Help: Smart Hose Timer, Outside Faucet and Vacuum Breaker


I have a vacuum breaker attached to my outside faucet between the faucet head and the Smart Hose Timer. After a few weeks, water starts leaking from the weep holes in the vacuum breaker. Also, the vacuum breaker instructions indicate that it should not be under “constant pressure or more than 12 hours” and Googling “leaking vacuum breaker” leads to a bunch links that basically say that the vacuum breaker should be attached AFTER the shut off point (e.g. at the bottom of the Smart Hose Timer instead of on top). However, the threads on the outside faucet to do not work on the timer (I think they are a different type).

The faucet needs to left on for the Hose Timer to do its job but that causes a constant drip of water from the vacuum breaker. Does anyone have suggestions that may work? I’m based in Dallas, and I believe the vacuum breaker are required by code and even if I removed the vacuum breaker, the threads on the timer don’t fit.

Thanks for your help

@rakgupta - Get a fine thread hose adapter like this to connect the Smart Hose Timer to the hose bib →

Then a hose thread vacuum breaker like this to place on the outlet side of the Smart Hose Timer →

Yes, I believe a vacuum breaker is required by code on newer outside faucets. If the set screw was broken off on the current fine thread vacuum breaker, you may need to drill out the screw to prevent the fine threads from being damaged.


@Dlane1 - thanks. I think I’ve just ordered something that looks like what you suggested

  1. - Faucet to Smart Hose
  2. - Smart Hose to Hose Pipe

Can you do me a favor and see if these are the right things? If not, I will cancel the order.

Luckily, I was able to remove the fine thread vacuum breaker…

Thanks so much for your help.

@rakgupta - those two items look to be correct. The first one references an Arrow faucet, but I’m thinking fine threads are fine threads, not sure if your faucet is an Arrow brand or not.

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Hmm - well, I ordered the one you had linked to as well. I will return one of the two depending on what works!

Thanks again. Will let you know how this works out… :pray:t3:

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Without knowing what you have for a hose bibb, a lot of them on the market are an add on piece to a standard hose bibb or sillcock. Usually, the threads should already be hose thread…so that adapter may not be necessary.

I know they are code, and probably are a good idea, I HATE vacuum breakers on hose bibbs. Any time I use a hose on around my house they leak water like crazy when using a nozzle.

But @DLane is correct that moving the vacuum breaker to the end of the hose timer will solve the constant drip issue. Keep in mind, you will probably still see a wet spot as each time the system shuts down, the vacuum breaker will most likely burb some of the pressure off, and/or drip when the system is running.


Hi @rakgupta,

Thank you for reaching out and letting us know about the issue that your having with the Rachio Smart Hose Timer and your vacuum breaker.

I think there might be a simple solution here which is to flip the mesh filter around so that the convex part of the mesh filter is oriented to point inward inside of the valve

Your mesh filter in its current state should look like the picture below. Without seeing the actual setup, my guess is that the mesh filter is butting up against the vacuum breaker and preventing the connection from being sealed which is causing the leak.

You can use a dull knife or flathead screwdriver to remove the mesh filter and gasket. Then re-insert so it looks like the picture below

Please let me know if this helps out all. If it doesn’t having some pictures of the setup would be helpful.

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@dane - thanks so much for the suggestion. I will try it with putting the vacuum breaker at the bottom of the Smart Hose Timer and see if that works. If it does not, I will try your solution. I think you may be correct that if I attach the breaker at the bottom of the timer, it may not seat correctly. Currently, the breaker that I have is a fine thread breaker, so it does not fit the timer in any case.

Will let you know how this plays out.

@Dane - I think there are several conflicting issues at play here:

  1. The spigot end vacuum breakers are not certified to be under pressure over 12 continuous hours. The concern is they could seal shut and then not work.

  2. I’m not sure if the Smart Hose Timer is NSF certified. If the Smart Hose Timer is not NSF certified, then Smart Hose Timer needs to be after a vacuum breaker. This is much like the original wireless water meter for the Rachio irrigation system.

  3. Some of the spigots use a fine thread, versus male hose thread, so that a vacuum breaker needs to be attached for a hose to be used on the spigot.

Let me know if you have any questions about the above.


That’s why I think I need to put it in at the bottom of the Smart Hose Timer. When the timer is off, there should be no “pressure” on the vacuum breaker (I hope that is correct).

I’m confused by this. If the Smart Hose Timer needs to be AFTER the vacuum breaker, then the vacuum breaker will be under pressure continuously, correct? That is what I am trying to avoid, since it causes the vacuum breaker to leak.

Regarding the NSF Certification - is the concern here that the water retained in the Smart Hose Timer will be fed back into the main water line? If so, maybe Rachio has a design flaw, since your points 1 and 2 are mutually exclusive!

Yes - my spigot uses the fine thread - which is why I’m getting an adapter for fine thread to standard spigot.

My proposed solution is:

Spigot Fine thread to Hose adapter Smart Hose Timer Vacuum Breaker (with standard threads) Hose

Keeping my fingers crossed that this Frankenstein solution will work :crossed_fingers:t3:

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@dane - I just looked at the video on the website (Automate your watering with Rachio Smart Hose Timer), - Getting Started section. That shows the Smart Hose Timer being connected directly to the spigot. Does this mean that the timer supports the fine threads on the outdoor spigot? I cannot connect my standard hose to the spigot without the vacuum breaker that is fine thread on one end, and hose compatible thread on the other. I also tried putting the hose timer directly on to the spigot and it would not work…

@rakgupta I better understand your setup now. I’m going to work with our hardware team to see if they can offer any insights to make this work for you. I can answer your question about the threading. our Smart Hose Timer has a Male and Female 3/4" GHT (Garden Hose Thread) also found as NH (National Hose). It sounds like you will need an adapter and you have found one already. I’ll follow-up here once I learn more. I’m sorry that I don’t have the answer now.

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You can buy adapters the make that go away. Lookup

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Thanks - what I got is something similar and I think it is working!

@DLane @tmcgahey @TurfGOD - thanks for all your help and suggestions. The solution seems to be working (so far :crossed_fingers:t3:). Attached is a pic of the Frankenstein(ish) solution

Edit: I probably need to add another vacuum breaker before the standard hose…


@rakgupta - Yes, add another vacuum breaker on the other side of the Y. While maybe not technically correct, I don’t think the spigot police will come by and check for NSF stamps on the Rachio or Y connector and the ounces of freshly chlorinated water that could be sucked back into the potable water system with negative pressure through potentially non-NSF devices with the vacuum breakers on the other side of them, probably won’t have a material effect on the water quality.

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I installed a Febco 767 backflow (vacuum breaker) for my 2.5 acres. That way I do not need the more expensive vacuum breaker valves (I have 45 valves total), and the Febco can be rebuilt.

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Because I have Arrowhead (ABP) freeze-proof hose bibb, I’ve needed to adapt fine-threads (NPT) of its removed vacuum breaker to garden hose threads (GHT) to connect the Rachio Hose Timer. The required vacuum breaker therefore has to follow the timer, but it can be an easily located GHT-threaded adapter. So it looks and works as pictured.

However, in operation, the Rachio Timer exhibits a strong buzzing sound, although it seems to be properly controlling the flow. If I remove the vacuum breaker, there’s no unusual noise from the timer.
When a timer cycle completes, the vacuum breaker works properly, flushing the connection.

I can’t seem to upload a sound file of the noise, but it’s pretty close to that of a mad hornet, only bigger. Anyone seen (or heard) this problem? I need to include the vacuum breaker.

If you want to install a vacuum breaker ahead of the hose on the Y branch, you should close the Y branch to the hose after use (as you’ve illustrated) in case you have a shut-off device at the hose end that leaves it pressurized. Otherwise, don’t install a breaker.

I haven’t noticed any noise but will go check it out later today.

That’s pretty much what I have done. I have the vacuum breaker after the Smart Hose Timer on one branch of the “Y” and before the hose (just a regular garden hose) on the other branch.