We see them all over the place especially if you live in a city or suburb. Fire hydrants are just a normal part of our water system structure. But what about when its located on your own personal property? Is it good thing or a bad thing? Does it effect the resale value?
I’ve personally had both complaints and praises from citizens about a hydrant on their property. They either love it or hate it. I mean its large chunk of metal so for some it can be an eye sore.
But is that just a small price to pay for extra security in the event of a fire? Lots of questions to be answered that’s for sure. Lets have a firefighter and fire inspector weigh in on this as well.
Safety of your home
Lets get the easy one out of the way. Fire trucks need water to put out fire and your standard fire truck will not have enough water to fight a house that is genuinely on fire. This is where that hydrant comes in handy.
The faster the fire truck can get a water supply the faster they can put out the fire. So if that hydrant happens to be in your front yard then the time is minimal.
Now if its in a rural area the next closest hydrant could be a long distance away, like so far away that they have to draft water from nearby water sources, such as lakes or pools, and set up dump tanks nearby to ensure the truck pumping the water can maintain that flow.
so having that fire hydrant in your yard close to your house sure does help things out in those bad situations. Now don’t get me wrong if their isn’t a fire hydrant close by, firefighters will still exhaust themselves to do anything they can to put the fire out.
But once its determined their isn’t a hydrant close by it puts a huge delay on the operation. So firefighters are extremely grateful when the hydrant is so convenient .😁 Here are some other ways to show firefighters some appreciation!
Possible Insurance Discounts
This was something I was never for sure on. So I decided to not only ask a fire inspector but also an insurance agent. Fire inspector Johnson was able to give some insight and was able to give the information that generally its something that insurance companies are very interested in knowing about and will often give some sort of discount.
I also happen to be married to a former insurance agent and she related that it was a standard question they would ask and it always brought the rate down for the customer.
Enticement for Future Buyers
This of course is subjective to the buyer and may not be specifically sought after but a lot of times buyers are really happy to see a fire hydrant in the front of a well manicured yard.
It kind of gives off the vibe that this is a safe place to be. Also once the potential buyer learns that the hydrant means possible insurance discounts…well everyone likes discounts!
Small town charm
Fire hydrants have been around for a long time. Heck it was probably at some point small staple in our child hood, seeing one on the street corner of the neighborhood you grew up in. Remembering the good times will usually bring a smile to our faces. At least for me anyways.
Now this is pretty specific to firefighters or family of firefighters. But Firefighters love it when they get to have a fire hydrant in their front yard. Because firefighters know what kind of an asset that hydrant can be in an emergency. It may not even be about safety.
Especially for those retired guys who miss the good ole days. Seeing that hydrant reminds them of the best job they ever had and the friendships they had because of it.
Yeah i know…firefighters are kinda sappy. But firefighters tend to have intimate relationship with the job, understandably, and once their career is over they want to hold onto those memories. After all its hard to forget the greatest job in the world
Also check out this post for some great retiree gifts!
People can’t park in front of your house
Due to it being illegal non emergency personnel cannot park in front of or block in any sort of way a fire hydrant. This will usually end up in a fine or towed if caught.
Not to mention that if a vehicle is actually parked in front of the specific fire hydrant the firefighters need, the firefighters will do whatever is necessary to get water.
That includes smashing out the car windows and running the hose through the car or pushing it out of the way with their fire engine. Seriously just google it for a good laugh!
You can’t park in front of it either
Okay well having your own car damaged wouldn’t be funny. While the cons of having a fire hydrant in your yard are few… their are some annoyances to them. Like parking specifically the home owners parking.
This can depend on the city, town or county you live in but generally the rule is no parking in front of a fire hydrant. Its a matter of safety really should the firefighters need water from that hydrant and a vehicle parked in front of that hydrant could delay or even prevent them from getting access to that water.
Limits landscaping around the hydrant
Once again I wasn’t sure of the specific rules with this so i consulted with Fire Inspector Johnson and was told this depends on where you live but a good rule of thumb is nothing within a three foot radius of the hydrant.
This is due to access and firefighters needing to place a large hydrant wrench on top to open the water way. The Fire Inspector also relates that nothing can block the view of the hydrant from the road way.
Small flowers that are only a few inches tall would be fine but they would likely get ruined in the event of a fire or during hydrant inspections. This is due to having to open the hydrant all the way to insure it flows and operates correctly.
That’s a lot of water so those pretty little flowers will be washed away along with any mulch sand or rocks that may have been there for decoration.
Paint could fade
Now hydrants are painted certain colors sometimes to indicate what the flow rate the hydrant is rated for. Over time this paint can fade and even chip. So it can end up not looking super pleasing to the eye in front of your pristine home.
But usually you can call your city or local fire department and see if they can fix it. A lot of times they will put in a work order which takes some time but it will eventually get done.
Friendly tip: Do not paint over the fire hydrant. Fire hydrants are painted specific colors to indicate to the firefighters what the flow and GPM of the particular fire hydrant. Contact your local fire department before attempting anything like that.
Its not your property
The county or city own the hydrant not you. Therefore you have no rights or say so of what happens and how the hydrant is used. Its kind of like having a sidewalk that runs through driveway and lawn.
Its technically city property. That includes a small radius of area around the hydrant. That also means that if you accidentally damage the hydrant you will most likely be held liable.
In the Event of Fire Hydrant Pressure Test, your yard will get soaked (and maybe ruin your lawn)
Every so often the Pressure on the Fire Hydrants has to be checked. Sometimes it’s the Fire Department doing the checks, sometimes it’s the Water Department, but either way… it’s a whole process.
At best, your yard will get soaked when we use a special tool to ‘rain’ the water down, and worst, without a tool, you could get a giant hole in your lawn. And any plants you’ve planted near the Fire Hydrant (anything within 10 feet) will get showered with water. Some more sensitive plants wont like that.
Can you ask your fire department to move a Fire Hydrant?
This question may pop into your head if you have negative feelings towards having a fire hydrant in your front yard. Sure you can ask them to move it but the answer will most likely be no.
You see just for the materials and labor its at the minimum of 6,000$. I assure you no city wants to pay that.
Not to mention most fire hydrants are tied into very large water mains that would require serious restructuring to move the fire hydrant and would possibly require the utility workers to temporally shut off water for nearby houses as well as yours. The amount of labor, permits and damage to your property is simply not worth it.
Their are certainly some downsides to having a fire hydrant on your property. Lack of flexibility with landscape and no ownership rights kind of sucks. But its definitely a good thing to have. That and firefighters sure do like it when they don’t have to pull so much hose in the middle of an already long night!
Of course being a firefighter I’m pretty biased 🔥🤣. But hear me out these cons are more of inconveniences if anything and are rarely an actual issue. That and its only a small blemish on your perfectly manicured St. Augustine grass for some extra safety during a fire.