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How to Remove Vacuum Breaker? (5 Simple Steps)

Do you want to replace a vacuum breaker but aren’t sure how to remove it without damaging it? I’ll tell you how in my article.

A vacuum breaker is undoubtedly one of the most essential parts of a hose-bibb faucet. But these vacuum breakers might go bad in high temperatures, leading to many disasters. You don’t want dirty water flowing back into your home. So, here’s a simple guide on removing the vacuum breaker and replacing it with a new one.

In general, to remove a vacuum breaker:

  • Disconnect the water supply to the faucet.
  • Loosen the dust cap and pull it out.
  • Remove the body of the vacuum breaker.
  • Pull out the vacuum breaker and other parts.
  • Replace the vacuum breaker.

Read the below guide for more details.

5-Step Guide on How to Remove Vacuum Breaker

For this demonstration, I’m using a T-550 faucet. But remember, you can apply the same process for any other faucet. However, when it comes to garden faucets, it is a bit different. So. I’ll explain it later in the article.

Things You’ll Need

  • Adjustable pliers

Step 1 – Disconnect the Water Supply to the Faucet

disconnect the vacuum breaker
Video | LegendValve

First and foremost, locate and cut off the water supply for the faucet from which you plan to remove the vacuum breaker. It will be nearly impossible to carry out this process while water flows, so make sure it’s off.

Step 2 – Remove the Dust Cap

removing the dust cap
Video | LegendValve

Then, locate the dust cap. As per my faucet, it is located at the top. Then, rotate the dust cap counterclockwise until you can get it out. You don’t need any tools for the step. Instead, use your hands.

Quick Tip: Dust cap protect the vacuum breaker from dust and debris. Most of the time, these dust caps are made from chrome brass or plastic.

Step 3 – Remove the Body

removing the body of the vacuum breaker
Video | LegendValve

After removing the dust cap, you can locate the body of the vacuum breaker. For this, you’ll need adjustable pliers. On the surface of the vacuum breaker body, you can find 3 or 4 slots. Adjust the pliers to the size of the slots and turn them in a counterclockwise direction.

turn the vacuum breaker body using your hands
Video | LegendValve

After two or three turns, you might be able to turn the vacuum breaker body using your hands.

Step 4 – Pull Out the Vacuum Breaker

vacuum breaker parts
Video | Kadant Inc

A vacuum breaker usually comes with four parts; the body, stainless steel ball, spring, and a retainer tube.

pulling out all the damaged parts from the hose bibb faucet
Video | LegendValve

So, pull out all the damaged parts from the hose bibb faucet.

removing other vacuum breaker parts
Video | LegendValve

The other three parts should come out easily after you remove the vacuum breaker body.

Step 5 – Vacuum Breaker Replacement

taking a new vacuum breaker and place it on the faucet
Video | LegendValve

Finally, take a new vacuum breaker and place it on the faucet. Don’t forget to tighten the vacuum breaker body and the dust cap.

What If You are Using a Vacuum Breaker for a Garden Faucet?

As I mentioned earlier, garden faucets differ slightly from the others. According to the National Plumbing Code, you should have a vacuum breaker with every garden faucet. Otherwise, the water will travel backward and go into your house.

Quick Tip: Preventing backflow is the primary purpose of the vacuum breaker.

vacuum breaker connected by a screw
Video | Mr. Hardware

As you can see from the above image, the garden faucet has a vacuum breaker connected by a screw. So, follow these two steps to remove the vacuum breaker.

  1. Loosen the screw using a rachet
  2. Turn the vacuum breaker counterclockwise and pull it out

How Does the Vacuum Breaker Work?

The flowing water pressure opens the valve. So, when you turn off the water, there is no pressure, and the valve closes automatically. Because of that, the water won’t travel backward. That is why checking and replacing the vacuum breaker is a necessary process.

What is Backflow?

When the water flows backward, that process is recognized as a backflow. This common situation can occur in faucets if you don’t install a vacuum breaker.

For instance, the water will travel backward inside your house if your garden hose has no vacuum breaker. If this is drinking water, there won’t be any issues. But when the water is dirty, well, you can imagine.

Here are some troublesome situations where backflow can occur.

  • An opened fire hydrant on your street
  • Malfunctioning fire protection system
  • Burst water main

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video References

Kadant Inc


Mr. Hardware

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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