Hot Topics: Take This Thing off My Spigot

A vacuum breaker on a hose bibb.

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There’s water sitting in your coiled garden hose, and it may not be pretty in there. When outdoor temperatures change, the difference between inside and outside can suck that water back through the spigot and into your supply lines. The vacuum breaker prevents this siphoning action, but what if it’s leaking and you need to remove it. It can’t simply be unscrewed, but the Forum can help you get it done.

Original Post: How do I remove vacuum breaker

bluesbreaker Member

The photo here shows my outdoor spigot where I attach my garden hose. I learned that the nut with the circular hole design is called a vacuum breaker. It needs to be replaced because water leaks out the holes when I use the garden hose.

How do I remove and replace this thing? Someone said I would need to partially saw through it first, and then undo the screw? It looks like there is a pin or screw in the photo. Where exactly would I saw through or what would I unscrew or loosen? Do I really have go to the trouble of sawing to get this thing off?


Highlights from the Thread

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

It should just unscrew off. You'll probably need a wrench on both the spigot and the vacuum breaker. I think some of them also use a set screw so you might want to inspect closely before you start. At 2nd glance, I believe that's a set screw on the left. Might want to spray it with some PB Blaster first.

Gunguy45 Super Moderator

Yep, you really do. The setscrew is snapped off as it is tightened, since they are required by code.

A dremel works nicely but you have to be careful not to damage the spigot threads too much. A few nicks won't hurt, but if you cut through them to the inside of the spigot, it will need to be replaced. You could probably use a stubby hacksaw but the dremel cuts faster and is easy to control.

The ones I've done, I just cut 2 notches (one on each side) the length of the vacuum breaker, then insert a couple of big screwdrivers and twist They normally crack and come right off. Takes about 5 min.

bluesbreaker Member

I guess I'm not sure where I do the sawing. Do I saw horizontally on both sides of the big hex nut with the holes-in-a-circle pattern?

Trying2Help Member

You may be able to gently drill out the setscrew and not have to make cuts. The setscrew is what is keeping the vacuum breaker from unscrewing off of the hose bibb. Vacuum breaker screws onto the hose bibb just like a hose would.

Hot Topics-Take this Thing off My Spigot, hose bib, vacuum breaker

CAUTION!!!!: Make sure you use two wrenches when unscrewing the vacuum breaker!!! One to unscrew the breaker and one as a backer wrench to hold hose bibb in place. If not, you may (will) put too much force on the pipe coming out of wall and it may (will) break.
This isn't the best picture, but hopefully you will get the idea:

Hot Topics-Take this Thing off My Spigot, hose bib, wrenches

Put pressure on the wrenches only, push one and hold one, don't put pressure on pipe!!

bluesbreaker Member

Hey, cool diagram you superimposed on my photo. Very helpful. Thanks for everyone's input. I'll reply also when I get the thing off. Backyard spigot needs to be done too.

bluesbreaker Member

I was able to remove the vacuum breakers. But the hose bibb threads are a bit worn, cracked, and flattened. I might have caused some damage too. So I need to replace the bibbs anyway.

Are the bibbs easy enough to remove? Just unscrew counterclockwise with a pipe wrench?


marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Can you tell if the spigot is threaded? or is it soldered on?

Luana Member

The threads may be in poor condition and yet the seal to the hose is okay. The threads are not the sealing point, the gasket in the hose coupler is the seal. I suggest checking this out before replacing the faucet.

bluesbreaker Member

My hose bibbs are sweated on. The threads are damaged enough that the garden hose screws on crooked. I must have damaged it when I was removing old vacuum breakers.

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