Can you hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant?


After researching whether you can hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant, I found there was useful information. This post details the most important points to consider on this subject.

It is, in fact, possible to hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant. To do this, you would need a special type of attachment called a hose thread, as fire hydrants don’t have standard pipe threads built into them. This, however, is not necessarily legal, depending on the location.

In the next few sections, this article will touch on the legal issues behind hooking a garden hose to a fire hydrant, usage of fire hydrants, garden hoses, their purposes, as well as its subtypes, so read on!

Hooking up a garden hose to a fire hydrant – legal issues

The following section will look into the legalities of using the water supply from a fire hydrant. Obviously, this is the main consideration before even thinking about connecting a garden hose, as it could be classed as a form of theft.

In the UK, for example, it is illegal to use a fire hydrant to obtain water for any other purpose than fire fighting.

Anyone who is found to be using the hydrants could be prosecuted. This is similar in most American states, too.

Exceptions to the rule of using hydrants

There are, however, some cases where it may be allowed. If you obtain permission and are authorized by the Water Authority or the person who owns a fire hydrant, you can go ahead and connect a garden hose to it.

You must get permission first, so doing some research on your local’s areas policies surrounding fire hydrants is essential to avoid breaking the law.

Another circumstance where you would be legally allowed to hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant will be if the hydrant is located on private water mains that the local Water Authority or Fire Service aren’t responsible for. These hydrants are predominantly located on large industrial estates, hospital grounds, military bases, etc. These hydrants are solely the owners or occupiers of the land they are located on.

Legalities around fire hydrants usage

Here’s a summary of the legalities surrounding fire hydrant usage:

It is illegal to use a hydrant to get water for purposes other than fire fightingIt is OK to use a fire hydrant if the local authorities have authorized you
Unauthorized access to the fire hydrant chamber isn’t permittedIf the hydrant is on private land, you must get permission from the landowner/occupier
If you are found to be misusing a fire hydrant, you could be prosecuted

Laws and regulations vary from place to place based on several factors. If the area you live in has baron spells and the water supply is short, the local authorities may be more likely to allow hydrants to be used for purposes other than fire fighting.

For example, in some areas of the US, you can purchase permits to use the hydrants if you require a temporary water supply.

Do your research in your locality if they allow for usage of fire hydrants for garden hoses

That’s why it’s absolutely imperative to research the legalities of your area and make sure you have permission before even considering hooking up a garden hose to a hydrant.

If you do get authorization or the hydrant is located on your own private land, read on for instructions on how to hook a garden hose up to it.

How to hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant

As I briefly touched upon in the introduction of this article, fire hydrants don’t have standard pipe threads. They, therefore, require a hose thread adapter to connect to a garden hose successfully. These adapters generally cost around £30.

Find the size and fire hydrant

The first thing you need to do is establish the size and type of the hydrant. You may then be required to get a hydrant meter, gate valve, and possibly a back-flow preventer. It’s also likely that you’ll need a fire hydrant wrench.

Look into using a good adapter to connect the hydrant to the hose

Once you’ve established the particular hydrant’s thread size, you need to get an adapter to hook it up to your garden hose.

If you are using a 1-inch hose, you need a fire hydrant wrench, one adapter from 2 and ½ inches Female NH to 1 inch Male NH/NST.

You can then connect your 1 inch single, double or rubber-covered hose with an NH or NST thread and a 1inch NH/NST nozzle. To aid you with this, I have written a recent article on best garden nozzles. It covers the subtypes of garden nozzles, its specific parts that can help with a smoother garden watering process, as well as the benefits of actually having a nozzle for your garden hose.

It’s important to get the correct hydrant wrench, as a standard pipe wrench will potentially cause damage to the nut on the hydrant.

Varieties of garden hoses

Once you’ve obtained permission and have all of the necessary attachments and pieces of equipment I just discussed, you need to consider the type of garden hose you intend to hook up to the hydrant.

Garden hoses come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are specific to certain purposes. How far you intend to stretch them is the first thing that needs to be established.

Is the fire hydrant far away from the place you intend to use the water supply? If it is a fair distance, you obviously need plenty of lengths. It would help if you also considered the strength of the hose.

Plie specifications for hoses

The quality, durability, and strength of a hose usually depend on the number of plies or layers. Usually, hoses are found in a range of plies.

For example, a three-ply hose is considered the standard, while a hose with between four and six plies is more resistant to wear and fear and less likely to fold or kink when used.

The more plies a hose has, the more resistant it will be to temperature changes and UV damage from the sun over time. If a hose is reinforced, there’s no chance of it twisting or bending, which can make it more difficult to store, but there’s less chance of it being damaged when you attempt to hook it up to a fire hydrant.

Common garden hose types

Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common garden hose types that you can look into the watering process:

Braided hose

Braided hoses generally have between 4 and 6 plies. They are also commonly housed in a mesh layer which prevents kinking and improves overall strength.

Drip line hose

Thanks to their flexible nature, a drip line hose makes it possible to water plants at the roots. They are usually composed of PVC and are good for getting water to awkward places accurately.

Wire-reinforced hose

Wire-reinforced hoses usually comprise three layers and are built for maximum strength and durability.

The core of the hose is made from mesh wire and can’t twist or bend, making them great at handling water pressure and a reliable choice for hooking up to a fire hydrant.

Expandable hose

As you can guess by the name, an expandable hose can stretch up to three times the size when water pressure is introduced.

This type of hose is often sold with its own attachments and may be a good option for use with a hydrant.

Anti-kink hose

These premium hoses are completely resistant to UV damage and temperature changes. They are also very flexible but don’t bend. They are the most expensive type of hose, but that is indicative of their quality.

Soaker Hose

Finally, soakers hose may be a good option if you want to hook up to a fire hydrant to water a large field of crops or plants, as they produce a diffused sprinkle when water pressure is applied.

FAQs

What does a fire hydrant look like?

In the US, it’s easy to spot fire hydrants as they are brightly painted. In The UK, however, they are not so easy to pick out. This is because mostly they are located underground and are marked with a yellow square.

Conclusion on hooking up a garden hose to a fire hydrant

To summarize, to even consider hooking your garden hose to a fire hydrant, you must first check that it is not illegal in your area to do so. In truth, it probably is classed as theft and could land you in a lot of trouble.

If your circumstances somehow mean that you get the all-clear, then the steps above should have you all set using the hydrant as a water source. To successfully connect your garden hose to a fire hydrant, you would acquire a specific type of adapter as well as proper nozzles to make the watering process smoother and less dangerous.

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Tony O'Neill

I am Tony O'Neill, A full-time firefighter, and professional gardener. I have spent most of my life gardening. From the age of 7 until the present day at 46. My goal is to use my love and knowledge of gardening to support you and to simplify the gardening process so you are more productive

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