A few months after we moved in to our farm in 2008, we discovered that the water hydrant in the barn had failed, and flooded a good portion of that side of the barn. Our immediate response was to shut off the water supply to the barn. Both our house and barn are fed from the same well, and so the plumbing in our basement had to be changed to accomplish this shutoff.
Fast forward to 2011. We've had our livestock for almost two years now, and getting water to them has meant hauling it down from the house. In the summer, a long hose accomplished this, but of course in the winter, it meant filling tanks of water and hauling them down to the coop and barn. My asthma has reached the point where this was no longer a practical option, and at the kind urging and assistance of my parents, we had work done on our well to make it better capable of supplying both the house and barn. Then, about a month ago, we purchased a replacement hydrant from our local Tractor Supply Company and went through the arduous process of replacing it.
You see, it’s no small task to replace a hydrant like this — George and my brother Dave had to dig down about four feet in the barn to reach the supply line in order to get this new hydrant installed. We have a heavy clay content in our soil, and it has been a very wet couple of months around here. George managed to injure his back –twice– during installation and Dave had to spend a very cold day coated in muck getting this in place. It was not an easy installation in any sense, and wow, were we relieved when it was finally working. We even gave it a couple of days before filling that hole back in just to be sure that it was working properly. Satisfied, we filled the hole back in.
Within that first week of installation, the hydrant started to leak — and I do not mean a slow drip, I’m talking steady enough that we had to keep a large bucket underneath it and empty it several times a day. We tried to adjust the hydrant and it would slow down the leak for awhile, but it would gradually get worse. The line even froze up one morning when it was below 20 degrees F — something it is not supposed to do. Needless to say, we were pretty disappointed.
However, this morning, Christmas Eve of 2011, we are beyond disappointed, and the closest word I can use to describe our feelings regarding this hydrant is INFURIATED. After filling some of our animal’s water buckets this morning, the hydrant suddenly would not shut off. Despite several attempts to get it to close, it just continued pouring out water full force. George had to run to the house and shut off its supply again.
Now, we were planning on working today, despite being a holiday. That is the reality of having a farm. But we had plenty of other things to do today rather than deal with this defective da-shiong bao-jah-shr duh la doo-tze . However, it must be dealt with, because our animals do not take a break from drinking, regardless of what it says on the calendar.
We will never purchase another one of these hydrants from TSC again. We’ve been increasingly disappointed with the way that Tractor Supply has turned to stocking cheaply made Chinese produced goods, and regret ever giving them a dime for this hydrant. In retrospect, we would have purchased an American-made hydrant from Woodford or Merrill, now that we are aware of them.
So, hopefully our lesson learned can be your warning to avoid these horrible hydrants from Tractor Supply Company. We’d be thrilled if TSC started to carry more American-made quality products, because frankly, we are finding less reason to shop there every time we have an experience like this. I guess their profit margins are more important than their customer’s satisfaction.
Merry Christmas to us.
EDIT 12/24/2011 6:51 PM: We have figured out a fix for this — which you can read about on this blog post. While I’m grateful to have this repaired, this should not have been necessary, particularly only a month after it was installed! But if you are reading this because you’ve ran into the same issue, I’ve described the $16 fix we implemented at the link above, along with posting some photos.