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  • Help with a hose bibb vacuum breaker.

    Hi all,

    First let me say that I'm no kind of plumber. I'm just a new homeowner who is a bit confused about my outside spigots (faucets/hose connections/whatever).

    I live in Plantation Florida and both my outdoor connections have what I have identified as hose bibb vacuum breakers on them. I've since learned that these are in place to prevent water contamination. Ok, no prob. I'll do what I can for water safety, but I do have a problem. It seems that immediately above the threading is a ring of holes and when the water is turned on, more water comes out of these vent holes than the actual faucet. It is such that turning on my hose to water grass or wash my car causes a spray of water from the hose connection that covers an area of sveral feet.

    If I'm understanding the intended purpose of the hose bibb, it is to prevent water from returning through the faucet once the hose is turned off or the water has been turned down very low.

    So, my question:

    Is it possible that the hose bibb is damaged or simply old and needs to be replaced, or is it functioning as it should, which would seem very odd to me? If it needs to be replaced, it seems to have been installed with the snap-off set screws so removal could be a problem. If I drill out the screw, can I simply replace it with another hose bibb, or will I have damaged the faucet? Or can I just use the actual faucet itself?

    Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Dan

    p.s. I did look around for a similar topic, but couldn't find an exact answer.

  • #2
    The hose bibb vacuum breakers seem to leak even when new. To be protected and still have the use of functioning hose bibbs I installed a reduced pressure principal device on my irrigation lines and my hose bibbs come off of that. The price on an RP has come down enough to make them pretty affordable.

    Mark
    Last edited by ToUtahNow; 05-13-2006, 09:27 PM.
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      dan, those vac. breakers are a pain in the as. the easiest thing would be to replace the entire hose bibb and purchase a complete new hose bibb without a vac. breaker or add a new vac. breaker onto the new hose bibb

      basically a drop in pressure while the hose bibb is open and it is laying in a pile of fertilizer or the like is the reason for a vac. breaker. sprinkler valvers have them, hand held shower hoses, pull out kitchen faucets are suppose to have them too.

      mark, utah mentioned about installing a reduced pressure backflow preventer on the entire irrigation system. good for a large installation. the issue with a r.p. valve is that they need testing and need to be certified on an annual basis here in the county of los angeles. not sure about the other jurisdictions

      stick with a new hose bibb and vac. breaker and you'll get another 5 years out of them.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        It sounds like your AVB (aka Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker) is bad.

        AVBs are not supposed to have pressure applied for greater than 12 hours. In other words, don't leave the hose bibb on and have a valve or other on/off control (solenoid valve, etc.) downstream of the AVB. If this has happened in the past it could have damaged the hose bibb vacuum breaker.

        Removing the vacuum breaker and having no protection would violate the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations and most if not all state plumbing codes. Hose connections of this type account for almost 70% of all drinking water contamination problems in potable water systems.

        An RPZ is overkill for a sprinkler system, it will work but costs more than a PVB. If backpressure is a concern then a RPZ may be required, because PVBs do not protect against backpressure, only backsiphonage. A PVB (Pressure Vacuum Breaker) is a good choice and rated for high and low hazards (lawn and garden sprinkler systems are considered high hazard cross connections). If you live in an area subject to freezing then get a freeze resistant PVB such as a Watts 800M4FR or equal. PVBs are testable and should be tested as required by local code and/or the water purveyor.
        They are also repairable, but must be tested by someone certified to perform the test.

        In NJ (and probably most states unless working on your own equipment in your HOME), the work must be performed by a licensed master plumber. If you own a business that serves the public, say a restaurant or other food service establishment, then your water system is not a private system, even if you get your water from a well you own and operate, so you would not be allowed to make repairs yourself and testing of the device would have to be conducted by a certified tester or in the presence of an official from the State (at least here in NJ).

        The screw-on hose bibb vacuum breakers such as you are having trouble with are designed to not be removable for reasons just as has occurred. You can remove the vacuum breaker and install a new one, but you should do so in a manner that will prevent someone from later coming along and removing it when there is a problem.

        Look at it this way. If you don't have the protection of the AVB and a backflow condition should occur, your household will be the first and maybe the only one affected, so the occupants of YOUR home will be the first to feel the effects of (or die from) the contaminated water.

        1. Get new vacuum breaker(s) and install correctly.
        2. Don't leave pressure applied to these type devices for greater than 12 hours.
        3. Educate your family about the dangers of cross connection contamination and backflow.
        4. Don't leave hoses submerged in buckets, spas, pools, puddles of ground water, etc. These are the situations that create potential backflow conditions and put your family at risk.
        "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
        John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
          dan, those vac. breakers are a pain in the as. the easiest thing would be to replace the entire hose bibb and purchase a complete new hose bibb without a vac. breaker or add a new vac. breaker onto the new hose bibb
          Hmmm... OK. Is this a job a firt-timer can do or should I hire a plumber? I'm pretty handy, but if specialized tools are involved or there is a possibility of doing major damage, I'd rather get it done right the first time.


          basically a drop in pressure while the hose bibb is open and it is laying in a pile of fertilizer or the like is the reason for a vac. breaker. sprinkler valvers have them, hand held shower hoses, pull out kitchen faucets are suppose to have them too.
          makes sense to me. I lived the first 35 years of my life in Queens, NYC and newver remember seeing them on outside hoses or anything, so they were completely foreign to me once I moved here.

          mark, utah mentioned about installing a reduced pressure backflow preventer on the entire irrigation system. good for a large installation. the issue with a r.p. valve is that they need testing and need to be certified on an annual basis here in the county of los angeles. not sure about the other jurisdictions

          I appreciate Mark's reply, but I don't have to do anything to the sprinkler system. My sprinklers are maintained by my home owners association. I'm just concerned with the outdoor faucets on the front and back of my house. I won't be doing anything to any irrigation system any time soon.

          stick with a new hose bibb and vac. breaker and you'll get another 5 years out of them.
          That's probably what I'll do. Thanks for the reply.

          And hey, if you could point me to a link or book or something that might give a step-by-step for replacing the entire hose bibb (is that the faucet itself?), I'd really apprecaite it. That way I can decide if it's a good job for me or for a pro.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bob D.
            It sounds like your AVB (aka Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker) is bad.
            OK so I'm not crazy...whew.

            AVBs are not supposed to have pressure applied for greater than 12 hours. In other words, don't leave the hose bibb on and have a valve or other on/off control (solenoid valve, etc.) downstream of the AVB. If this has happened in the past it could have damaged the hose bibb vacuum breaker.
            I literally just moved into this house on 5/8/06. I don't know what the previous owners may or may not have done, but I'd assume they did something wrong.

            Removing the vacuum breaker and having no protection would violate the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations and most if not all state plumbing codes. Hose connections of this type account for almost 70% of all drinking water contamination problems in potable water systems.

            An RPZ is overkill for a sprinkler system, it will work but costs more than a PVB. If backpressure is a concern then a RPZ may be required, because PVBs do not protect against backpressure, only backsiphonage. A PVB (Pressure Vacuum Breaker) is a good choice and rated for high and low hazards (lawn and garden sprinkler systems are considered high hazard cross connections). If you live in an area subject to freezing then get a freeze resistant PVB such as a Watts 800M4FR or equal.

            See my reply to Rick about the sprinklers. Don't need anything for those. And NOTHING freezes here in Plantation, FL . We're 20 minutes north of Miami.

            PVBs are testable and should be tested as required by local code and/or the water purveyor.
            They are also repairable, but must be tested by someone certified to perform the test.
            So maybe I can call the water people at City Hall and they can inspect/replace/repair as needed? (I love these small town city halls. They actually answer the phone and stuff.) Would you recommend that? They would probably be the ones who required the vac breaker in the first place, no?

            In NJ (and probably most states unless working on your own equipment in your HOME), the work must be performed by a licensed master plumber. If you own a business that serves the public, say a restaurant or other food service establishment, then your water system is not a private system, even if you get your water from a well you own and operate, so you would not be allowed to make repairs yourself and testing of the device would have to be conducted by a certified tester or in the presence of an official from the State (at least here in NJ).
            So maybe this is all a bit out of my league.

            The screw-on hose bibb vacuum breakers such as you are having trouble with are designed to not be removable for reasons just as has occurred. You can remove the vacuum breaker and install a new one, but you should do so in a manner that will prevent someone from later coming along and removing it when there is a problem.

            Look at it this way. If you don't have the protection of the AVB and a backflow condition should occur, your household will be the first and maybe the only one affected, so the occupants of YOUR home will be the first to feel the effects of (or die from) the contaminated water.

            1. Get new vacuum breaker(s) and install correctly.
            2. Don't leave pressure applied to these type devices for greater than 12 hours.
            3. Educate your family about the dangers of cross connection contamination and backflow.
            4. Don't leave hoses submerged in buckets, spas, pools, puddles of ground water, etc. These are the situations that create potential backflow conditions and put your family at risk.
            Thanks for the safety heads-up. I'll certainly keep it all in mind.

            let me just clarify something. Are you suggesting that I can drill out the snap-off set screw, remove the old vac breaker, replace with a new one, and I'll be OK?

            If it's that simple, I'll hit ACE Hardware tomorrow.

            Could you clarify your suggestion for me? I have no problem calling a plumber, but if I can avoid the expense, I'd like to.

            thanks for your help, and thanks to all for the advice so far.

            Dan

            Comment


            • #7
              dan, a couple of questions? are you in a condo, multi unit building? how hard is it to isolate the water to the hose bibb. is this hose bibb, faucet screwed on, or soldered on?

              if it's soldered on, then i would suggest that you either call a plumber or atempt to remove the vac. breaker by drilling or cutting.
              if the water shut off valve doesn't affect too many other units and the hose bibb is screwed on, then you can probably do it yourself with a little advanced notice to the other affected units.

              i've been known to change a hose bibb on the fly not recommended for a do it yourselfer. too many what if possibilites

              i would suggest that you assess your options and skill level and make the proper choice. a soldered on hose bibb with a shut off valve that affects too many other units is not a good choice for a do it yourselfer

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
                dan, a couple of questions? are you in a condo, multi unit building? how hard is it to isolate the water to the hose bibb. is this hose bibb, faucet screwed on, or soldered on?

                if it's soldered on, then i would suggest that you either call a plumber or atempt to remove the vac. breaker by drilling or cutting.
                if the water shut off valve doesn't affect too many other units and the hose bibb is screwed on, then you can probably do it yourself with a little advanced notice to the other affected units.

                i've been known to change a hose bibb on the fly not recommended for a do it yourselfer. too many what if possibilites

                i would suggest that you assess your options and skill level and make the proper choice. a soldered on hose bibb with a shut off valve that affects too many other units is not a good choice for a do it yourselfer

                rick.

                Rick,

                Changing a hose-bib on the fly is a last resort, even for a pro. I would suggest drilling out the vacuum breaker if, and I mean if, he is very handy with tools. If not call a plumber.

                This assumes the hose-bib is sweated on. If not, shut the water down, if possible, and install a new one with a vavuum breaker.

                Bob D. is correct, which he always is, that a vacuum breaker is essential.
                the dog

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