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Water Heater Vacuum Break?

My plumber has told me that I need a "vacuum break" on the cold water supply to my electric water heater ( Massachusetts plumbing code? )
I DO understand why this is appropriate for a house connected to a municipal water system. I am NOT connected to a municipal water system however. There is NO town/municipal water system in the town of Eastham!
Everyone in the town of Eastham has a PRIVATE WELL !!!
Why do I need a "vacuum break" in my cold water supply to the water heater?

Re: Water Heater Vacuum Break?

A vacuum break is a backflow preventer and is just as important on a well system as it is on a municipal system---codes are established only for good reason.

It is not uncommon for a water supply system to lose pressure; in the case of a municipal system, the firemen can be purging the fireplugs near your house; in the case of a well system, the well pump can die & cause a vacuum & complete drop in water pressure, in which case there's nothing to prevent the HWH from dry-firing & cooking itself and all associated piping, & requiring big $$$ for a new HWH; if the pump quit from a power failure and/or it is repaired, a basement flood is likely due to the damaged HWH heating elements that were cooked because there was no vacuum break.

Not so good, huh?

Re: Water Heater Vacuum Break?

How much do you trust this plumber? Do you have a longtime business relationship with him and you have always been satisfied with his workmanship and advice or is this the first time you used him?

This is important because if he is a trusted supplier of services to you and your family, then take his word. If this is the first time you have used him and especially if he did not come from recommendations of friends and family, then I would challenge him to show you in writing that this is a code requirement. I would also check with your townships building inspector. If it is required, verify that it applies to wells.

I will not argue the merits of a vacuum breaker, but if it is actually code, then you need to get one whether or not you think it is necessary.

Re: Water Heater Vacuum Break?

I agree with the above answers. Codes are there, not to punish anybody, but to ensure everybody's safety.

Just have your plumber install it.

Re: Water Heater Vacuum Break?

I love Eastham it's a great location far enough away yet close to everything. Although I am familiar with Eastham on the cape I'm not familiar with there plumbing code. Your well system should have a back flow preventer on it already, but if not a vacuum break is a easy enough installation for a DIY'er. It should be on the pump side of the well tank I have never seen one without it. But if not I would just visit your big box store on the cape or the Sears hardware in Orleans and they should have everything you need. Good Luck and please post back and let us know how you did.

Re: Water Heater Vacuum Break?

I'm not to sure about this one. He may be talking about a vacuum relief and not a vacuum breaker. A vacuum relief protects the tank from negative pressure.


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