Unfreezing a frost free yard hydrant - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Go Back   Homesteading Today > General Homesteading Forums > Homesteading Questions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 01/17/07, 06:17 PM
Idahoe's Avatar
Menagerie More~on
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: It won't stop raining
Posts: 2,039
Unfreezing a frost free yard hydrant

My yard hydrant for the goat barn froze several days ago . . . I use a short hose that reaches the water bucket, and did not make sure it was drained and of course, temps went below zero and you know the rest.

The handle was down. I used a propane torch to get a plug of ice from the hydrant's opening, and of course removed the hose.

It's a typical hydrant, water line about three feet below ground level, not near the well or septic field. Clayton-Mark brand. Gravel bed drainage. Honestly, not a lot of water gets sloshed on to the ground around the hydrant. Daytime temps might go to 20F, so no hope of waiting for it to thaw anytime in the near future. It is located in a low spot where water will run and collect when it rains or thaws.

I put the propane heater on the pipe near the ground and got it real hot, but since the ground is frozen (and will be for a couple more months), I think the heat just won't reach.

I read about taking the head off and pouring hot water into the open pipe, but I'm not strong enough to screw the thing off.

Any ideas? I can certainly get some help, but since I *did* this myself, I'd like to *undo* it myself in case I have a future brain fart and do it again. Thanks in advance .

__________________

It may be that our sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01/17/07, 06:24 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 24

Just keep moving the propane torch up and down the exposed pipe. It will probably take about 30-40 minutes, but it will thaw. I have been there, done that.

__________________

Joe in SD
Never squat with your spurs on.

Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01/17/07, 07:21 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,606

Can you unscrew the hydrant without having a pump come on? If so, you can probably take it indoors to thaw (if it's not too long) and then just replace it. If you do this, cover the well with something and insulate it so that cold air doesn't get down and freeze the well itself while the hydrant is off (no idea if it would or not, but why chance it?).

How about some of the ideas mentioned on the "frozen pipes" thread (battery charger, welder, etc.)?

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01/17/07, 07:26 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,771
thawing "freeze proof" faucets

Ours did it once after a prolonged spell of very cold weather. DH put a heat tape on it, insulated that and wrapped the whole deal in plastic which he then sealed with duct tape. Fortunately, it's close enough to the barn that we can run an outdoor extension cord around the outside of the lot fence to the faucet. I ALWAYS keep a bucket upside down over the faucet to protect the handle from ice coatings.

Good luck.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01/17/07, 07:29 PM
Idahoe's Avatar
Menagerie More~on
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: It won't stop raining
Posts: 2,039

OK Joe, I'll give that a try. I just didn't give it enough time.

A thirty second lapse of attention creates hours of corrective action . . .

__________________

It may be that our sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01/17/07, 08:39 PM
Rockin'B's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: No. Illinois
Posts: 1,447

Just had to do that last Sunday. Unscrew the hose, open the faucet and then run the propane up and down as mentioned previously. It will eventually thaw.

The lesson we learned is to take the hose off each time so it doesn't back up any water and start a freeze plug.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01/17/07, 09:12 PM
bare's Avatar
Head Muderator
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,849

You might want to forgo the propane torch. I had a pipe explode on me once by overheating it with a torch. Either use a heat gun, hairdryer or wrap a towels around the suspected frozen section and pour boiling water over it.

The towel method works quicker'n snot.

__________________

Iraq casualties
3,410 American deaths to date in Iraq
25,345 Americans wounded in action to date (your guess how many have died since and been uncounted)
$424,000,000,000 to date

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01/17/07, 09:26 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 9,958

If the ground is froxen say 6 inches deep you will have to dig up enough to get to unforxen groun then heat it the best way you can. If you heat the pipe you start with the top end and work down. This is to keep the presure from builting up and causing it to exploed. Heat three or four inches at a time and make sure that dteam is coming out of the nozel before heating another three or four inches.When you get to where the groun is not frozen then the thing will work.

__________________

God must have loved stupid people because he made so many of them.

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01/18/07, 07:25 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 897

I've got heat tape and insulation going into the ground on mine but sometimes it's not enough. I build a little structure of bales around it an put an electric heater inside. That usually thaws it out in 24 hrs. or so.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01/18/07, 07:50 AM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 17,225
Quote:
Originally Posted by bare
You might want to forgo the propane torch. I had a pipe explode on me once by overheating it with a torch. Either use a heat gun, hairdryer or wrap a towels around the suspected frozen section and pour boiling water over it.

The towel method works quicker'n snot.
Shouldn't happen in this case, as long as you leave the hydrant on to accomodate any water expansion.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01/18/07, 08:55 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,771

The time ours froze, you couldn't pull the handle up, even though it had been covered. Ice had formed at the bottom of the pipe and locked the valve in place.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01/18/07, 09:20 AM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 17,225

MOgals post gave me an idea. Using a propane torch, heat the valve rod that goes down the center of the pipe. This may carry the heat down the pipe more efficiently.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01/18/07, 10:01 AM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,075

if you heat the pipe evenly up and down and out to the hose attachment the pipe will not explode, as there will be a place for steam to be released to the atmosphere, if you heat a frozen pipe in one area and solid freeze on both sides there is a possibility of pressure problems as there is no place for the steam/water vapor to go. and thus it builds pressure,

I would heat the outside of the pipe and if the control rod is movable (handle) work it up and down as well, as it going through the ice plug,

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01/18/07, 12:22 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 486

We just had to do this after somebody left a hose hooked to the hydrant. I took the big weed burner torch and heated the whole thing from the nozzle to where it went in the ground with the handle up....the big torch only took a minute or two to thaw it, I started hearing a hissing as air got past the frozen water plugging it up, then the water blasted out the last of the ice. Shut it off, no problems after that.

So I vote for the propane torch, just keep heating it with the handle up, it will get warm enough to let the air and water start coming out, its most likely frozen in the upper portion near the nozzle.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01/18/07, 12:55 PM
Rockin'B's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: No. Illinois
Posts: 1,447

I just passed the torch very lightly over the pipe and head. My goal was to melt the water, not boil it. Takes time, but it works.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 01/18/07, 05:52 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: West Central Illinois
Posts: 95

If you have a tall enough cardboard box around, put that over the hydrant and hang a trouble light inside using the highest wattage bulb you have on hand. Turn on overnight and next day it will be thawed.

__________________

__________________________________________________
Get cash back on your online shopping including eBay purchases!
Please use my referral link: BigCrumbs.com
Then refer your friends and earn money!

Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01/18/07, 06:25 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 329

You're water line is only 3 ft. deep? Is that good enough for ID. Here in NE, standard is 5 ft. deep.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01/23/07, 03:07 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,606

Did you get it flowing again?

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01/24/07, 08:45 PM
Dan The Man
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: MN
Posts: 26

I had mine freeze up a couple of weeks ago, and from past experience The torch works good but to speed up the process I warm up what I can and stick a small hose down the pipe and suck the water up then blow it back down to flush the frozen part that is underground with "warm" water. Works great.

__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:38 PM.