If you’re not experienced with plumbing and well systems, I strongly recommend you consult with a professional to avoid costly mistakes or safety hazards.
How to Install a Water Hydrant From a Well Pump
This is a general rundown, and specific steps might vary depending on your location, local codes, and the type of well pump and yard hydrant you’re using.
You’ll find a lot of yard hydrants on the market, but experts recommend the Woodford Y34. It’s been around for about a century. It comes in varying lengths to accommodate the frost lines of various regions.
- Freezeless water hydrant
- PVC or polyethylene (PEX) pipes and fittings
- Shovels and digging tools
- Pipe wrenches and pliers
- Check valve
- Pipe glue and primer (if using PVC pipes)
- Teflon tape or pipe thread sealant
- Concrete block
- Concrete or sturdy pipe
Step 1: Select your location.
Before breaking ground, take time to assess your property’s layout and needs.
Where do you do most of your outdoor work? That’s likely where you’re going to want to put your yard hydrant.
If the vehicles you want to wash or your homestead garden is on the north side of your property, don’t install your hard hydrant on the south side. Simple as that.
Factor in the distance from structures, fences, or other potential obstructions to ensure easy access and maneuverability around the hydrant.
While functionality takes precedence, don’t overlook aesthetics. A well-placed hydrant can seamlessly blend into your landscape, enhancing both form and function.
Step 2: Dig a trench.
Before breaking into the soil, ensure you have the necessary tools listed above and a clear plan, as well as the proper permits according to local regulations.
Begin by marking the trench’s path using stakes or spray paint, following the route from the well pump to your chosen hydrant location.
To know what depth you need to dig to, research your region’s frost line.
The frost line is the depth at which groundwater will freeze. You need to dig deep enough that the pipes will not freeze, so, below the frost line. The colder your area, the deeper the frost line.
Be cautious not to disrupt existing utility lines or cables that might be buried beneath the surface.
If your property requires a lengthy trench, consider renting trenching equipment to expedite the process and ensure precision.
Once the trench is excavated, you’re ready for the next stage.
Step 3: Lay down the water lines.
With the trench prepared, it’s time to begin the crucial step of pipe installation — a careful process that connects your water hydrant to the well pump.
Begin by gathering the necessary materials, including gravel, concrete block, pipes, fittings, connectors, and any adhesive required for your chosen pipe type.
Start from the well pump, where you should install a check valve to control water flow. This prevents water from the pipes in your yard reentering your household water supply.
Probably a good idea to ensure the valve is completely closed for the duration of the project.
Lay out the water line along the trench, carefully connecting each piece using the designated fittings.
When joining PVC pipes, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for using primer and glue, or if you’re using PEX, the proper clamping procedure.
This ensures a strong and leakproof connection. Take care to align the pipes properly and avoid sharp bends or kinks that could impede water flow.
When you reach the location where you want your hydrant to be, dig a hole one foot deeper than your trench and about three times the width of your concrete block.
Set the concrete block on its end. Your yard hydrant is going to sit atop this for support.
See this image for a visual representation of the setup.
Step 4: Install the yard hydrant.
As the underground plumbing takes shape, the spotlight shifts to the hydrant installation.
First, connect your pipe to the hydrant valve body using a tee. The tee will sit on the concrete block you’ve installed.
Be sure to aim the valve body’s drain port so it’s facing down. This feature is what makes your yard hydrant “freezeless.” When you close (turn off) your hydrant, water is left in the pipe. If it doesn’t drain, the pipe freezes.
Finally, connect the hydrant to the valve body and underground pipes using the appropriate fittings and connectors. Yard hydrants vary in length, so be sure you’ve chosen one the right length for the depth of your trench.
Support the hydrant while you arrange the backflow. You can do this by having a teenager hold it. They’ll love that. Or, if you haven’t a teenager on hand, you can prop it up with wooden boards.
Step 5: Test the hydrant.
This phase tests that your water hydrant is working and none of the pipes you’ve connected are leaking.
Open the hydrant (turn it on), or have the teenager who’s holding it do it. As it runs, look for leaks along the pipe, all the way from the well pump to the hydrant itself.
You may want to enlist a helper to look for leaks while the pump runs, especially if your hydrant is particularly far from your well pump. One teenager is already holding the hydrant steady, so you’ll need to make sure they brought a friend or two.
Fix any leaks you might find before backfilling.
Step 6: Backfill the trench.
As the hydrant stands ready to deliver water, the installation process advances to the finishing touches, i.e., backfilling.
To begin the backfilling process, carefully add gravel to the area around the concrete block you’ve sat the hydrant atop.
This ensures the drain port drains properly and prevents the area around your concrete base becoming a muddy pit, which could jeopardize the structural integrity of your hydrant.
As you add the backfill, compact it gently to prevent it from settling over time. Make sure the gravel reaches a few inches above the drain port.
You could use a large bucket cut strategically to fit around the drain port, then filled with the gravel like in this video, but you don’t have to.
When you’ve added sufficient gravel around the valve body and almost all the way to the frost line, cover the gravel with plastic sheeting to prevent other materials from clogging it up, which could prevent proper drainage.
Next, you’re going to backfill your entire trench with the soil you dug up.
Step 7: Secure the hydrant.
Once the trenches are filled and the hydrant is securely nestled, you need to install extra support at ground level. This is because it takes pressure to open and close the hydrant, and you’re likely to jostle it.
You might prefer a concrete base, but you can also use a sturdy wooden post or steel pipe. Whichever you choose, ensure that if you push on the hydrant, it won’t go anywhere.
To use concrete, leave a shallow hole around the hydrant’s pipe after you backfill. Mix the amount of concrete you’ll need according to the instructions and add it to the hole. Wait for it to dry before using the hydrant.
If you’re not going to secure the hydrant with concrete, you’ll need to install a wooden post or pipe deep in the soil adjacent to the hydrant. You want it deep enough that it’s going to stay still, and you want to secure the hydrant to the post with pipe clips or zip ties.
A properly installed yard hydrant can increase your property’s functionality and value. It means you can work with water outside year-round instead of only three seasons.
If you’re the handy type, you might even be able to complete this project over one weekend. If you’re not particularly handy, it’s a good idea to reach out to more experienced people for assistance.
For more well pump information, see our anthology of well pump how-to guides.
Want to know more about well water pumps and well systems in general? Check out these additional sources that provide comprehensive and useful information:
- Everything You Need to Know About Well Water
- Best Water Filtration System for Well Water
- How to Pull a Well Pump
- How to Unfreeze a Well Water Pump
- How to Pump Water From a Well Without Electricity
- How to Prime a Well Water Pump
- How to Increase Pressure on a Well Pump
- Well Water Pump Costs
- Best Shallow Well Pumps
- Why Your Well Pump Is Short-Cycling