in to the water line. We turned off the water at the meter (several hundred feet from the house!), we'll have to turn it on and off as we need it.

        Just remembering the thickness of concrete and the gravel and the hefty reinforcement wire in said concrete gives me a headache. It'll probably be Sat before we have a chance to fix it right. This sucks. I told DH we might as well replace the hydrant while we're at it with one of those high dollar Woodford's just as added insurance against digging it up again in the near future.


        • #5
          That still doesn't explain the noise, hydrants are pretty much on or off. If it were leaking, water should be coming out, unless there is a break underground.


          • #6
            When you put the new one in, reread some of the old posts about the installation. Don't use a plastic elbow, or a plastic female threaded adaptor.


            • #7
              If you have to break the concrete pad around the hydrant, try to leave a well, at least 24", so you can get to it next time you need to dig it out.
              Then you can dig it out with post hole diggers.

              We use some kind of plastic bottle at the bottom, to keep that are clear for draining:
              Attached Files


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                When you put the new one in, reread some of the old posts about the installation. Don't use a plastic elbow, or a plastic female threaded adaptor.
                I know we've never used plastic elbows, but the adapter I can't remember. This hydrant for whatever reason has a tiny bit of play where it comes through the concrete and has gotten knocked hard a couple of times fairly recently. When I jiggle the hydrant the sound lessens or increases- I'm betting the leak is really close to the elbow connection.

                At least we installed it in the first place and know which way the water line comes in, and we're in KY so it's not buried 4 ft. deep or better. I wish we owned a concrete saw for cutting the concrete - it's one of the few tools we don't have!


                • #9
                  You can rent a jackhammer and it won't take you long to break the concrete with it.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                    You can rent a jackhammer and it won't take you long to break the concrete with it.
                    'Cept there's very few tool rental places around here anymore, and we'd still have to get thought the reinforcement wire. But yeah, we thought of that. DH is working today, but was going to call a plumber friend today and see if he has a saw at his disposal. Plumbing problems are the pits. And we'll definitely have to patch the concrete- it's not a big enough area to leave it open.


                    • #11
                      Call some local concrete contractors and they will tell you where they rent their jackhammers, or they may have one they let you use.

                      I expect the plumber will know anyway, as they have to tear up concrete pads regularly to remodel showers and fix all kinds of leaks under concrete.


                      • Original Poster

                        Hoping our plumber buddy (who drives his fully equipped company truck home) will say- "I'll come over to help." Definitely a possibility (if he doesn't have other plans) as DH has helped him and his dad fix hay equipment, build sheds, remodel, etc. and they've helped us with stuff here many times, too- all freebies, of course. Beer is always involved!

                        Could we be that fortunate?


                        • #13
                          When we installed our hydrants, a post was installed to brace the hydrant near the handle. The post keeps the hydrant in place without wiggle. The wiggle is what breaks the connections as you use the hydrant.
                          Equus makus brokus but happy


                          • #14
                            Let us know if you can get help with the concrete. I can tell you how to do it, leaving a decent looking opening (that you will probably want to leave anyway), but it will involve buying 50 to 75 dollars worth of stuff. The hydrant you have there is probably fine to reuse.

                            If you use this method, this job will probably be the end of this cheap grinder, but it doesn't make sense to buy a good one to eat masonry dust. I use these as disposable tools for jobs like this, cutting flashing slots in chimneys and foundations (including stone). I use them with slow flow from a water hose if possible to take care of the dust. I know no one would recommend the safety of this, but I've done it a bunch of times, and keep one guy with both hands on the cord plugs. If it's out in the open, we pick a windy day, and I keep one guy standing upwind in clean air blowing a leaf blower at a good spot. If necessary, we use a supplied air respirator, but try to avoid that.

                            For work with the water hose, I use something like this diamond blade. http://www.homedepot.com/buy/avanti-...-hd-t45s8.html
                            The masonry grinder blades dont' last long at all, but for a small job like yours it would make sense to buy ten of them rather than one of these. I'm not sure how the grinder disks will work with water, or at all. If you use them dry it will create a LOT of dust. DON'T breathe it.



                            Is this in an enclosed area, or out in the open? Do you have any kind of leaf blower?
                            Last edited by Tom King; Feb. 14, 2013, 10:21 PM.


                            • Original Poster

                              We tried busting the concrete. My back is killing me, I'm not used to hard labor anymore! DH got a couple of masonry blades and a diamond blade for his circular saw on his way home from work. Edges are cut as deep as the saw will allow. There was a slight breeze blowing, so it took the dust away as he was cutting- wash rack opens to the outside. Using a sledgehammer, hammer drill (broke the hammer drill bit on the reinforcement wire), and spud bar we finally broke thru one corner. It's some damn tough, and almost 6" thick, concrete we poured! I think we may have to rent a jackhammer or something. We've got a "disposable" angle grinder, but I don't think it'll get thru this stuff- can't remember the mix, but we poured the apartment foundation with it at the same time.

                              I'm guessing there's nothing wrong with the hydrant, but I got a new Woodford anyway. It was only $120 with the elbow, brass nipple, and sch. 80 adapter.


                              • #16
                                I wouldn't use a jack hammer. It'll make a big ugly hole that will be impossible to patch nicely. You can cut out pie shaped pieces with the small grinder away from the finished, desired opening size. When you hit metal, switch to a metal cutting disk. It will also cut enough of the concrete right beside the metal that needs to be cut. You will go through a bunch of these disks, but it won't do any good to get in a hurry. I probably wouldn't use a sledgehammer at all-maybe a wrecking bar to pop some chunks out. Once you get one spot all the way through, it will get easier.

                                This is why we don't concrete in hydrants.


                                • #17
                                  Cal the Ask This Old House crew. Maybe you'll get the job fixed, and get on TV. These guys do a pretty good job for a bunch of out of shape young guys.



                                  • Original Poster

                                    What chunks, LOL?? This stuff doesn't want to fracture much at all, even with multiple saw cuts. The chunks we're getting are only about the size of the aggregate at most. It ate the masonry blades relatively fast, but the diamond blade cut pretty well. We did finally break through, but it wasn't getting any easier. DH insists on going to the Farm Machinery Show tomorrow morning- maybe there will be a vendor there with inexpensive angle grinder discs. It sure won't hurt to try that method.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                                      Cal the Ask This Old House crew. Maybe you'll get the job fixed, and get on TV. These guys do a pretty good job for a bunch of out of shape young guys.


                                      Somehow I don't think they'd be interested in minor concrete removal...


                                      • #20
                                        Having just finished trenching 1000+ feet installing 4 hydrants and running electric outlets to each in our paddocks. One of which developed a leak shortly there after I share you pain. When installing or retrofitting anything plan for repair and maintenance. And future upgrades. As I am sure you know now don’t concrete around hydrants. At least not to the depth of the surrounding slab. It should always be done as Bluey’s picture shows. Well tamped dirt and gravel will hold it. But for a better “finished” look and to keep it from developing a “wobble” I use the bagged “black top patch” for repairing holes in asphalt driveways. About 3 inches tamped well does a good job and is easily chipped out if a repair is needed. If the hydrant is in an area that gets a lot of sun and heat you will need to go thicker because it will soften.
                                        I have not experience the sound you are hearing with my hydrants. A leak caused by a cracked fitting and or a leak where the pipe connects to the fitting is not going to make this sound. Which is what I just repaired. Does the sucking sound go away if you plug the hydrant outlet? If so this seems to tell me that the inlet seal that closes off the water supply at the bottom of the hydrant has failed. But it is not leaking enough water to make it up the riser pipe and out. Maybe only half way up and constantly draining which is why it is drawing air in from the outlet.
                                        Detaching the hydrant in close quarters from the elbow can be a real PIA. Hopefully it is a brass elbow which will stand up to higher stresses without braking when twisting off the hydrant. If in fact it is the seal on the hydrant that is leaking. This will be easy enough to ascertain once you trenched out. You know which side of the hydrant the pipe is coming in from so make sure and cut enough concrete in that direction to give you working room. At least 2 feet if not closer to 3. Easier to repair a larger hole then needed then to cut more concrete. As they say, measure twice cut once. If it is a leaking seal on the hydrant you will need big vice-grip pliers and a pipe wrench. With the vice-grip or a large adjustable wench you want to hold or brace the tool so the elbow is held securely especially if it is plastic. Twist the hydrant off the fitting with the pipe wrench. I believe you can just buy the seal/O ring needed but I would buy the rebuilt kit that has a couple of other seals and replace all. Tip, hydrants tend to develop leaks at the top where the rod connects to the handle. Pretty easy fix with a new O ring. Early failure happens because water freezing on the rod that slides through the O ring seal tears little bits away every time it is opened and closed so it is good to grease the rod from time to time especially in the winter.
                                        If you have to replace the elbow this can be very problematic if hole is not big enough to expose a fair bit of the pipe and give you working room. Assuming it is “black poly pipe” it is best just to cut the pipe at the fitting instead of trying to pry it off. You want a clean end to install a new elbow on anyway. Do not heat the pipe to make it easier to slip the elbow on. I found out the hard way that the pipe does not shrink back to its original size when cool and developed a leak. Apply some grease to the fitting and the inside of the pipe and hope you have enough room to press it on. It HAS to go all the way to the stop. Make sure and use 2 hose clamps with the screws installed in opposite directions and tape the treads on the elbow that connects to the hydrant. If you can not expose enough of the supply pipe with out a lot of digging to get the elbow on use a compression coupling. This is a “widget” that hand screws 2 pipe ends together. A good hard ware store carries these and will explain and set you with the necessary fittings for the size pipe you are using.
                                        Lot of suggestions on how to go about cutting the concrete. If you don’t have a tool rental place to get a gas powered concrete saw which will make short work of it though getting through the metal can problematic. A cheap circular saw with a bunch of masonry and metal blades will do the job. Slow going in 6 inches but will get it done. Just have to change blades when you hit the metal. Just keep making plunge cuts. As others have said this will kick up a lot of dust. Use a shop vac to either suck or blow the dust way. Or use the disposable face masks. Remember to cap off the hydrant outlet and turn on for a couple of hours to make sure no leaks develop before back filling. Or just buy a screw on water pressure gauge around $10 read the number when pressurized and check again a few hours latter to make sure the number is the same.
                                        Maybe none of this applies to your situation but hopefully my long winded post will for others in the future.
                                        Please let us know how you make out and what the problem ended up being.