How to Install a Yard Water Hydrant

  • 01 of 06

    Introduction

    Install a water hydrant
    Aaron Stickley

    A water hydrant in your yard is a great way to have accessible water where you need it, whether for watering your trees and shrubs or any other reason. This tutorial will show the general steps for completing this project.

    • CAUTION: this project assumes you have access to underground PVC water lines running through your yard, such as the lines supplying water to an underground irrigation system. If you have this situation, installing a yard spigot is relatively easy, though time-consuming. The...MORE project will be more complicated in situations where there is no available water line, or where the underground lines are copper or iron pipes rather than PVC plastic. And the project can get much more labor intensive in colder, northern climates, where underground water lines may be buried as much as 4 feet deep in order to be below the seasonal frost level. It's still a project that can be done, but it involves a lot of digging. 

    Installed properly, no draining is required with a yard water hydrant, because its self-draining design keeps water out of the standpipe so it cannot freeze.

    Installing a water hydrant is easy if there is already an existing water supply line at that location. If a water supply is not available, you will need to run a new line to where the yard water hydrant needs to be. In this demonstration project, the hydrant is being installed near some in-ground sprinkler valves, where it is easy to cut in a tee fitting to the PVC water supply pipes. You will save a lot of digging and trenching if you can locate a water supply line in the area you're planning to install your water hydrant.

    Difficulty Level

    • Moderate-to-difficult

    Tools and Materials You Will Need

    • Shovels
    • PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw
    • Tee fitting 
    • PVC solvent glue
    • MIP adapter (male-threaded fitting)
    • Plumber's tape
    • 90° PVC elbow
    • Level
    • Pipe-joint compound
    • Yard hydrant with standpipe and drain valve
    • Channel-type pliers
    • PVC pipe (sized as needed)
    • Scrap pieces of metal rebar
    • Bag of fine rock or gravel
    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Dig the Hole for the Water Hydrant

    Dig A hole for a yard hydrant
    Aaron Stickley

    Dig up the area around the planned water hydrant and the water source. The water source can be pretty deep, depending on the frost depth of your area, so dig a hole wide enough to give you plenty of room to work. You'll also need enough room to insert the tee fitting into the water line, so dig far enough back around the PVC pipe enough to allow for some movement. Be careful when digging around an existing water source so that you don't accidentally break a pipe with the shovel and...MORE create additional work for yourself.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Drain the Water from the Pipes

    1. Shut off the water supply to the house. Alternatively, if you can isolate the area you are working on, shut the water off for that section of the house.
    2. With the water supply turned off, open a hose bib somewhere around the house to drain down the water in the line. This will minimize the amount of water that will drain into your work area when you make the cut for the tee.
    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Install a Tee Fitting

    A PVC tee
    Aaron Stickley

    If you have enough room, it is possible to cut out a small section of the run and install a tee in that location. If not, you might need to redo the irrigation system manifold in order to give yourself plenty of room to work. Cut out a small section of pipe and glue the tee fitting in place first, before worrying about the line to the hydrant. Make sure the tee is aiming in the direction you want by using a level and small piece of pipe dry-fit into the side outlet on the tee fitting.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Prepare the Hydrant

    Yard hydrant fittings
    Aaron Stickley

    Install the MIP adapter to the bottom of the water hydrant standpipe with plumber's tape and a small amount of pipe joint compound spread over the tape. The MIP adapter has male threads that attach to the drain valve at the bottom of the standpipe, with a smooth socket that will then be solvent-glued to the PVC water supply pipes. Also, for added protection from clogging, you can install a small 1/8" 90° elbow into the drain valve, pointing downward. This will help make sure the valve...MORE does not easily clog with dirt that can come in from the sides. With the water hydrant ready to go, you are ready to make your final connections.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Glue, Test and Backfill

    Yard hydrant installation
    Aaron Stickley
    1. Cut the pipes and select the fittings needed to join the hydrant to the water supply tee fitting. Test fit these fittings to make sure everything fits ​correctly.
    2. Glue all of the PVC pipes and fittings together using solvent glue, making sure you have glued every joint. Since the water hydrant is heavy, you may need to hold it in place as the glue dries. Staking the vertical standpipe with a few pieces of metal rebar will give it extra support. 
    3. Give the glue plenty of time to dry, then turn on...MORE the water and inspect the pipes and fittings for leaks.
    4. Fill the bottom of the hole around the drain valve with fine rock or gravel. The rocks will improve drainage and help the hydrant work properly. If you find the hydrant is still too wobbly, you can mix a bag of concrete and fill the upper area around of the water hydrant.
    5. Fill in the remainder of the hole with soil.