riser stopped working

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    A couple of years ago, my son bashed a riser, so we took it out. It was buried about five feet deep. We decided we didn't really need a riser right there, so we removed the damaged riser, capped the line and filled in the hole.

    Last summer, a riser near the house was leaking in several ways, so we decided to replace it. We went to the store and there were eight foot long risers. We figured five feet deep plus three feet above ground would be about right.

    When we dug up the leaking riser we were a big surprised. It was only three feet deep. Oh well. So we ended up with a five foot high riser. A little weird, but oh well.

    Yesterday it got to 27 degrees below zero (F) and the riser worked fine. Today is 5 degrees above and the riser will no longer work.

    My theory is that all that extra metal conducted the cold the full three feet down and now there is a big gob of ice down where there is supposed to never be ice.

    Could this be the case?
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Paul, can I assume a riser and a hydrant are the same? If so, I think it is a combination of the soil slowly cooling deeper and the cold transmitting down the metal. That being the situation some heat to the riser should carry the warmth down to the blockage and you should be back in water. You agree?
     

  3. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    What you are saying sounds reasonable enough to me.

    I'm broke and low on solutions. I was thinking of maybe using a propane torch on it for a while. If I got it warmed up enough, I could put some insulation around the exposed stuff. Maybe even drop in a bale of hay or two around the pipe.
     
  4. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    PAUL
    Make sure that you don't leave the hose conected after you shut it off!A lot of the time the problem is caused by the inability of the water to drain out of the exposed portion :eek:
    Mr. Wanda
     
  5. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    We've been not using a hose. We fill buckets at the riser and pack water to the animals.
     
  6. Yankee1

    Yankee1 Well-Known Member

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    I know they nee to be able to drain at the base. When you were replacing it you may have clogged the hole on the riser or the ground below it is solid (should be sone gravel to drain the water into.
     
  7. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I suppose if the water is getting a bit slushy, it might not drain as well. That could be contributing to the problem. But right now, water doesn't come out at all.

    The temp is supposed to be in the low 20's all day.

    Isn't the ground, about 20 feet down, supposed to be something like 50 degrees all the time?
     
  8. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes the gound temps stay above freezing - below the freeze line. My freeze line is 4 foot so all my lines are buried at 6 foot. What's your freeze line?
     
  9. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Local regs call for 18 inches. But this is three feet, so you would think it would be okay.

    Of course, regular pipes don't have a big "heat sink" like thing sticking out of the ground collecting the cold and carrying it down.
     
  10. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    PAUL
    Idoubt that you have more than just a riser problem unless you have had a lot off very cold weather. If the riser is in the open you might try protecting it from the wind with some tin and build a small charcoal fire around the base of the riser. It will provide a LOT of heat and no flames to contend with :) It will also heat the ground under it if that is part of the problem.
    Mr. Wanda
    Mike
     
  11. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    We had one day of 27 below zero and another day of about 10 below zero. Temp now is about 15 above.

    The water for the house goes through the riser junction. And the house still has water.

    I think the fire idea sounds good. I don't have any charcoal, will wood be okay? I don't think there is any rubber in the top part of the riser, so I think it would be okay to have a bigger fire.

    Anybody else think this would be a good idea? Bad idea?
     
  12. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    Last year we had the riser pipe in the barn freeze up during a week long single digits. I screwed a short cut off section, 2 feet, of garden hose onto the riser. On the other end, I put in a large funnel and poured in a salt warm water solution. It took about a gallon if I remember. I let it set about half hour and tried the hydrant ( riser ) again and it worked! Once the water ran a bit, the salt water was flushed out. After that I wrapped a heavy blanket around the pipe and put some old hay bales on ground . Never had a problem after that. Simple solution.
     
  13. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    I assume you have snow cover still around your frost-free spigot? If so, it's fairly unlikely that the frost has gone three feet deep, although on one memorable occasion in these parts, folks were freezing up at five and six feet deep.

    It was cold enough that I think the water froze in the head or standpipe before it drained out, or as someone else mentioned, the weep hole is plugged.

    A fire or torch to the standpipe could damage either the packing in the head/handle, or the rubber stopper at the bottom.

    I've had the most luck thawing with buckets of boiling water dribbled on wraps of towel.

    If there is no snow cover over the pipe, and there is a lot of traffic in the area, it is possible to drive the frost three feet.
     
  14. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Stack straw around it for a few days. Will the handle lift???


    mikell
     
  15. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Sent too quickly If the handle lifts and no water the set screw at the top may be slipping. It takes a bit to get it adjusted so the valve is not always bypassing thru the drain..

    mikell
     
  16. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Filled a bucket with hot water from the tap (so probably around 120 degrees), and put about half of that into the hose and down.

    It worked! Yay!

    So we used it and used it. Then used it some more. Left it alone for about ten minutes and it wasn't working anymore. So we got another bucket of hot water and repeated the process. We can't seem to get it working again.

    Temp outside is now about 25 degrees.

    What should we try now?
     
  17. 1farmgirl

    1farmgirl Well-Known Member

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    Would a heat tape work?

    Kathy
     
  18. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Yaknow Paul, It seemed pretty warm today, compared to the last few days, but it was still pretty darn cold.

    I was thawing out a tenant this morning and they offered me a cup of coffee that I politely declined. They twisted my arm just a tad and I welcomed it. Drank about half of it and set it down on an electrical pedestal for about 10 minutes. When I crawled back up from under the trailer the coffee was frozen in the cup!

    The wind was darn cold and I think your frost free isn't draining and is still freezing up. Heat tape or strawbales surrounding it should fix the problem for the rest of the winter, then you'll have to dig it up and replace it.
     
  19. earthship

    earthship Well-Known Member

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    Of course, a discussion about how to install a hydrant water feed is a bit moot with you out of water - but it is a must to dig below and around the base of the hydrant and place some rock that will help drain the water away from the base. If too much water collects at the base it can cause a problem. For the moment I like the heat tape on the exposed area of the pipe idea. You will have to get the area considerably warmer to unfreeze the problem ;-( Good luck.
     
  20. kate

    kate Well-Known Member

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    am having trouble posting this..........