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Old 03-07-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


How do you know you have a cracked frost hydrant in your shed, probably due to not shutting it off when the temps dropped? You get a $300 water bill, you turn the last ball valve off before its supply pipe leaves the basement and observe the meter -- no activity. You turn it back on and it starts spinning. And it is 3 ft below concrete ...

i just realized because of the water bill.

could it be anything else?? if the hydrant froze underground, i wonder why it didn't also break above ground cause there is PVC 3/4" pipe coming out of it in the shed.

it's been there for a year and a half, last winter was much colder yet it didn't freeze. i monitored weather forecast closely this year to shut it off every time when they called for freezing. i can't believe i missed a day.

the pipe coming out of the house and into the shed (about 25') is also PVC. could it be that that froze somewhere along the way and not at the hydrant? it does run 3' under ground the whole way, which is my frost line.

there is no leak above ground. the shed is 100% dry. but when the ball valve is on, the street meter is spinning.

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Old 03-07-2012, 10:19 PM   #2
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


A couple of things. I'd suspect you have a broken pipe first if the leak is that great. The hydrant valve is at the bottom of the pipe and also there is a small weep hole just above the valve that will allow the pipe to drain down to the valve. That's why the pipe won't freeze. It's also possible that the valve itself is leaking. You can usually repair these from the top by dismantling the head and pulling out the plunger.....sometimes. Go online and find the mfg. and get a diagram.

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Old 03-07-2012, 10:53 PM   #3
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


Is it possible that it's leaking through the weep hole when the hydrant is on yet all faucets downstream are off?

I'm gonna try to see if the meter is spinning if I turn the hydrant off but turn the ball valve inside the house on.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


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Originally Posted by amakarevic View Post
Is it possible that it's leaking through the weep hole when the hydrant is on yet all faucets downstream are off?

I'm gonna try to see if the meter is spinning if I turn the hydrant off but turn the ball valve inside the house on.
I don't believe it is possible. But look at a diagram of the valve assembly to understand it better. What the valve does is seal the fitting at the very bottom of the assembly. If it leaked "just a little"...then yes it's possible to leak out the weep hole. But if you have a substancial valve leak it will come out of the spigot. Under normal circumstances the weep hole is sealed when the faucet is opened.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


Leaks all the same hydrant on or off
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


Come out of the spigot? But the spigot is perfectly dry. So it is something underground, the pipe, the adapter, or the shaft of the hydrant
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:09 PM   #7
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It's unlikely you did anything wrong....it's designed not to freeze when there is water to it. By design you do not need to turn off the water to protect it from freezing. If water is not coming out of the spigot your leak is before the valve. Get a jack jammer.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:14 PM   #8
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


If someone sealed the drain hole it needs to drain when it shut off with concrete then it's going to freeze and break.
It should have been set in crushed stone not concrete.
It's easy for the bolt or the adapter that slides over the shaft that raises and lowers the shut off to come loose or rust off. The old ones have steel adapters when you order a new one they come in bronze.
If it froze and the housing split it's time for a whole new unit.
Look on the handle for a brand name and look it up on line.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:15 PM   #9
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There is a hissing sound at the hydrant when the water is coming to it from the basement regardless of whether the hydrant itself is on or off.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:36 PM   #10
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Joe, the concrete is just on the surface, not at the bottom of the hydrant where it flips the valve on and off and weeps release...
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:38 PM   #11
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


Then it's out of adjustment. It's all done near the shaft that opens and closes the valve above ground.
Does it look like this?
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:55 PM   #12
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


The big problem here is that you can assume the leak is at the base of the hydrant.....but it could be anywhere. (but it's probably at the connection to the hydrant)
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:22 AM   #13
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


the hissing sound when i bring my ear close to the hydrant tells me that the leak is near the hydrant, i.e. at the connection of the hydrant to the pipe. i can't remember exactly (yes, should have take a picture), but i think there is a 90 deg elbow galvanized adapted to the PVC pipe using a female adapter, not sure. so one of the connections is bust, most likely.

the access will be hairy, to say the least. the good thing is there is a 2 ft patch of dirt between the walkway and the shed's foundation where the pipe enters where i can dig. the concrete footer is about a little more than 2 ft deep and 10" wide. the hydrant pipe is almost touching the footer on the inside. so when i dig in the dirt on the outside, i will have to dig under the footer to reach the connection. then i will have to widen the cavity so that i can twist pipe wrenches. it won't be fun... but i have to do it cause i'm already spoiled about having water in my shed for doing various things, mainly masonry and painting tool cleanups etc.

by far the best thing to discover would be that the pipe itself is broken right there near the foundation so i don't have to tweak pipe wrenches in that tights spot, just replace the broken piece of pipe.

the greatest mystery is why something like this would have happened in the first place. if it is due to freezing and not something else...

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Old 03-08-2012, 12:40 AM   #14
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shed frost hydrant leaking underground


Lets see, Hm, steel pipe installed under ground. And how old is this house, 100 plus years old.
Steel pipe rust out from the inside out everytime, and it's only a matter of time before it needs to be replaced.
Guess your not going to take my advice and look up the install instrutions on what you have.
If it's a water hydrent like I showed in the picture it's a simple adjustment to stop the leak if the bolt just sliped.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:56 AM   #15
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Lets see, Hm, steel pipe installed under ground. And how old is this house, 100 plus years old.
dude, the shed is brand new... last winter the hydrant survived fine although the temps were MUCH lower. the only thing steel is the hydrant pipe itself and the elbow, everything else is PVC.

i love you Joe but sometimes you just jump the gun, dude...

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