Choosing the Right Fire Hydrant

There are a variety of choices when it comes to fire hydrants. Considerations to be made include water systems, population, and placement.

Here are some suggestions that will help you make the right decision when it comes to fire hydrants.

Color coding

Even though you might come across hydrants gussied up with paint to look like Lego people, the truth is that hydrants are color coded.

Here’s how they break down: 

  • White = Public systems hydrant
  • Yellow = Public water main
  • Red = Special operations ONLY -indicates a water-flow capacity of fewer than 500 gallons per minute (GPM).
  • Violet = Non-potable supply or water that is not suitable for consumption.
  • Orange indicates a water-flow capacity of 500 to 999 GPM.
  • Green indicates a water-flow capacity of 1,000 to 1,499 GPM.
  • Blue indicates a water-flow capacity of 1,500 or greater GPM.

Beyond Colors

Wet Barrel Hydrants

With potential working lifespans of over 100 years when properly maintained, wet barrel hydrants are the industry-standard in warm climates where the ground freezing is not an issue. All of the mechanical parts are located above ground, which means that water in the main supplying the hydrant runs close to the surface. In areas with a winter this means that it is susceptible to freezing. The more basic mechanism is the key to their longevity but is also part of what makes them freeze more easily in cold weather.

Dry Barrel Hydrants

In dry barrel hydrants, the water valve for the hydrant is far below ground in the hydrant’s base. Dry barrel hydrants are available in three varieties: slide-gate, toggle, and compression mechanisms. In dry barrel hydrants, the water valve for the hydrant is far below ground in the hydrant’s base .Since the whole of the system is below the frost line, no water stays in the hydrant after it is used. This drastically reduces the risk of freezing and frost damage to the hydrant. Part of the maintenance cycle of this hydrant is checking whether there is any water in the hydrant’s base, typically using a plumb line to check for moisture. If moisture does appear, it could indicate that the hydrant’s drain valve isn’t working properly, leaving it open to freezing.

Making The Choice

This is just the basic information to begin planning. If you need more information, please contact the experts at Schulte Supply and we will happily walk you through the process of planning and selecting the right hydrant system.

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