Yard hydrant stuck in freezing weather

Old 11-19-22, 01:51 PM
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Exclamation Yard hydrant stuck in freezing weather

I have a Merrill Mfg C-1000 yard hydrant, that's apparently freezing up. It's buried 3' in the ground (we are in Missouri). It developed a leak at the nozzle a month or so ago, and I replaced the plunger and packing nut. Worked fine, though a bit stiff. Come freezing weather, and it's stuck. I can raise the handle only part way, but no more. Once it warms up, it's fine. I adjusted the packing nut a bit looser and it operates easily, but then cold weather came and once again, stuck. I can't loosen the packing nut any more or it starts to leak. There is some play, or wiggle, in the standpipe, about 1/2" - so I suspect frigid air is getting into the hole. I'm a retired homemaker and did not install this thing, but I need it and must fix it myself.

Do I need to adjust the pivot connector and nuts (up? or down?)?
Is there something interfering with the plunger at the bottom? (Like gravel not installed correctly?)
Is the simplest fix just to widen and then backfill the hole tighter? How do I keep debris/dirt from getting into the plunger area?
Is it a dumb idea to just wrap heat tape around the standpipe and pack some dirt down around the standpipe?

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