Red Flags at the Air Gap

You’ve seen them… those small chrome cylinders with open slots attached to your kitchen sink deck or counter top. Have you ever wondered what that silver thingy is?air gap blocked san jose 3

It’s called an air-gap device that’s installed between the dishwasher drain line and the garbage disposer. The purpose is to prevent contaminated water from siphoning back into the dishwasher, if there’s blockage at the disposer. It’s a one-way path for water flow and a health safety device.

Your dishes come out squeaky clean from the dishwasher, but some of the washed-off food particles accumulate in the corrugated drain hose where bacteria can grow. Water that leaves a dishwasher is considered dirty water.


Simply put, if water is discharging from the dishwasher and encounters blockage at the garbage disposer (or other situations)… You don’t want that dirty water in the discharge hose flowing backwards into the dishwasher and contaminating your clean dishes.

The air gap device is designed to allow water to flow in one direction towards the main drain/waste line. So the next time you see water shooting out of your air gap device… it’s a little red flag letting you know that there’s blockage somewhere in the dishwasher drain line.

It’s not always food blockage that causes water to flow out the air gap. You can count on the home inspectors at Pacific Coast Inspections to thoroughly check out your air gap device and the associated plumbing under the kitchen sink.

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