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Part 1 here.

Edit: This is where some steps are missing between parts 1 and 2 (see explanation in part 1), but there’s enough here and in the diagram above for you to get the gist of the project.

A bit of a recap of the missing steps: The cap that comes on old fire hydrants (unscrew cap, screw on fire hose – it looks like the caps on the side of the last picture below, but bigger) is too thick to drill through, so Captain OCD bought a new storz (cap) at a wholesale plumping supplier. Not cheap: about $125 at the time. He drilled a hole in the middle of the very expensive cap, rendering it useless if it didn’t work out. The hole is for the pipe to come out of the hydrant to attach the fittings for the valve. That leaves you with a blank, unthreaded hole, so he used big brass washers (in diagram above) on either side of the front half of the storz (the back half is screwed into the hole where the original cap was), in combination with the brass coupler between the outside of the storz and the valve, to hold the whole valve assembly tight to the storz.

9. Connect the pipe assembly inside the hydrant to the valve assembly on the back of the storz. In tight quarters you’ll be cutting the PVC pipe to the proper length, gluing, and likely questioning the parenthood of the fire hydrant.

10. Turn the water on and check thoroughly for leaks. Fix ’em if you got ’em.

11. When you’ve eliminated any leaks where you’ve glued or screwed things together, fill the hydrant with foam packing peanuts or something similar to insulate against the cold. The hydrant is essentially a cast iron meat locker, where cold air can hang out long enough to crack the pipe and fittings inside of it. While we’ve cracked three valves that are exposed to the air, the pipe inside the hydrant has never cracked due to cold.

12. This is what it looks like all done, with the hose attached. The fittings are wet because the new hose I bought to go with the new fire hydrant was missing a rubber washer. It’s not now. In this picture, you can see how the front half of the storz has those big ears around the edge so you can hit them with something heavy to quickly get it off and attach a fire hose to the back half of the storz.

fh fitting

This is a ball valve, which means you turn it a quarter turn for full-on. I hate those twisty kind that take multiple twists to be fully opened – I have a car to wash; no time for excessive twisting of valve handles. I want the water either on or off, and if I want to control the flow, well, that’s what nozzles are for. Your entirely unnecessary project is turning a fire hydrant into a hose bib: you might as well make it work for you.

valve top

13. We’re done. That post with the copper cap on it is where we mounted the hose hanger (it’s waiting for the concrete to set here). It’s not ideal, but it’s the closest we could get it to the hydrant in this location Captain OCD has since repainted (again, near dawn) that top cap to match the body of the hydrant. If I had known what color the storz was going to be (it’s not painted, it came this way), I would have painted the bits I painted brass to more closely match. The top and the side caps come off with a quick twist so I’ll probably paint those to match some day. When there is pork in the treetops.

It looks like the hydrant has been here for years instead of hours because Captain OCD dug those plants (they’re kind of viney, so few roots), set them off to the side, and then replanted and spread them out when he was done. He also dug up enough of those 1-toddler rocks in the 4-foot ditch to the water source to build that little rock wall  in front of the hydrant so no one would rip off their leg by walking too close to the valve if the hose weren’t attached.


Eight years later, this is what it looks like now:

Fire hydrant 05.2016-5108

Not as shiny, but not bad. You can see the yellow handle of this valve: It’s yellow because it’s for natural gas. Every time we’ve replaced the valve it’s been difficult to find such a valve for water applications (red handle) in local stores.