Barn renovation, frost free hydrants?

if the hose has been coiled up hanging, the bottom of each loop act like a P trap, it will not drain … but if you break the seal by loosing the hose at the hydrant the hydrant should drain (but good old hose will or can be frozen unless drained)

We had hydrants set at 42 inches in Kentucky then the great winters of the late 1970s froze the hydrants AND the water lines… gave up moved south.

Thanks for the clarification. When I just loosen the hose connection I usually forget to re-tighten it, and then I get sprayed with icy water.

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We too have the ability to shut things off. We installed it that way on purpose.

That does not negate the grumpiness caused by lots of digging.

That is why you unscrew it all the way. :wink: So it is obvious it is not attached.

We have to take the hose back inside the heated garage every time anyway, so taking it all the way off would be happening anyway.

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If someone says that their frost free hydrants only last 5 years don’t use them to install!

Mine was outdoors in central Michigan for 20 years with no issues. I just followed the recommendations (don’t leave any hose or connector attached).

I do always request 2 pipe clamps to be installed instead of one. Costs less than a dollar but can save a lot later if one fails.

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Sorry trubandloki, I was trying to respond to chanter’s post, not to you.

We have some that are over 50 years old and still work fine.
I don’t think we have ever had to replace or work on any hydrant and probably have installed dozen’s of them over the decades.
We also leave a hole in the concrete to dig one out, just never needed to.

Be sure they install them properly and have a good way to drain on the bottom.
We use this system, an old plastic bottle to keep anything getting to the drain and gravel on the bottom of the hole.
Freeze line here is at 36’.
The one in the picture was installed some 16 years ago and is working like a new one, the other one is there to show how we put a plastic bottle on the bottom:

We have three in our barn aisle: one at each end and one in the middle. At the base of each we have 1’x 2’ drain area of 2-3" crushed stone. It’s been 14 years and even with our VERY hard water, we’ve only had to replace the stopper in the bottom for two of the hydrants. Or plumber suggested when we installed them to put in a fitting half way up the exposed pipe. That let us tuck the hydrants in reasonably close to walls as all we have to do is unscrew the coupling with two pipe wrenches. Also we use the quick couplings on the faucets that don’t have an auto shut off so the hydrants drain as soon as they are detached.

Remember that when you have to take the darn things apart, they’re nearly 10 feet of pipe etc that will have t come straight up out of the ground. (We’re in New England, so ours may be deeper than yours.) Make sure there’s head room. And you will learn that if you leave the attached hose in whatever you just filled, when you turn the hydrant off it’ll drain the just filled item too. Everybody here has done it at least once!

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I guess some crappy hydrants last 5 years. The Campbell’s in my barn SUCKED. I was so happy to dig those out (tough job!) and replace with the Woodford Iowa hydrants. Those will last forever.


No quick connects in frozen weather? I didn’t know that - thanks for sharing.

There are quick disconnects that include a stop so that when no hose is attached no water (or air) goes thru. I can see how that style would not work in the winter. The normal style works just fine in the winter (except for when the quick disconnect gets wet and freezes but that is not what they are talking about here).

OP, I’m in South Central PA, very similar weather to your location. If you are doing an install consider putting one inside and one outside. Nice option when we do get snow to be in the barn and nice to not have to run a hose from inside to out in the summer to fill troughs. Bringing in the equipment to trench the lines is the expensive piece. When you do it cover all your bases. Compared to the digging the faucets and install are cheap and and extra faucet in a convenient spot (for the garden etc) is a nice luxury. Springing for at least one outdoor auto Waterer REALLY a nice luxury. Also aren’t crazy expensive compared to so many other horsey Reno projects and so nice this time of year in PA.

How does he think a large chunk of the planet waters their animals through the winter? yikes.

Right. I just asked my dear hubby and he said what we have is just the connect - nothing blocked.

I’ve got to add why not have a hydrant wherever you might be filling a trough? We installed Nelson
waterers but I’ve got a 16 gal heated tub next to the hydrant and boy is it convenient to fill. Wanted to be extra sure my muzzled horses were drinking and have yet to see my one critter drink from the waterer with her muzzle on.

Have a short hose and with the quick connect it’s easy peasy. Fill, remove hose and hang inside barn.

Do have my hydrant covered so no one fiddles with it or gets caught - have cardboard box over it that fits perfectly and it sits under my lean next to the barn wall.

Any time putting water lines in, be sure to have every so often and in strategic places line cutoffs, so you can work on anything that needs work by cutting the water supply to it.

We have bigger globe valves in the line with a larger plastic pipe with a long cut-off metal rod and a cap, so we can turn lines off.
Where we have more than one line, we use regular manhole cylinders with iron tops, like in cities.

Much better than needing to cut the water at the pump and drain all lines to fix some place down the lines.

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Wow, so much good info here! And yes, perhaps it would be nice to have a hydrant outside too. Although, the trough will be located about 25’ from where the hydrant inside the barn will be.

I’ll be sure to find out what brand of hydrant the plumber plans on using, and all of these tips about keeping the hose disconnected and such are very helpful, thanks!

I’m moving to Missouri in a few months and will need to install hydrants and auto-waterers to barn and fields. I’m going to install them to take on cold winters (it’ll be 6 degrees at night this week) even though some in the area don’t. I’m wondering where you install the waterline cutoffs? Are they underground?

I’ll be moving from northern IL (where it hasn’t been above 11 degrees for a week) to Missouri. I’ve had no problems with outside frost-free hydrants that were installed 17 years ago. Our plumber was amazing! Our more recent plumber is not - long story.

Make sure you buy a Woodford frost-free hydrant. We’ve had one that was here when we moved here and that was 38 years ago, so it’s probably 50 years old. All the others are junk. I was replacing one every year for awhile, and they were only lasting a year. The Woodfords are the only ones worth spending money on.

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I leave my hose on since it’s hard to get it back on. I hang a bucket over the hydrant (can’t lift handle without moving it) to remind me and anyone else that the hose needs to be tightened again.

I hate screwing on a hose in cold weather (and we are an hour from Minneapolis and it does get cold here). I have found a quick disconnect called Gatorlock which makes hose connection much easier. One part stays on our frost hydrant and the other stays on the hose end. Then I fit them together when water is wanted and close the little ear cams to secure the connection. I can do that without removing my gloves. The Gatorlocks are heavy plastic and a bit larger than ordinary quick disconnects. I have never had ice freeze in the throat of the frost hydrant part and I can easily move the cams by tapping with a small hammer if needed.

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