What Is a Dishwasher Air Gap?

by Team HomeServe
A view under a kitchen sink show a closeup of the air gap hose running from a hole that goes to the dishwasher on the  left side of the frame and runs upward and into the sink drain pipe

You probably don't spend much time thinking about how your dishwasher works as long as your plates and forks come out spotless.

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But your dishwasher’s air gap is something you might want to know about because of its ability to prevent contamination. Here’s what you should know about this device.

What Is a Dishwasher Air Gap?

A dishwasher air gap is a simple device that sits slightly higher than your sink on your counter, often along the back of your kitchen sink near your faucet. Its purpose is to keep contaminated water from flowing back into the dishwasher by creating a gap filled with air between the hose that pulls the dirty water out of the dishwasher and the hose that leads to the drain.

The air gap keeps the dirty water from traveling back into the appliance. If the drainage tube becomes clogged, the air gap directs the dirty water to your sink rather than back into the dishwasher. It's a simple and inexpensive device — compared to the cost of the dishwasher — that can minimize contamination.

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Why Does a Dishwasher Need an Air Gap?

Without a dishwasher air gap, the dirty, contaminated water that's draining out of the dishwasher could flow back into the appliance. The water will get all over your clean dishes, making them no longer clean. However, you might not know just by looking at the dishes that they've been contaminated because they could come out looking fairly clean. Installing a dishwasher air gap gives you more confidence in the cleanliness of your dishes.

You might also need a dishwasher air gap when you install a new dishwasher as some areas require them to meet basic building codes. Even if it's not required in the building code for your area, your plumber might insist on installing one in your kitchen.

@homeserveusa We can read your dishwashers mind. #fyp #foryoupage #howtoclean #cleantok #hometok #dishwasher #howto #homeowner #homeowner ♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz