There are over seven million fire hydrants in the United States. With so many in service in nearly every city across the country, some are bound to experience issues, which can lead to complicated problems when it comes time to use them. That’s why fire hydrant repair is so important.
So what can cause damage to a fire hydrant? What measures need to be taken to fix those damages? How can you prepare for these problems and/or prevent them from occurring?
Read on to learn more about the five key aspects of fire hydrant repair.
What Kind of Damage?
Automobile incidents are one of the most common causes of damage to fire hydrants. A car backing into or grazing a hydrant can lead to assorted problems, ranging from a tiny crack to a severely bent shaft.
Mother nature can also be a pain. Depending on your region, sub-freezing temperatures can sometimes cause wet-barrel hydrants to freeze and dry-barrel hydrants to have valve failures.
Sometimes inexperienced municipal employees themselves might even be the reason why a hydrant needs repairs. Oftentimes, this happens because they may not realize that there is debris in a hydrant’s system or they may over-tighten to try to shut the hydrant’s valves, which usually results in cracking a valve and creating a leak that must be fixed.
Types of Fire Hydrant Repair
There are multiple ways to repair a fire hydrant, varying from situation to situation. It’s vital to know about some of the most common issues and their solutions.
- Examine the hydrant’s O-rings to make sure they are still functioning properly. If any of them appear deteriorated or damaged, replace them with new factory parts.
- To have your hydrant run as smoothly as possible, you need to annually check its operating nut and stem and lubricate them when necessary. Use approved NSF-61 lubricants for the best result.
- Ground levels around a fire hydrant can change for multiple reasons, such as movements caused by construction or landscaping work. When this happens, it’s crucial that a fire hydrant’s height is adjusted so that it can remain fully functional. You will need to add a fire hydrant extension kit accordingly.
You never know when a fire hydrant might experience one of these situations necessitating repair. That’s why it’s best to be prepared for any and all situations.
The best way you can be ready for hydrant damage is by ensuring you have maintenance and repair kits on hand. Remember that the quicker a hydrant is fixed, the better.
You want to be able to avoid major damage that can lead to an inoperable hydrant, like broken valves. A hydrant that can’t function poses an immediate risk to your structure, as should a fire break out at any point while a hydrant is out of service, there would be no ability for firefighters to connect to the city water supply to fight it.
Hydrant damage is inevitable. However, there are some simple ways you can try to prevent it from happening so frequently.
- Make your fire hydrants as visible as possible to drivers with hydrant makers and bollards.
- If you reside in areas known for seasonal subfreezing temperatures, engage in consistent testing and freeze protection to help make sure the hydrant remains unfrozen and ready for use even during the year’s frigid winter months.
- Perform flow testing.
Flow testing is one of the most important forms of fire hydrant maintenance.
The testing process involves opening the valves through the full range of operation to release a flow of water that exercises the hydrant to clear any build-up of harmful debris.
Additionally, a flow test can discover leaks and problematic valves inside a hydrant’s system. It can also supply important data about the water mains for water service planners and the Fire Prevention Bureau.
As you’ve probably gathered, fire hydrant repair is a lot more complicated than fixing a leaky faucet in your house. However, by understanding all of these crucial aspects, you can make sure that your hydrant is always working correctly.
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