Interviewer: What are some of the top reasons you see that cause fire hydrants to malfunction?
Lack of Proper Maintenance Is a Common Cause of Hydrant Malfunction; Hydrants Should Be Maintained Once a Year
David Munoz: Primarily, a lack of maintenance. Hydrants have to be maintenance at least once a year minimum. All manufactures recommend you at least test them twice a year. Normally what’s done in the testing is you flow them. You lubricate them. You test for leaks. You make sure that you drain them properly, and you’re also making sure that you can remove the caps.
When hydrants are used in a fire sometimes the caps are put on too tight or they don’t lubricate them right. Those caps can seize up to the nozzles and then they’re hard to come off. Part of a yearly maintenance is making sure they’re all operational.
Hydra Contracting Offers Specialized Hydrant Repair and Service and Is Certified by the State to Work with Underground Water and Domestic Drinking Water
Interviewer: When something goes wrong and the hydrant won’t work do they tend to blow up or start spewing water on their own or is that pretty rare?
David Munoz: Yes, they do. As a matter of fact, when hydrants have operational symptoms, for example, a problem with a main valve, they usually start leaking at the base of the hydrant. At that point, that’s when they need some attention right away. 95% of the hydrants in the US, to be honest with you, can be repaired.
A Plumber Is Limited to the Scope of Work They Can Perform
The part that we’re different from anybody else, Hydra from a plumber, is a plumber can work on underground pipes and they can work on pipelines inside the house, like your toilets and so forth, but Hydra is actually specialized.
Working with Public Waterlines Requires Special Training and Certification to Ensure the Safety and Viability of the Water
We have over 60 years in underground water distribution. We’re certified by the state. We have to hold a certification for domestic drinking water and some of those hydrants are installed in a domestic drinking water. Plumbers and other contractors don’t hold that certification.
I come from an industry where we have to get certified to be able to touch the waterline, so we have to know how to chlorinate it, disinfect it, and flush it, and have flow rates to make sure that the public is safe at all times. When we encounter a hydrant that’s not functional, basically, at that point, we have to tear it down and find out what’s wrong with it.
Interviewer: What do companies or municipalities or private owners tend to do if they have an issue with a hydrant? Do they tend to call a plumber or should they know that you need to have someone with certifications to work on it?
Hydra Contracting Has Experience Working on All Varieties of Hydrants
David Munoz: Most of the time they’ll call plumbers. Fire protection companies have certifications to test hydrants. They’ll flow a hydrant. The only difference between us and a fire protection company is the majority of fire protection companies are not trained to work on all different types of hydrants. There are a variety of manufactures out there. They might know maybe one manufacturer in the industry but they don’t know them all.
Hydra Contracting Has the Knowledge to Repair Rather Than Replace an Existing Hydrant
Interviewer: If someone calls a plumber, are they qualified at all to work on a hydrant? Will they still try to even if they are not trained or certified?
A Hydrant Can Typically Be Repaired for One-Tenth of the Cost of Replacement
David Munoz: They’ll still try to, but normally what they’ll do is, normally, try to just cut it out of the ground and just put in a new hydrant and it gets pretty expensive. For example, if a hydrant was malfunctioning and I went to do an inspection, found out that the hydrant was repairable.
I can normally replace those hydrants for approximately one-tenth of the cost they’re going to pay to replace that hydrant. For an example, I’ve seen people that are charged $7,000 to $8,000 to replace a hydrant and I can do that for, basically, 10% of that cost to do it right. It’s just a simple repair.
Interviewer: To summarize, your company can work on any hydrant; 95% of them are repairable and they don’t have to be replaced, and you’re 80 to 90% cheaper?
David Munoz: Absolutely.