I’m told that these posts I write take Google about 2 to 3 months to really recognize and categorize. So I try to anticipate what my customers will be interested in reading ahead of time. It’s winter now. But in a few months we’ll be closing in on spring. And for us plumbers spring means burst wall hydrant replacements.
What is a Wall Hydrant?
One of the problems in the plumbing industry is terminology. This is an industry of men. We tend to name things in odd and even sexist ways. Short pieces of threaded pipe are called nipples. A gas shut off valve is called a gas cock. There’s a male and female threaded fitting. This is why my customers rarely know what I’m saying when I tell them they need a new wall hydrant.
A wall hydrant is your garden hose water connection on the exterior of your home. The reason why it’s so important is it’s difficult to have a faucet exposed to the elements in a cold climate. The water piping it’s attached to tends to freeze and burst in winter. The wall hydrant is essentially a faucet that is mounted on the side of your home. It’s attached to your water pipes and is mounted to the siding of your home. When you turn it on water comes out. When you turn it off the water is shut off inside the conditioned space of your home. It also drains itself when you turn it off so no water is near the cold air. The important part is that the hyudrant drains all the water out away from the freezing temperatures.
A Burst Wall Hydrant
Do you remember when you were young and you put your finger over the end of your soda straw before pulling it out of your drink? The purpose was to hold some soda in your straw and defy gravity. That’s a vacuum holding the soda in the straw. This is a problem for wall hydrants. They can’t drain themselves without air being introduced inside. That round cap above the handle is a vacuum breaker. It’s basically a hole in the faucet with a little bead floating freely. When you turn the water on the bead is forced up to cover an air inlet. When you shut off the wall hydrant the bead falls and air is drawn in through the hole as water drains out.
The key to this vacuum breaker working is your garden hose needs to be removed to allow all the water to drain. If you forget and leave the hose on during the winter, the water is allowed to stay in the housing of the wall hydrant around the long faucet stem. Then it freezes.
When water changes state from liquid to solid a tremendous amount of force is exerted. Over 100,000 pounds per square inch to be exact. I’ve seen huge industrial valves that look like a mortar shell penetrated them. The water freezes slowly and builds pressure in the still liquid water to the breaking point bursting the valve from the inside out.
Why Is There Water In My Basement?!
The tricky part of a burst wall hydrant is that it won’t leak until you turn it on. So you think you got away with something when you forgot to remove your garden hose and nothing happened. But then spring comes and you decide to wash your car. It usually only leaks inside the house. So you’re outside while the water is raining down inside your basement. You turn off the wall hydrant and it stops. Then you go downstairs to find the mess.
Wall Hydrant Replacement
The only way to fix the oops is a wall hydrant replacement. This is an involved procedure that involves shutting off your home water supply, draining it, removing the old wall hydrant and installing a new one. That means accessing the old one. If you have a finished basement the drywall will have to be cut. The old wall hydrant is cut and removed. The new wall hydrant is installed with new mounting screws and soldered to your water pipes.
Cut To The Chase. How Much?
This depends on how difficult it is to access the old wall hydrant, how big a hurry you’re in, what type of valve you want to replace it with and who you call; but mainly who you call. I prefer to install a burst resistant wall hydrant. No need for a repeat of the problem. I’m also a one man plumbing company. That means you’re not going to pay for the huge marketing budget of the large corporate entities you see on television. A range is 250 – 350 on average. And it doesn’t usually take more than half an hour. But you may be left with a hole in your wall.
Why Call Advocate Master Plumbing?
At Advocate Master Plumbing you get what you want; a master plumber with over 20 years of experience. Jerry Miller is the owner, operator and only person in the company. He’s a local Blue Springs residence with a vested interest in caring for his neighbors here and throughout Jackson county. If you need an obnoxious and overworked salesman in your home then don’t call me. I don’t have employees to keep busy or a mansion I’m trying to pay off. I have no interest in being a millionaire. My business is a way of life. I’m part of this community and I’d like to keep things as simple for myself as I try to make things better for the friends and neighbors that employee my services. I’ve worked for the large corporate entities. I know all the same things they do. I do the same quality work; just with a little easier pace, a whole lot more ethics and maybe a little conversation while I work.