My handheld (stand-alone) shower head constantly drips, so I bought another unit that would not fit. After the third unit, the instructions said I needed a vacuum breaker. I'm not even sure if a vacuum breaker or backflow valve will stop the leak.

One guy said I need a new faucet valve, and another said "no". Also, I have a metal ball on the pipe from the wall, so I found an adapter to hopefully use if I can figure out this vacuum breaker problem. The guys in hardware & home improvement stores give me mixed answers. The short question, I guess, is can the absence of a backflow valve or vacuum breaker cause a leak?

  • Your control valve is most likely causing the leak - backflow prevents exactly that - backflow - not forward flow.
    – Ken
    Nov 12, 2017 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


The vacuum breaker is there to prevent dirty water from contaminating the fresh water supply in the (unlikely) event you were to drop the hand-held unit into standing water at the bottom of your shower enclosure while at the same time there was a drop in city supply pressure (like due to a fire engine pulling from a hydrant on your street). Your equipment will function perfectly fine without one.

Any leak/drip from anywhere downstream from the control valve(s) would mean the the valve(s) need servicing (not necessarily replacement). If you post a new question with pictures of the handle(s)/knob(s) we might be able to help you fix it.

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