A dishwasher air gap is something many people have heard of, but aren’t actually sure what it is or what it does. We’re here to help change that! If you have a dishwasher air gap currently installed in your home, you’ll recognize it as an egg-sized device that is mounted above the sink. If you don’t have one, it may be a good idea to have one installed, as a dishwasher air gap helps prevent sewage from potentially backing up into your dishwasher (which is why it is now required by plumbing code in some areas).

What is a Dishwasher Air Gap?

Here’s how a dishwasher air gap works:

The dishwasher air gap consists of two drain hoses. One is for expelling waste water out of the dishwasher, and the other is for leading the waste water to the garbage disposal. An air gap separates the two drain hoses to prevent the waste water from backing up and contaminating your dishes.

Ideally, no water or air should be expelled from the dishwasher air gap. But if there is, there’s a possibility that it may be a) improperly installed or b) clogged with debris.

Improper installation of dishwasher air gap:

To see if water or air leakage is due to improper installation, check under your sink to see the sizes of your drain hoses. The “out” hose (heading to the garbage disposal), should be bigger than the “in” hose. If they are the same size, the air gap system won’t work properly.

Another possibility is that the knockout plug wasn’t removed upon installation, preventing the water from flowing into the “out” drain hose. This is more likely if it was recently installed, and the installer may have forgotten to take it out. To remove the knockout plug, the drain hose leading to the garbage disposal needs to be disconnected and tapped out to allow the water to flow freely.

Dishwasher air gap clogged with debris:

If improper installation has been ruled out, it’s likely that debris is causing an obstruction. There are a couple of different methods that can help.

First, remove the air gap’s cover and get an empty paper towel roll. Place the paper towel tube over the hose openings and blow into the gap. This can help dislodge the food particles.

If that doesn’t work, you can also try dislodging the food particles with a long-handled bottle brush. Worst-case scenario, you may have to call a plumber to help you snake out the drain lines.

Looking to install a dishwasher air gap?

If you live in the Tampa Bay area and you’re looking to install a dishwasher air gap yourself, Appliance & A/C Parts Today can help! We have all the parts you’ll need and offer free technical advice. Contact us today!