Recent data suggests the United States has approximately 8.9 million fire hydrants. The number could be even higher into the 2020s. You’ve always wondered how much a fire hydrant weighs. So, how heavy is it?
The average weight of a fire hydrant is 149 to 500 pounds (68-227 kilograms). Older fire hydrants weighed up to 800 pounds, so the hydrants of today are certainly a lot more streamlined! The more water pressure a hydrant is able to withstand, the heavier it is.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about fire hydrant weights, this guide is for you. Ahead, we’ll discuss the weight of modern versus old-school fire hydrants. Make sure you keep reading, as there’s lots of great info to come!
Table of Contents
So How Much Does a Fire Hydrant Weigh?
A fire hydrant acts as a connection point for firefighters to have easy access to an adjacent water supply.
Most hydrants are made of cast iron, but others are brass. All are metal for durability and strength, as the fire hydrant must be able to withstand quite a lot of water pressure.
Keeping that in mind, let’s now talk about how much the average fire hydrant weighs.
Modern fire hydrants produced in the 2010s weigh 149 pounds at their lightest and up to 500 pounds.
Here are some fire hydrant manufacturers and the average weight of their hydrants to show you the range of fire hydrant weights today.
- Mueller: 183 to 235 pounds
- AVK International: 82 pounds
- Lingjack Engineering: 92 pounds
- Jones Water Products: 149 pounds
What About Old Fire Hydrants? Are They Heavier?
Although today’s fire hydrants might be deemed unwieldy by some, they’re by no means as heavy as fire hydrants of the 1900s were.
Firefighters back then had to work with hydrants that were at least 500 pounds but often weighed upwards of 800 pounds.
Now, it’s not like a firefighter has to carry the hydrant on their truck or on their person. That said, the heavier a fire hydrant is, the more difficult the hydrant is to work with.
Speaking of heavy, I wrote an article breaking down how much fire hose weighs. If you didn’t know already you’d be surprised just how heavy it really is!
That’s undoubtedly why fire hydrants have become more streamlined as the years have gone by. Today’s firefighters undoubtedly have it a lot easier.
Who knows? Maybe in another 20 or 30 years, fire hydrants will be even lighter still!
Why Are Fire Hydrants So Heavy?
In your book, even 200+ pounds for a fire hydrant is heavy. Why do fire hydrants weigh as much as they do? Let’s explore.
Made of Heavy-Duty Materials
You’ll recall from earlier that fire hydrants are built from brass, cast iron, or another type of heavy metal.
The hydrant must be able to handle the high-pressure water within (more on that in just a moment).
Further, since a fire hydrant is sitting outside on a random street curb, usually with no overhead protection, the hydrant needs to be made burly to withstand the elements.
Although they’re used by the local fire department and installed on city or township property, it’s the local water company that owns and maintains the fire hydrant.
Maintaining the hydrant doesn’t mean dusting off snow or protecting the hydrant from an onslaught of rain though.
Wish you had a fire hydrant on your property? I wrote an entire article answering whether you can install a fire hydrant on your property. Click the link to check it out.
If the elements were to wear down a fire hydrant, that would leave the fire department in a tough spot. Fires don’t stop no matter the season. They happen less often during certain times of the year, but they never stop completely.
A firefighter always needs access to a fire hydrant, so it needs to be made tough to stand up to that demand.
Highly Pressurized Water Inside
Fire hydrants have highly pressurized water within that’s at least 20 pounds per square inch of pressure or PSI. Both the weight and the pressure of the water mean that a fire hydrant is heavy for not only its metal shell but for what’s inside as well.
What Do Various Fire Hydrant Colors Mean?
With the prevalence of fire hydrants, you might have noticed that they come in all sorts of colors besides red. Yellow is another common hue, for example.
The bonnet or top of the fire hydrant may be a separate hue than the rest of the hydrant. This isn’t to create a cool color-block effect, but rather, to denote the water pressure therein.
Here’s what you need to know.
A red bonnet–whether it’s attached to a red fire hydrant or another hydrant color–produces the least amount of water, under 500 gallons per minute.
If a fire department only has to put out a small fire, then they’d make a beeline for a fire hydrant with a red bonnet.
Orange might not be the most common color for fire hydrants, but those hydrants with an orange bonnet can produce water at a rate of 500 to 999 GPM. That’s more water than a red bonnet fire hydrant but not by a huge margin.
A can’t-miss color, a fire hydrant with a green bonnet is one that a fire department will want to use for moderately-sized to bigger fires. The green bonnet denotes that the hydrant holds 1,000 to 1,499 GPM of water.
The last bonnet color seen in fire hydrants is blue. These hydrants contain the most water at a rate of at least 1,500 GPM but often more.
Fire hydrants are by no means lightweight, but then again, they’re not exactly designed to be either. They need tough metal shells that can withstand the elements as well as the highly pressurized water inside.
With millions of fire hydrants, the next time you see one, you can appreciate what it does that much more!