What Does a Vacuum Breaker Do on a Faucet? (Facts Only)

Safe water is a must-have. You don’t have any alternative for this. The first step to inquiring about competent water, if you have a faucet, is to use a vacuum breaker with it.

Water may seem harmless, but unprotected water means chances of many germs and bacteria getting mixed in your water. Therefore, putting you and your health at risk. A vacuum breaker can be used on a faucet that is indoors, outdoors on a tap, or just your shower tap. The goal is to ensure safe water and prevent accidents, at times.

If you are wondering if you need a vacuum breaker for your faucet, you are in the right place. This post is dedicated to all about vacuum breakers, what it does, and whatnot.


Let’s get started.

What is a Faucet Vacuum Breaker?

A vacuum breaker is an attachment for toilet flushes, taps, faucets, etc. to stop the water flow from going back to unsanitary water flows. The vacuum breaker basically doesn’t let your water siphon.

Laws have been implemented to use protection on faucets, that’s how crucial it is. Vacuum breakers also help in saving water, so owning one will save you some water bills. 

You can also use your vacuum breaker on bibcock valves. A vacuum breaker just costs a couple of dollars but does wonder. Get yourself one!

What Does a Vacuum Breaker Do on a Faucet?

As vacuum breakers ensure a safe water system, they also stop the water flow from siphoning back to public water systems, which can be very unhealthy at times. This basically means a vacuum breaker acts as a backflow water avoidant on a faucet.

Backflow of water happens when the water’s pressure drops. When this happens, the pressure creates power and ends up taking the water back to the plumbing system. This shouldn’t be a problem if the reserved water system is clean.

Vacuum breakers are available in steel or plastic form. If you have an outside faucet, it’s highly recommended to get a stainless steel vacuum breaker. It lasts longer.

Do I Need a Vacuum Breaker on My Faucet?

There are laws about owning a vacuum breaker if you have a faucet. So you don’t really have a choice on whether you need one or not. 

However, the law may vary from place to place. But it is still a good decision to own one considering all the good things it offers. 

If you don’t have a vacuum breaker, personally, I think, it’s putting both your water flow and your own health at risk. If you use your faucets often, to do any kind of heavy work, the safest decision is to have a vacuum breaker.  If you are just using your faucet for washing dishes or just to drink water, it should be just fine.

How Do Vacuum Breakers Work?

A traditional vacuum breaker has two things, an air inlet, and a control device. 

The air inlet is not often used unless an emergency occurs. The control device allows water to flow through and not make use of the air inlet unless anything unusual happens.

If air pressure increases and goes to a certain extinct, the air inlet breaks through and starts working. When air pressure increases, this is when the water starts siphoning, and air inlets prevent the water from going backward.

The most common reason why air pressure in the faucet increases is because the atmospheric air outside has risen too. 

Here is a video on how exactly vacuum breakers work if you are interested:

Is A Vacuum Breaker Necessary?

If you have your faucets running backward every now and then, you need to fix it. And the only way to do it installing a vacuum breaker. 

One of the primary jobs of a vacuum breaker is stopping your water flow from siphoning back to the unhealthy plumbing system. Temperature plays an important role when it comes to water backflowing in your faucet. 

During summer, the heat arises, therefore, pressure increases. On Winter, the faucets freeze and stop working. All of these can be stopped if you use water prevention on your faucet and take good care of it.

So, if you ask me, yes a vacuum breaker is necessary, especially if you have an outside faucet.

How Do You Fix a Vacuum Breaker on a Faucet?

Everything is temporary but how do you know that vacuum breaker needs some help? If your faucet starts having leakage or water overflowing even having a vacuum breaker installed, that’s when you know your vacuum breaker needs to be repaired.

Here are some quick and easy steps on how you can fix your vacuum breaker:

  • Stop the water flow, dismantle your faucet. 
  • Take everything out, and remove the vacuum breaker.
  • Replace the water appliance.
  • Put a cover outside your faucet, if it’s an outdoor tap. It’s the cheapest and the most effective option.

Keep in mind that if notice water leaking from the body of the faucet, then it’s not a problem related to your vacuum breaker. However, double-checking is always a better option.

Is Vacuum Breaker Supposed To Spray Water?

No, vacuum breakers are not supposed to spray water. In fact, if t does, it’s an obvious sign of the device needing some repair.

If this is happening to your faucet, try the method mentioned above, using a cover. If that doesn’t work, maybe this time you’ll need a brand new vacuum breaker.

You can find vacuum breakers literally anywhere, they are all around in a plumbing shop and don’t cost that much. If water is spraying from the handle of your faucet, most chances are it’s not your vacuum cleaner. In this case, unless it’s a  big problem, just screw your valve nut a little tighter and you should be good to go.

Do I Need a Vacuum Breaker on My Hose Bib?

The hose bib requires vacuum breakers that have a spring-loaded valve. The valve functions on the air pressure, whether it’s increased or not.

Hose bib vacuum breakers release the water outside, onto the ground when it is closed. This is how the device prevents the water from flowing back. 

Both the spring and the air pressure halts water from siphoning. Some hose connection vacuum breakers come with screws that make it harder to detach the device from your hose bib. These screws prevent the vacuum breaker from being damaged even if the hose is removed.

If you have an outside faucet, then by plumbing codes, you are required a vacuum breaker. Other than that, you should have a vacuum breaker on your hose bib, unless you want to have overflowed unsanitary water.

Final Words

Vacuum breakers are essential if you have a faucet- any faucet. Especially if your faucet is outdoors, by the law you should have one. 

Faucet vacuum breakers don’t allow your water from backward flowing. Vacuum breakers ensure water is safe from unhygienic things. There are certain laws about having vacuum breakers, if you have an outside faucet, get a vacuum breaker without thinking twice.

How the vacuum breakers work is by having an air inlet and a control device. When air pressure increases, the inlet starts working. Using a faucet without any sort of protection is risky, you never know what you will be greeted with, so vacuum breakers are necessary.

Vacuum breakers don’t easily break, if they do, there are easy ways to fix them. All you have to do is stop the water flow for some time being, disassemble the faucet, put everything out, and use a screen on your faucet.

Vacuum breakers don’t spray water if your breaker is doing it. There is something wrong and you need to repair it, the best option, in this case, is to get a new vacuum breaker as they are dirt cheap. You should also use a vacuum breaker for your hose bib, the breakers for hose bibs come with spring valves.