Top loader Whirlpool. I've removed the back and water is leaking from the Break Vac during fill. The hose running to it is OK. The water is leaking from the back opening of the Break Vac. I'm thinking it's one of three things but don't really understand how this works. 1. Could it be too high a water pressure? would simply partially shutting the house inlet valves solve the problem? 2. Does the Water inlet valve in the machine control the flow and is it bad and allowing too much water to flow through it to the Break vac? 3. Possibly the Break Vac was jostled and in wrong position? The Break Vac appears to be a simple part and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it like cracks but maybe I'm missing something.


The "Break Vac" is a vacuum breaker component. You'll find similar devices on sprinkler systems to avoid siphoning water back in should the water supply lose pressure, or on frost free spigots to allow water to drain out of the fixture so it can't freeze and break things. On your washing machine, the design is quite different, simply a plastic funnel sending water into the tub, but the goal is the same, to ensure water can't be siphoned back if there's a loss of water pressure. As for why yours is leaking, you'll need to do some tests to work that out.

If it's high water pressure, you can try partially closing the valves to the washing machine as a quick test, or get a cheap pressure testing gauge to see the water pressure in your home. If it's too high, you may need to have a pressure reducing valve installed where the main enters the home, and possibly an expansion tank to deal with pressure fluctuations from the water heater.

If it's in the wrong position, it should be relatively obvious when you've opened things up. On versions I've been able to find, it clips into place. If the clips are broken, then it's time to replace it. You could perhaps have a problem if the washing machine was significantly out of level.

Two other possibilities that come to mind. You could have a bad clamp holding the hose on to the back of the vacuum breaker, allowing water to leak around that connection. If so, just get a new clamp and replace it. Or there could be too much dirt and debris inside the vacuum breaker throwing off the intended water flow. You can try cleaning it to see if that corrects the issue. If all else fails, I'd just replace the part. It's relatively inexpensive and you appear to be familiar enough with disassembling your machine.

  • Thanks for the reply BMitch. The part I'm looking at is called the Break Vac in the parts list. It's simply a plastic piece that funnels the water from the hose into the tub. There are no springs or other components and it's not really dirty. There's no supporting structure where a spring or other component may have been attached that broke off. There really doesn't seem to be anything that could malfunction with the piece unless it was cracked, which it is not. I believe this washer is a really low end model so maybe everything was built on the cheap. It's a Whirlpool Inglis. Thanks again.
    – Digs
    Feb 17 '16 at 14:11
  • Looking over the design of replacement parts for this, it's very different from vacuum breakers you'd see on other parts of the plumbing supply. It's designed so that the funnel itself allows air to return behind the water inside the part and then out an air gap into the washing machine, which eliminates the risk of siphoning water from the washer back into your water supply lines. I'll rework this answer since the original one was generic about any vacuum breaker.
    – BMitch
    Feb 17 '16 at 15:31
  • Does it look like this one? youtube.com/watch?v=pcWNbS7IDhQ If so, it's a pretty simply part, it just deflects water into the tub. If it's leaking, the most likely cause seems that either the part itself or the hose cracked or was dislodged, or the tub suspension is not holding the tub under the fill outlet.
    – Tim B
    Feb 17 '16 at 17:02
  • I was looking at that exact same video earlier. One other possible solution if it's just filling too fast is to put some kind of flow restriction washer in the hoses. That would cut down how fast water is filling the washer. I've use some anti-flood hoses on my washing machine and they dramatically slow how fast it fills that may help (they work by using a flow restriction on the end of the hose and shutting a spring loaded valve if the flow is ever too fast).
    – BMitch
    Feb 17 '16 at 18:44
  • Tim B and BMitch thanks a ton. Tim, the vacuum break is exactly like the one in the video. I've discovered that the machine's counterbalance spring is missing. I found a spring on my basement floor a while ago and thought it was an old spring that had fallen from my work bench. It must have been the counterbalance spring. I'm thinking the breaker vac was dislodged since the tub is not level. Not sitting level it may have been letting water come out the back side.
    – Digs
    Feb 17 '16 at 22:34
  1. Could it be too high a water pressure?

  2. Would simply partially shutting the house inlet valves solve the problem?

Possibly turn the Washer Water Valve towards the off position - half on half off ..and find out.

  1. Does the Water inlet valve in the machine control the flow and is it bad and allowing too much water to flow through it to the Break vac?

No. This is a simple open or close valve. On/Off.

  1. Possibly the Break Vac was jostled and in wrong position?

This would be obvious.

You might not see cracks but remember this component is probably plastic - remove it and test it - see if it leaks where it is sealed together. Are you positive the water is leaking form this thing - it is a SIMPLE device - take a picture if that is not good enough- even a video and post the video on youtube with a link here.

I am thinking your filler hose is cracked and worn out.. but maybe this simple device has a crack at the seal.

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