Next Question, Grass Hydrant?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by Jigger, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Jigger

    Jigger New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Remember the two hunting camps? Well I am set with the submersible pump the single pressure tank with the 30 to 50 pressure switch and the CSV if desired. I thought I would use grass hydrants at each camp to drain them. I plan on using heat tape from the hydrant to the camp to stop the line from freezing when in use. Will I have a problem with the hydrant freezing? How about the first two feet in the ground? What do you think? Thanks. Jim

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2007
  2. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Sorry, not familiar with a "Grass Hydrant".
  3. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Genuine yard hydrants need no heat tape. The standpipe will drain after each use, and the hydrant seat will be located below the frost line. What they won't do, is function as deep drains, since the drain hole is closed when the hydrant is open.

    How deep is your frost line?
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    hydrants

    They will drain the house down to the level of the hose connection on the hydrant. When they shut off, the water in the riser will drain out, but the water in the building will still be there.
  5. Jigger

    Jigger New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I will be using the camp when temps may be in the single digits. This is when I am worried about it freezing. Valveman they work like a fire hydrant, but a lot smaller. When you shut them off the hydrant part drains off. Jim
  6. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    That is what I call a Frost Free Hydrant. As long as the hydrant is open, it is susceptible to freezing all the way down to the frost line. When closed, the hydrant may not drain back well until you disconnect the hose and let it have some air. Heat tape may not be good enough to keep it from freezing when a cold wind is blowing.

    You could bury the lines to the camps. Then in a valve box use a ball valve to shut the water off. After the ball valve you could install a bleeder orifice that would allow everything to drain back to the valve box when the ball valve is closed.
  7. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    A.K.A. Yard Hydrant
    These look like what you want. You open the handle to get your water then once the handle is closed it drains back into the ground. It is like a stop and waste. When you open the handle it blocks the waste port and lets water through the valve. Close the handle the water drains down the pipe into the soil.
    I have never installed one, but do think this is what you are looking for. You want to make sure you place the bottom of the pipe well below the frost line or it will never work.
    If you use these properly They will not freeze. If your pipes are below the frost line they will not freeze. The yard hydrant is what you need as long as it is used right. Keeping a hose on it with a shut off attached is not the right way. using the hydrant and letting it turn off is the right way.
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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2007
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A grass or yard hydrant is a frost free hydrant. They will not be a viable choice for your use. They will not drain the underground line as you want to. I've installed them for water treatment customers running water around a farm. You want loads of gravel for the drain and there has to be sufficient volume in the hole to accept all the drain water from numerous drainings. If not, freeze up off the bottom 2-3' of the hydrant can occur.

    You need a totally under the frost level by 6-12" water system, except where it enters a cabin vertically, that is easily and quickly shut down and drained at one point.

    You have to allow or introduce air into a pipe to get the water in it to flow out the far end; or your drain in this case. You can not have any 'bellies' in the lines because all the water will not drain out of the line back to the drain. When water freezes, the volume of ice is bigger than the liquid volume of the water being frozen. The freeze will be from the top down, and ice floats in/on water, plugging water lines with bellies before all the water freezes. The expansion then busts pipes. Well metal before plastic but the best plastic is PE pipe or PEX. They are forgiving of freeze ups; PVC and CPVC are not.

    You need a large central dry well for the drain. I'd use like an empty 55 gal plastic barrel with 3/8" holes all over the top sides and bottom, about every 2". Not large enough holes to let gravel in. It would be buried so the top is 12-15" below the frost line (and the water line would be on top of it, running across the top of the barrel), with about 12" of gravel around and under the barrel. I would cover the top of it and the gravel surrounding it with tough plastic like overlapped by 2-3" softener salt bags and then with 3/4" marine grade plywood or pressure treated 2x6 or 8" with another layer of plastic over the wood and then back fill to grade over all of it.

    The water line would have to run downhill to the top of the barrel at least 2" to insure adequate pitch from both cabins for the water to run out and not pool on top the barrel.

    You'd also need some way to drain the line. I might go an inexpensive normally open 120v solenoid (we use a NC version for a UV light - $50-125 each). It would be on a tee in the dry well below the frost line on top of the barrel.

    I'd pay for electric to keep it closed while we use the cabin(s) and when we turn off the electric or lose it from a power outage, the solenoid opens draining the pipe while the pressure bleeds off the water in the plumbing and pressure tank because the power to the pump was lost or shut off too (at the same time or by the same switch or circuit breaker). One probelm would be a loss of power in the middle of the night and no one opens a faucet to allow air into the plumbing, in both cabins. Another solenoid, a NC, at the highest point of the water line in each cabin, that opens when power is lost or shut off, would do that. They would be on a tee and their outlet could be plumbed with a vacuum breaker so in the event of an accidental power turned off situation, you wouldn't have water spraying all over the cabin... or simply power them off the same switch/circuit breaker the drain solenoid is power off. I'm just winging this right now ya know (I've added this above).

    The power cable to the solenoid would be bury able well pump cable with waterproof heat shrink connections. I'd put the solenoid in a more or less sealed cover box with 5-6' ect of excess cable so when needed I can pull it up out of the ground to change a solenoid valve. And to do that, you might not want to bury everything permanently, just to keep it from freezing and accessible.
  9. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,485
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Gary has a good idea for what it takes to keep it from freezing. Only thing I would add is that you can use a regular bleeder orifice to drain the system into the French Drain instead of a solenoid valve. The bleeder opens when there is no pressure on it an drains the system. When you turn off power to the pump and open a faucet, the lose of pressure will open the bleeder, the faucet will allow air in, and the system will drain if it is all down hill to the bleeder.
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    What is this guy's frost line? If it's around three feet or less, he could terminate a line with a 3/4-inch rising-stem 'sprinkler angle valve' that gets operated by a steel key. Deeper than that, and a curb stop could be used for a drain, with appropriate screening on the outlet.
    (2-inch sprinkler angle valves)
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