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Thread: Watts 288A Anti-Siphon Vacuum Breaker

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Kiko's Avatar
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    Default Watts 288A Anti-Siphon Vacuum Breaker

    My parents' Watts vacuum breaker was seeping, so I bought a repair kit, which contained an o-ring and a float. The galvanized pipe feeding it looked to be about 1" od and 3/4" id, and the repair kit said it was for 3/4" -1". Unfortunately, the disc part of this float measures more than an inch in diameter, so it would not fit inside the VB opening.

    Furthermore, I made the stupid mistake of unscrewing the bonnet under pressure (even though the supply was turned off). The old float shot up into the sky and disappeared into the bushes, so I don't have that to bring with me to the irrigation store. I assume I need the 1/2" repair kit, even though the feeder pipe is at least 3/4" wide. Can someone explain why this disc float is wider than my pipe?

    PS: The cover on the VB is worn, so I can't read the the numbers off of it.
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  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That float is for an atmospheric vacuum breaker, used for irrigation systems, NOT the 288A which is usually used on sinks or other indoors situations. But, if the numbers are worn, how do you know it IS a 288A, or even the manufacturer, since parts are not generic, but are manufacturer specific?
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Kiko's Avatar
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    This is for an irrigation system, and it clearly says Watts 288A 54-49 SA 1001 on the cap. I just can't find any number stamp for the size: 1/2, 3/4, etc.

    I just called Watts, and their tech support said that these repair kits are for the newer 288A's and that they don't have kits for the older ones like mine.

    I told this to the irrigation store, and they said that this old anti-siphon VB is not up to code and the whole thing should be replaced.
    Last edited by Kiko; 08-07-2012 at 09:08 AM.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; they said that this old anti-siphon VB is not up to code and the whole thing should be replaced

    Actually, the way yours is probably being used, it was NEVER up to code, nor have I ever seen a 288A used for a sprinkler system. Your installation probably needs what is called a "pressure vacuum breaker" as a minimum. Some areas require a "reduced pressure principle backflow preventer", (RPPBFP), which is somewhat pricey.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member Kiko's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that this old style Watts 288A is over 40 years old, which is why they no longer support it. Perhaps that was the only back-flow preventer at that time?

    In any case, the irrigation store recommends replacing with a Wilkins PVB.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    The really sad thing here is there seems to be no inspections required to verify the anti siphon device the right kind and that it is working properly. Like any other device such as a faucet, PRV, T/P, expansion tank, etc., they are going to wear and need repair or replacement eventually. My city is not the shining example of all code enforcements, but they do require and enforce an annual inspection by a certified inspector to re-certify every back flow device in the city. This is a simple test to determine that the device is functioning as it should, but sometimes, it requires need O rings, or other internal parts. The basic inspection is $35. Parts are additional but are quite inexpensive. Failure to comply with obtaining the re-certification inspection results in discontinuing all water service to the property until the requirement is met. Having no back flow prevention, a device that is wrong for the purpose, or one that is defective is putting everyone on the city water main at risk of drinking contaminated water. Yes, the risk may be small, but it is a preventable risk.

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