How to Fix a Hose Spraying Water From the Vacuum Breaker

Updated: Jun. 09, 2023

A worn-out vacuum breaker is usually the culprit

FH09DJA_HSPIGO_01-2Family Handyman
When hose connection vacuum breakers start to spray water, it's a sign they need replacing—and for that you'll need a metal drill bit and a steady hand.

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Remove the old vacuum breaker from the garden hose faucet

Photo 1: Drill out the set screw

Drill a small “starter” hole next to the setscrew. Switch to a larger drill bit and drill at an angle toward the setscrew. Remove the old vacuum breaker.

Photo 2: Install the new breaker

Twist the new breaker into position and tighten the setscrew until the head breaks off.

Many older outdoor spigots are equipped with an “add-on” hose connection vacuum breaker (HCVB), and if water is spraying out it means the rubber gasket inside has failed. The vacuum breaker prevents water from flowing backward into the house. (Vacuum breakers are built into newer frost-proof water valves.) The bottom portion of the breaker on the garden hose faucet unscrews, but it’s almost impossible to find replacement gaskets. You can find new HCVBs near the brass valves in the plumbing section at any home center.

The vacuum breaker screws onto the water valve and locks into place with a tamper-proof setscrew. To remove the faulty vacuum breaker, you’ll first have to remove the setscrew(s). Use a small drill bit and drill down next to the setscrew. The brass is soft, so go slowly and be careful not to drill into the valve threads. Then use a larger bit and drill at an angle to demolish the setscrew. Install the new HCVB and you won’t have to run away from a spritzing hose spigot.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit set
  • Nut driver
  • Pipe wrench
  • Slip joint pliers

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Hose connection vacuum breaker