What Does A Vacuum Breaker Do? (On a Faucet | Facts Only)

Have you ever wondered what that small device on your faucet is?

It’s called a vacuum breaker, and it serves an essential purpose. It prevents backflow, which can contaminate your drinking water with potentially harmful substances.

If you are wondering if you need a vacuum breaker for your faucet, you are in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore how a vacuum breaker works and why it’s essential for your safety.

Let’s get started and keep reading to learn more.

What is a Faucet Vacuum Breaker?

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

Safe water is a must-have. You don’t have any alternative for this. If you have a faucet, the first step to inquiring about competent water is using a vacuum breaker.

Water may seem harmless, but unprotected water means chances of many germs and bacteria getting mixed in your water. You can use a vacuum breaker on an indoor faucet, outdoors on a tap, or shower tap. The goal is to ensure safe water and prevent accidents at times.

Laws implemented to use faucet protection. This is crucial. Vacuum breakers also help save water, so owning one will save you some water bills. 

You can also use your vacuum breaker on bibcock valves. A vacuum breaker costs a couple of dollars but does wonders. 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 sometimes. This means a vacuum breaker is a backflow water avoidant on a faucet.

The backflow of water happens when the water’s pressure drops. When this happens, the pressure creates power and returns the water 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. A stainless steel vacuum breaker is highly recommended if you have an outside faucet. 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 have a choice on whether you need one. 

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

If you don’t have a vacuum breaker, I think it risks your water flow and your health. If you use your faucets often to do heavy work, the safest decision is to have a vacuum breaker. If you use your faucet to wash dishes or drink water, it should be fine.

How Do Vacuum Breakers Work?

A traditional vacuum breaker has 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 without using 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 rises, the water begins siphoning, and air inlets prevent the water from going backward.

The most common reason air pressure in the faucet increases is that 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 your faucets are running backward now and then, you need to fix them. And the only way to do it is by installing a vacuum breaker. 

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

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

So, if you are asking if a vacuum breaker is needed, 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 the vacuum breaker needs 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, and 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 you 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. If it does, it’s an obvious sign that the device needs repair.

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

You can find vacuum breakers 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. Unless it’s a  big problem, screw your valve nut a little tighter, and you should be good to go.

Doit’seed 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 halt water from siphoning. Some hose connection vacuum breakers have 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. Besides, having a vacuum breaker on your hose bib would be best than having overflowed unsanitary water.

Final Words

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

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

How the vacuum breakers work by having an air inlet and a control device. When air pressure increases, the inlet starts working. Using a faucet without any 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, 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. It would be best to use a vacuum breaker for your hose bib; the breakers come with spring valves.

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