If you’ve drained your pool or are filling it up for the first time, you either have the experience to know or will be in for a shock to learn how long it takes to fill a pool with a hose, or how costly it is to hire a service to do it for you.
However, if money isn’t an issue, then instead of waiting days for the hose to fill your pool, you should pay a few hundred dollars to get your pool filled in a day. Or if you’re feeling cheeky, you might be wondering if you could just fiddle with a fire hydrant and route that water to your pool instead. Is that even legal?
It is not legal for you to use a fire hydrant to fill your pool without permission. Even then, it is likely that the fire department or a government worker will do it for you. In order for this to happen, you will need to contact your city council, Department of Water, or your local fire department and get their permission first. You will have to fill out an application, pay a deposit, get approved, and schedule a time for the fire department to swing by your house and fill your pool from the fire hydrant. And of course, you have to pay for the amount of water that you use which could be a few hundred dollars’ worth.
In this article, we will answer all of your questions regarding how this process works, including how to get started, how much it will cost, and the pros and cons of doing so. Read on to find out!
Why should you ask the fire department to fill your pool?
If you didn’t even know you could do this, you might now be wondering why you’d even want to? Filling up the pool with a hose is much cheaper, so if money were the limiting factor, then that would be the correct choice.
However, filling up a pool takes a long time with a hose, or even multiple hoses. Obviously it also depends on the size of your pool, but expect it to take as long as 48 hours or more even with multiple hoses continuous filling your pool.
Therein lies the problem: time. If you have cash to spare and you value your time, it would be smarter to hire a water filling service to deliver a tank full of water, or ask the fire department to access the nearest fire hydrant and fill your pool in minutes.
Fire hydrants can deliver nearly 1,000 gallons of water per minute, so a 10,000 gallon pool would be filled in approximately 10 minutes rather than a day or two with garden hoses. This option is more attractive the larger your pool is due to the significant time savings you could have.
Aren’t the fire department too busy to be filling pools?
Depending on where you live, that may be true. If you live in smaller towns or municipalities where not as much action is happening, then it’s probably a safe bet that the fire department will help you out.
If you live in a major city or in a very arid environment where fires are constantly erupting, then they may not have the resources to spend on helping pool owners fill their dream pools. That said, there’s no harm in contacting them and asking if they would fill your pool.
For smaller communities, the fire department could probably use the fees they get from filling pools to purchase and maintain their equipment, and it gives them something to do on a slow day.
If it’s not the fire department filling your pool, it’s a worker from the city. Either way, your pool gets filled.
How to go about getting this process started?
First off, it is illegal for you to tamper with a fire hydrant without permission. People who have not followed the correct process, whether intentionally or not, have been charged with theft when caught. You need to get permission first, and even then, chances are somebody else has to do it for you.
Every country, city, and county has their own process. Some may be more straightforward than others to get approval, but it all starts with contacting the correct authority.
Contact your city council, department of water, or local fire department and ask what the process is. You could also just do a quick google search about pool filling services offered by the municipality. The goal is to find an application to request a permit to use the fire hydrant in the city.
You will have to pay a deposit, so be aware of that. You will also have to pay for the amount of water you use from the fire hydrant.
After approval, someone from the city will go to your home with all the tools necessary to open the fire hydrant, hook a fire hose up to it, and fill your pool. They will also use a meter to calculate how much water you used and how much you have to pay.
If you use less water than you ordered on the application, some municipalities will charge you as if you used the amount on the application anyways.
How much does it cost to fill a pool with a fire hydrant?
As mentioned, there are some costs associated with using a fire hydrant to fill your pool.
Getting a meter from the city requires a small deposit that you will get back after returning the meter, and this deposit is around $30-40.
Some cities ask for payment up front for the requested amount of water on the application, so you need to know exactly how many gallons of water you want.
The actual cost of the water varies, so you need to find out how much water the city charges for a gallon of water, how many gallons of water your pool holds, then it’s just some simple math to estimate the cost.
Expect to pay anywhere from $100-300 depending on how large your pool is.
What are some drawbacks to filling a pool with a fire hydrant?
Depending on how the fire department handles the logistics of this, this process could end up being a disaster. When contacting them, inquire about how exactly they will go about filling the pool.
If they mention that they will pass the water from the fire hydrant into their truck tank first, then to your pool, then consider another option. The tanks are often very dirty inside, and some pool owners found this out the hard way.
There should be protocols around cleaning and flushing the tank, but you cannot be 100% certain they are following it or have done so recently. If you end up filling your pool with dirty water, you would just end up draining it and refilling it again, wasting time and money.
Ideally, the water is routed directly from the fire hydrant into your pool, but there are still more concerns.
For instance, not even the fire hydrants necessarily deliver clean water. Many fire hydrants sit unused and collect fine sediment that is hard to get rid off if it’s in your pool.
Furthermore, some of the metals from the city pipes may also be found in the water and cause some serious issues to your pool. One such issue is a rust ring that forms around your pool and also potential adverse effects to your health.
Lastly, you should consider the PSI of the water going through a fire hose into your pool. It might be strong enough to damage the finish on your pool. To be safe, you should put down a plastic covering over the finish, fill the pool, then remove the cover so ensure the finish is protected.