Yard Hydrant will not drain down


I have a yard hydrant in my barn and it began dripping all the time this past summer. In fall I replaced all the internal parts with a repair kit, this includes the rubber stopper on the bottom of the long shaft-rod, and all packings. It no longer leaks or drips, but it refuses to drain down, so when the weather got cold, it froze up. Fortunately I caught it before it did any damage, and have been keeping an electric heater next to it.
I have adjusted it as the directions stated, and every adjustment between running to unable to push the shaft down. It just will not drain down. Someone said the ground may be saturated, but it's been shut off for 3 weeks since I repaired it and should have drained by now. Someone else said the drain hole may be plugged and I will have to dig it up. I keep thinking there is a way to blow that hole open with compressed air, (but how)?
Finally, I wont be digging it up till spring. Elec. heaters use a lot of energy, so I will get a heat tape. The local hardware store guy insists that I can not spiral the heat tape around the pipe. I did that on another pipe 10 years ago and it still works fine. I told him this. He said that the newer tapes can only be run in a straight line up the pipe. Now, let me ask how the hell is that going to keep the entire one inch pipe thawed in 20 below zero weather, and the "new" heat tape looks exactly like the older kind except costing 50 PERCENT more. What;s the scoop about this pipe heat tape? Yes, i DO know to never overlap it, but I have always spiralled it along a pipe. I think this guy is an idiot, but thought I'd see what you all have to say.
Thanks
Carl
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Follow the instructions that came with the tape, not what possibly il-informed sales clerk said. Here is what the US Gov Products safety commission says: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5045.html
Here are a couple of more links for you:
http://www.mobilehomerepair.com/article9.htm
http://www.mygreathome.com/fix-it_guide/heat_tape.htm
This is the google search term used if you want more: newer heat tape installation
In a barn at 20 below I would add a layer of unfaced fiberglass insulation while leaving the thermostat exposed. Use nothing that will burn in contact with the pipe or insulation
I might also do wide spirals on a 1" pipe even if it said do a straight run.
You can try using an air compressor set down to about 40 psi to unblock the drain. It is also possible that the wrong kit was used and you are blocking the hole. Before I dug it up, I would turn off the water, remove the stem unit and briefly turn the water on to flush and loose bits or pieces out of the valve body which might be blocking the drain hole.
--
Colbyt
Please come visit www.househomerepair.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
It no longer leaks or drips, but it refuses to drain down, so when the weather got cold, it froze up.
CY: I presume you took the hose off?
Fortunately I caught it before it did any damage, and have been keeping an electric heater next to it.
CY: Ouch, expensive heat.
I have adjusted it as the directions stated, and every adjustment between running to unable to push the shaft down. It just will not drain down.
CY: Unable to push the shaft down? Is that how you know it's full of water? We hae yard hydrants in NYS, but that doesn't compute.
Someone said the ground may be saturated, but it's been shut off for 3 weeks since I repaired it and should have drained by now. Someone else said the drain hole may be plugged and I will have to dig it up. I keep thinking there is a way to blow that hole open with compressed air, (but how)?
CY: If the drain hole is closed, I'd think to close the valve (handle down). Build a rig so that you can adapt garden hose thread (on the end of the spout) to a valve, and a plug for your air compresssor hose. Handle down, hook up the compressor to the spout, and give er about 20 PSI, see if that helps. The drain hole ought to be off the vertical tube, and that should do it.
Finally, I wont be digging it up till spring. Elec. heaters use a lot of energy, so I will get a heat tape. The local hardware store guy insists that I can not spiral the heat tape around the pipe. I did that on another pipe 10 years ago and it still works fine. I told him this. He said that the newer tapes can only be run in a straight line up the pipe. Now, let me ask how the hell is that going to keep the entire one inch pipe thawed in 20 below zero weather, and the "new" heat tape looks exactly like the older kind except costing 50 PERCENT more. What;s the scoop about this pipe heat tape? Yes, i DO know to never overlap it, but I have always spiralled it along a pipe. I think this guy is an idiot, but thought I'd see what you all have to say.
Cy: Read the package. Spiraling the tape would give you more watts per foot, which can be a good thing. Some heat tapes, the cheaper ones. if you overlap, it gets TOO hot, and burns out. I'd go ahead with the spiral, and would also put some foam wrap over the heat tape.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.