Yard Hydrant Troubleshooting & Maintenance

In this blog post, you’ll read: Yard hydrants are vital for outdoor water access, especially in areas prone to freezing. They operate through a simple mechanism that allows water flow when the handle is lifted and stops it when lowered. Troubleshooting common issues like leaks or poor flow often involves replacing the plunger or adjusting the connecting rod. Regular maintenance and using high-quality, compatible replacement parts are crucial for ensuring the hydrant's longevity and performance. For those experiencing issues, understanding the basic working principle and common fixes can greatly aid in efficient yard hydrant management.
Table of Contents

Typically, yard hydrant troubleshooting involves removing the pump rod and substituting the plunger to restore the hydrant’s ability to obstruct water flow. This common repair can fix a leaking hydrant in your yard if it originates from the top, the lock nuts that secure it, or even underground.

Due to the variety of hydrant models, buying replacement parts compatible with your specific model is critical. Many hydrant manufacturers provide product repair kits, including universal kits compatible with various hydrant brands. Consider purchasing components from a local plumbing supply store or from a reliable supplier.

How Does A Yard Hydrant Work?

yard hydrant work
Yard hydrant work
  • Opening

When the handle is raised, the connecting rod and plunger are elevated from the valve perch. Water may pass through the valve body and ascend the standpipe due to the elevated plunger. Additionally, the discharge passage is sealed off when the plunger is raised.

Water may pass through the valve port beyond the raised plunger, which seals the discharge port. The water exits through the discharge vent after passing through the flow channels and the standpipe.

  • Closing

The connecting rod and plunger are lowered to the valve body’s seat by closing the handle. Water is turned off from the service line, and the discharge receptacle is opened as the plunger is lowered. This permits water from the standpipe to return downward and enter the pulverized stone drain bed via the drain port.

Air must be able to enter the vent to ease adequate drainage. Connecting the nozzle to a conduit or other device can obstruct air ingress and halt the drainage mechanism.

A 4ft buried yard hydrant requires an estimated 45-60 seconds to discharge completely. All water above the frost line is discharged through the drain port in the valve body, eliminating the danger of freezing.

Yard Hydrant Troubleshooting & Maintenance

Leak After Installation:

maintenance hydrant
maintenance hydrant

If the hydrant escapes shortly after installation, debris, such as small grit particles or scale from the supply line, might clog the valve seat. It is advisable to clean the supply line before installing the yard hydrant. If this occurs, the connecting rod and plunger assembly must be pulled, and the valve body and standpipe must be flushed.

  1. If the yard hydrant begins to seep after years of service, the plunger must be removed and checked for signs of wear or damage. Maintaining an extra plunger in a convenient location and substituting it when disassembling the apparatus is advisable.

III. Examine the handle’s closing mechanism. By positioning the handle over the center of the shutter, water pressure pulls the handle in the direction of closure. If the handle tended to open in response to system pressure, a problem with the pivot position would be indicated.

Leak Between Stainless Operating Rod and Brass Packing Bushing

Depth frost proof hydrant
Depth frostproof hydrant

This condition is more prevalent when the yard hydrant is left open with the packaging exposed to full system pressure and a hose is connected. Adjusting the brass packing fastener may be necessary to prevent a packing escape. To remedy the situation, tighten the packing nut by 5 to 10 degrees until the discharge ceases. O-rings that deteriorate and need replacement are indicated if the discharge continues to occur while the packing nut becomes increasingly rigid.

3. Water Leaks from the Ground Around the Standpipe When the Hydrant Is On

This exceptional circumstance may arise due to a gradual water discharge through the sewer aperture. Suppose the leak originates from a deteriorated plunger or a small piece of foreign detritus lodged between the plunger rubber and the valve body from the supply line. In that case, it can be remedied without excavating the hydrant.

You must remove the yard hydrant head and unscrew the rod and plunger from the standpipe for inspection in either scenario.

I was blushing the hydrant and reinstalling the rod. The plunger may be enough to repair the breach if the plunger appears in “new” condition, devoid of any signs of wear or injury (e.g., marks). However, the plunger must be replaced if it is deteriorated or damaged and is the source of the spill.

Note: If the hydrant ever needs a new plunger, there is no need to dig up the hydrant.

Deactivate the water pressure, unfasten the change set screw, and affix electrical or pipe wrap to the standpipe immediately beneath the hydrant head to choose the part of the head casting. Also, to mark the location for reassembly, the tape protects the pipe finish while detaching the head casting from the standpipe.

Next, raise the operating rod to release the plunger. Proceed by replacing the plunger, affixing PTFE tape, and a thread sealant compound. It threads the head casting to an identical mark on the pipe.

This signifies a significant issue wherein more water percolates upwards from the subsurface. A significant discharge is usually the result of standpipe failure, which is precipitated by accelerated electrolysis corrosion. Certain abrasive soil conditions may result in the galvanized standpipe failing near the valve body. It exposes it to dampness in the drain bed.

If this occurs, you must excavate and replace the yard hydrant. We urge you to choose a yard hydrant constructed of 304 stainless steel, including the standpipe, connecting rod, and hex coupling, to ensure exceptional resistance to corrosion.

Below-average temperatures may have caused the valve body, which is intended to be concealed below the frost line to prevent freezing, to become iced. The bulk of the valve is not resistant to cold temperatures. It could rupture or fracture if hardened. It results in an underground water escape.

Many of these instances also involve identifying a compromised or damaged water line or fitting close to the inlet connection. Along with all 300 series stainless steel gear clamps, utilizing superior-quality hydrant elbows and fittings and mounting them using the correct procedures is critical. Decreasing the strain on the couplings and supply lines can mitigate the likelihood of failure.

Note: The hose bib manufacturer’s warranty does not cover damage from improper installation or natural causes if the ground freezes at or below the valve body (bottom of the hydrant).

4. The Hydrant Will Not Drain Back When Shut Off

Ensure the discharge hose bib lacks any affixed attachments, such as a hose or irrigation timer device. These attachments maintain water in the hydrant conduit by preventing air from entering the discharge. To prevent back siphonage, ensure that the vacuum breaker affixed to the hydrant is auto-draining. This will enable the hydrant standpipe to achieve its total capacity to avert icing.

Caution: If the hydrant is equipped with a manual vacuum breaker, it is recommended that it be upgraded to an automatic one. The manual variety permits air to enter the hydrant and facilitates the discharge back, but the lever must be held to the side. It is difficult to determine when the drain back is complete. The user fails to maintain the pressure long enough for the hydrant to be completely drained. This could cause the standpipe to seize.

Remove the vacuum breaker and lower the handle to close the hydrant. It will verify that it drains back accurately. The hose bib should then be submerged in a cup of water. Water will be drawn up and out of the cup if the yard hydrant functions.

The discharge back is not functioning if water is not drawn from the cup. This signifies the presence of one of the conditions listed below:

  • The plunger is not adjusted correctly and is covering the drain port

Solution:  It is imperative to ensure that the handle is completely closed. Should this be the case, it might be necessary to change the plunger setting. Verify once more that the water is siphoning from the cup following the adjustment.

  • The drain port has become clogged with debris or clay infiltrating the drain bed, preventing water discharge.

Solution: Ensure the plunger is adjusted correctly. After closing the hydrant, connect an airline or water hose to the hose bib. It forced the air or water down the standpipe. Removing the grime or residue will most likely clear the discharge port. After making the necessary adjustments or expelling the debris from the drain port opening with air, verify that the water continues to flow from the cup. A trouble-free operation to the yard hydrant installation can be accomplished by installing a downward-facing 90° street elbow. It reduces the likelihood of this happening.

Leak between stainless operating rod and brass
There is a leak between stainless operating rod and the brass.

5. Little Or No Flow When Open The Hydrant Handle.

While uncommon, there have been a few reports of the thread of the long connection rod becoming corroded near the plunger connection. The steel rod is corroded as a result of the aggressive water supply. Delamination of the elastomer material from the internal metal core of the plunger can result in flow loss. This occurs when the rubber encases the brass or bronze valve body during extended periods of inactivity. However, it is not always the cause.

Additionally, accounts exist in which the hydrant freezes during freezing periods, and an individual begins to thaw it.

The internal metal core of the rubber can be torn from the plunger by the high force exerted by the cam in the linkage system when it gets trapped. As a result, the plunger continues to obstruct the valve body entrance.

6. Short Bursts Of Rusty Water Each Time We Open The Hydrant.

  • A small quantity of rusty water evaporates with each hydrant opening. It indicates that the standpipe is corrupted or that iron deposits have accumulated on the valve body and internal wetted areas. The initial surge of water pressure may discharge water from the nozzle, exhibiting a metallic appearance.
  • When the time comes to replace this hydrant, we advise you to choose the corrosion-resistant yard hydrant constructed from 304 stainless steel standpipe, connecting rod, and hex coupling.
  • A persistent supply of rusty water indicates that rust and iron deposits have accumulated in the supply line.
  • A hydrant installed in the service line connecting a well and the pressure system will not treat water containing a high iron concentration, which certain wells can produce. When an iron filter is installed in the conduit, and the water is iron-free, but the water from the hydrant is not, this is something to consider.
  • An abnormal quantity of iron accumulation within the supply line and yard hydrant or oxidized water. These are early warning signs of accelerated corrosion caused by aggressive water conditions that should be considered.
  • You might consult a certified water system expert about awful wells and supply lines to end the iron deposits. Upon observing a discoloration in the water, it is prudent to conduct a bacteriological test as a measure.

Final Thoughts

Although yard hydrants are low-maintenance, a few complications may arise. Most problems associated with these hydrants have been caused by burial depth or improper drainage. Installing can prevent complications in the future. Even so, you might encounter a few minor issues.

You must change the position of the plunger on the valve if the hydrant does not cut off. Loosening a set setscrew connecting the handle to the operating rod is possible with most hydrants. After adjusting the handle position, the set screw is retightened. To achieve a closure against the valve seat, the aim is to lower the plunger by causing the rod to descend further.

Tightening the brass packing nut is enough to repair a leaking hydrant. If necessary, you may even replace the hydrant head in its entirety. A yard hydrant is an uncomplicated apparatus. The do-it-yourselfer can likely resolve these problems.

Solutions For Waterworks Plumbing

Get quote Now

Free Sample with OEM

× How can I help you?