Repairing a Wilkins Vacuum Pressure Breaker

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Vacuum pressure breakers, more properly called pressure vacuum breakers, are installed at the highest point on an irrigation system to prevent water from flowing back from the sprinkler manifold into the main water line. This is important because water that enters a manifold is no longer potable under most municipal plumbing codes. The only damage to a vacuum breaker that can be repaired without replacing the entire unit is when the inner springs, poppet or bonnet break. Wilkins is one of the largest manufacturers of vacuum breakers. Most Wilkins models can be repaired using a kit available at most home-improvement stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Wilkins vacuum breaker repair kit
  • Turn off the water to the Wilkins vacuum breaker by turning both of the small ball valves on the side of the breaker 90 degrees clockwise.

  • Grab the top cap with both hands and turn it counterclockwise until the cap pulls free from the body of the vacuum breaker.

  • Pull out the exposed O-ring, poppet, bonnet and spring inside the breaker.

  • Inspect all of the internal parts for signs of damage. The O-ring may show signs of wear, while the poppet and bonnet may be cracked or broken along the plastic pieces. The spring may be rusted.

  • Swap out any damaged pieces with a new one from a Wilkins repair kit. The repair kit contains a new poppet, bonnet, spring and O-ring.

  • Place an undamaged spring into the base of the vacuum breaker, followed by a poppet and bonnet. Place an undamaged O-ring on the top of the valve opening. Place the cap on top of the valve and turn it clockwise until tight.

  • Turn the water to the vacuum breaker on by turning the two ball valves 90 degrees counterclockwise. Water may squirt from the top of the breaker for a few seconds while the system charges.

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