All around you are fire hydrants; there may even be one outside your home. Can you use that city water for your garden hose and is it safe to do so?
Can you hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant: For the most part, it is illegal to hook a garden hose up to a fire hydrant. You may be able to get special permission from a local authority but you will need a good reason for this. It is not safe if everyone hooked up their garden hoses to a fire hydrant. If you are legally able to hook your garden hose up, you will need a special adaptor as the diameter of the fire hydrant hookup is much larger than a standard garden hose.
Is it legal to hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant?
Fire hydrants can be seen on any neighborhood street. While they are rarely used, they serve an important function.
Firefighters need excessive amounts of water to fight fires and ordinary garden hoses simply don’t have the power, the capability, or the reach to help put out a fire. This is why fire hydrants are legally required in any residential and commercial area.
It is completely illegal to hook your garden hose up to a fire hydrant. Not only is the pressure too great with a fire hydrant but if a fire were to break out and the hydrant was unavailable for use, it could cause catastrophic damage.
The one caveat is that it may be legal if you get express permission from a local authority. Every region will be different, so it might come down to a local bylaw.
Finally, if you have a fire hydrant that is not connected to the municipal water system, and is actually on private grounds, then you may have a basis for hooking up to it. The bottom line, however, is that you should always ask multiple sources before attempting to hook your garden hose to a fire hydrant.
How to hook up a garden hose to a fire hydrant
The first step as we’ve mentioned is to ensure that you are not breaking any laws when hooking up a garden hose to a fire hydrant. If this is near a commercial area, ask the local businesses.
Otherwise, contact your city officials and look online for rules about your area. Often there will be maps you can consult to show who has jurisdiction over the fire hydrant.
Never take the word of your neighbor that this is legal to do so, and likewise, don’t trust answers from online message boards.
You might even want to ask a few official sources to ensure you are not breaking any laws. If you do get permission, make sure it is in writing and have it with you as you are hooking up your hose to avoid any misunderstandings.
Gather your tools
Fire hydrants are built differently than your standard home tap and garden hose. They are built to withstand much more pressure, so the pipe threads will be different.
If you want to try to attach your garden hose, you will need an adaptor. These can be found at home improvement stores or online.
To find the correct adaptor, first look at the type of fire hydrant you want to hook up to. You may need extra tools for this step, including a fire hydrant wrench, a gate valve, and a back-flow preventer.
Use the right garden hose
There will be a lot of water pressure available from a fire hydrant, so you need to proceed cautiously. Even with the right adaptor, if everything isn’t hooked up properly your hose can actually explode from the pressure.
Use a garden hose that has a large number of plies. This will tell you how many layers or how thick the hose is, so it can withstand more pressure.
A newer hose is a better choice. Old garden hoses are often left in the sun so their rubber can degrade, leading to weak spots in the material.
Size is another factor to consider when picking a garden hose. After going through all this work, you don’t want a garden hose that is too short.
A braided hose is a good option for this process as it will have between five and six plies. They will have a mesh layer that holds the material altogether.
A wire-reinforced hose is another solid option although it only has three plies, so might not be strong enough. However, they are made with mesh wire so they won’t bend or twist with the extra water pressure.
Finally, another hose type to consider is an anti-kink hose. While they are more expensive, they are incredibly durable and perfect for this high-pressure task.
What size hose connects to a fire hydrant?
A 2.5-inch hose will connect to a fire hydrant. They might also have a 4-inch hookup for larger, heavy-duty hoses.
This is why an adaptor is needed to pair a garden hose, as they have a ¾-inch hookup.
Can a garden hose put out a fire?
A garden hose often has a diameter of just ¾ of an inch. In contrast, the diameter of a fire hose is between 3 and 5 inches. As you can see, a garden hose just isn’t capable of carrying as much water.
When fighting a fire, time is not on your side. You need to tackle it as fast as possible to stop it from spreading to other parts of a house.
The larger diameter of a fire hose is crafted on purpose. While a garden hose might be able to lend some support, it should never be used as the main weapon against fire.
Hooking up a garden hose to a fire hydrant is illegal unless you have explicit permission from a municipal or other governing authority. You will need a special adaptor and a hose that can withstand extra pressure to make the process work.