When you’re looking to add more water accessibility in a large outdoor space, a hydrant can be just the thing you need. An outdoor hydrant has many uses and is a fairly simple instrument, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Shopping for an outside hydrant doesn’t have to be like that, though. Knowing more about the field and the technology can demystify the whole situation and make it a lot easier for you to make the best choice for your organization or property. This blog post is here to provide you all the pertinent information so that you can make the best choice available to you.
First, we’ll go over the different parts of an outdoor hydrant and make sure you have a clear understanding of how this technology functions. Then, we’ll answer some common questions about outside hydrants. We’ll cover all the different aspects of these hydrants that you’re probably wondering about, like aesthetics, maintenance, and cost, to name a few. It’s all in here, and you should be an expert by the end of this piece. If not, we’ll also let you know how you can seek more information so you can make the right decision.
With all the preamble out of the way, let’s dive right in.
Basically, an outdoor hydrant transports water from whatever water supply you’re using to the surface through a series of pipes and valves. When you activate it, the plunger raises, which lets the water flow up through the valve body and the standpipe. The plunger is also blocking off the drain port in this position, so the water all has to go one way: Out the spout.
When the outdoor hydrant is not in use, the plunger is positioned below the drain port. The drain is always located well below the frost line, so any water remaining in the stand pipe will flow down and out into the ground.
This is how most outdoor hydrants function, but do keep in mind there are some variations on the market. Some don’t drain water out into the soil but instead use an internal reservoir (and we’ll talk about the issues with these kinds of models in a later section).
Perhaps more evident than the draining mechanism, though, is the handle. The way to operate an outside hydrant varies between different models. Some have a handle that you turn, while others have one that you raise and lower. The circular, turning handles tend to be more decorative, but the handles that you lift are more common and classic.
The short answer is, it shouldn’t. However, if freezing pipes are issues in your climate, then you need to make sure you’re installing frost-free hydrants. These models either drain out all the water from the system and deposit it below the frost line, or they have a heating element. The draining options are much more common, and they’re more budget-friendly than any hydrants with an adding heating component.
In the previous section about how yard hydrants work, we explained how the draining component makes sure that no water remains in the pipes that are above the frost line. If there’s no water to freeze, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
However, there are still some steps you can take to keep your outdoor hydrant in proper working order when spring comes around again. Making sure your outside hydrant drains properly and completely when it’s cold out is super important. Air has to enter through the spout for that draining to happen, and as such, anything attached to the spout (like a hose) is going to prevent that process.
The exact price will depend on which company and model you choose for your outside hydrant. More basic hydrants can start in the $60 range, while the top-of-the-line options can be closer to $600.
Also keep in mind that some models are more decorative than others. If you’re looking for a more aesthetically appealing outdoor hydrant, you might have to pay more. Another differentiating factor is whether the outside hydrant is meant for drinking water or not. Because of the more strict requirements for hydrants that you’re going to be drinking out of, those will likely cost more.
The price of the equipment itself is definitely important, but so is the cost of the labor to install it. Make sure you budget for a professional to come in and do it if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. It’s not really a job for an amateur, so make sure you truly have all the experience and knowledge necessary if you decide to take installation in-house. Otherwise, find a reputable (and reasonable) expert to do it for you.
Outdoor hydrants are great choices for lots of farms, campgrounds, or residential lots where there’s a lot of land and few spigots to go around. The point of adding an outside hydrant is for convenience, so in terms of actual placement, make sure it’s somewhere you’ll actually use it. If you can make it closer to the water supply, that will save you some money on extra piping. However, that’s not always feasible.
In short, the best place to put an outdoor hydrant is where you need it. A central location in a large garden might be ideal so you don’t have to lug a hose all the way from the nearest building, or right by the animals’ enclosure on a farm. If you’re using a hydrant to wash down sidewalks or streets, then it’s a good idea to have it somewhere out of the way enough to not be a hazard but central enough to be convenient.
It’s really all common sense. Anywhere that you need water outside could be a good place to put one of these hydrants.
Most of the time, an outside hydrant is not a decorative choice. It’s strictly utilitarian. So, there aren’t really a lot of cutesy options out there. Like we mentioned earlier, if you don’t like the looks of a typical pull handle design, you might prefer a circular, turnable one instead. However, that’s pretty much it when it comes to aesthetic options on one of these hydrants.
If you want your outdoor hydrant to blend into its surroundings as much as possible, you might consider one of the options we’ll discuss in more detail in a later section that sits pretty much flush with the ground. Passers by likely won’t even notice it’s there.
Otherwise, your options are fairly limited, but there are definitely more ornamental options out there for you to look into. Just don’t get too hung up on the aesthetics of an outside hydrant — it’s a tool, not a piece of art. If you’re concerned about how it looks, pay attention to placement. See if you can put it somewhere out of the way and harder to notice.
In a word, no. They should not need to be serviced very often at all. When they do need to be maintained, though, you won’t have to do any digging. They’re serviceable from above ground. This is a big benefit, as it means any work that does need to be done, like replacing parts, can be accomplished without disturbing the area or messing with the connection to the water source. It’s fairly convenient.
As we discussed earlier, an outdoor hydrant is going to be self-draining, but some hydrants do require a few extra maintenance steps in the winter. Winterizing is typically only a concern with hydrants that keep water in an internal reservoir, not those that drain into the soil. These tend to be sanitary hydrants; if you’re not going to be getting drinking water from your outside hydrant, then you can get one that drains into the soil and not have to worry about any winterizing. It’s important to ensure that no water remains in those reservoirs during the winter.
Other than those few concerns and addressing any part failures that crop up over time, there shouldn’t be much maintenance for an outdoor hydrant. That’s part of what makes them such useful tools for large outdoor areas like campgrounds and farms — you don’t have to worry too much about them, and they do their jobs well.
In terms of yard hydrants, Kupferle has three main models. Let’s look at each of them in detail.
The first is the Total Eclipse #36. This model is a below-grade, brass washdown hydrant. Common uses for this option include washing down streets and sidewalks, but they’re also great choices for watering needs for gardens and lawns. Unlike what we’ve described so far, this hydrant doesn’t stick up out of the ground. Instead, it lays flush with the ground. This is a great option if you don’t want your outdoor hydrant to draw a lot of attention to itself. If you’re worried about the aesthetics of one of these hydrants, then this kind can go pretty much unnoticed, not interrupting the sightlines in your garden while providing all the watering benefits of more obtrusive models.
The second kind of yard hydrant from Kupferle is the Truflo #TF100-O. This is an ornamental option that would be a good fit for lots of organizations that don’t want an eyesore of an outdoor hydrant on their property. For a well-performing, general all-purpose yard hydrant, this model delivers a lot of value. It’s also self-draining, non-freezing, and its unique valve design allows for higher flow rates. So, it’ll provide a lot of benefits without a lot of hassle.
The third and final model of outside hydrant Kupferle manufacturers is called the Corn King #903. It’s similar in appearance to the Truflo #TF100-O, but it has some important differences. The Truflo #TF 100-O has a cast iron casing guard, while the Corn King does not. The Truflo model is also more customizable — you can choose whether you want the outlet to be ¾” GHT or 1” MNPT, whereas the Corn King is only available with a ¾” GHT nozzle.
Depending on your needs, any of these options could be a great fit. Consider what you’re looking to get out of an outside hydrant, and reach out if you’re interested in hearing more about our offerings.
Now that you’ve got a lot of the basics covered, you should have enough information to shop around and find an outside hydrant that ticks off all of your boxes. Whether you’re searching for a solution to make potable water a little more accessible in more remote areas like campsites or you’re simply trying to make it a little easier to water a garden, outdoor hydrants could be the answer.
For campgrounds, large gardens, farms, or other big outdoor areas where there’s not easy access to water, a yard hydrant is an essential way to keep things running smoothly. They’re useful and utilitarian, but as we’ve explained, there are some aesthetic choices you can make if you decide you’d like something to suit your outdoor area. You should definitely explore your options if any of these things apply to your space and you’re looking for a way to get water out to more remote parts of your property.
If you still have questions about these types of hydrants or anything else related to water system technology, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team here at Kupferle. With our long history of high-quality products, we’ve got lots to offer, from outdoor hydrants, like the ones we’ve discussed here, to intelligent monitoring and flushing products, and so much more in between. We look forward to hearing from you!