Reverse osmosis gurgling after use

maryann0625October 9, 2008

I've just replaced countertops and sinks in my kitchen, including replacing the RO faucet to fit in with my new decor. The under-sink tank and the cartridges were not changed. The original faucet was an air gap faucet, and the new one is not -- they said they could adapt a non-air gap faucet to work since the air gap faucet was not available in the color and size I needed. Now we hear gurgling after every use of the RO faucet. After running 16 ounces of water, the gurgling continues for 10 to 12 minutes, and it is audible throughout the kitchen unless we close the drain to muffle the sound. Running enough water to fill a coffee pot causes the gurgling sound to go on for a long time. Culligan never told me that I would have this gurgling problem. Is it likely that this is because of the non-air gap faucet? Any thoughts on whether this can be remediated? Or do we just retrain ourselves to close the drain after running the RO? :)

Thanks for any advice anyone may have for me.

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Airgap faucets may be a code requirement to prevent cross-contamination of your potable water. I would look into that first and get it corrected if necessary.

The gurgling is normal. It is the sound of the waste water running to drain when the RO is making water. With the new sink the drain connection may be in a different place and the sound more noticeable.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:37AM
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Thanks, justalurker. I'll look into this and see if I can find out what the codes are.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 12:27PM
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I suspect the air gap was required because it was there originally. I've seen many RO installations that have a non air gap faucet when code clearly calls for an air gap faucet. When questioned, the installers are reported to say "it's OK" and if/when inspected the plumbing inspectors say "NO WAY".

An air gap faucet is a safety requirement not just required for the fun of it. There is no down side using an air gap faucet when it is not required but it can be dangerous using a non air gap faucet. That's why most quality RO units come with an air gap faucet now days. Cheap, anonymous ROs tend to come with non air gap faucets.

I am curious, who said "they could adapt a non-air gap faucet to work"? Was it a licensed plumber or a Culligan employee?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 5:26PM
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It was the Culligan employee. Can you tell me how it's "dangerous" not to use an air gap faucet? I'd like to have a better understanding of this, explained in layman's terms. Thanks for your interest, justalurker.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:21PM
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An air gap is a separation between potable water and a drain. In the air gap faucet, the discharge line from the ro is connected to 1/4" barbed fitting on the faucet. It then "drips" from above into a 3/8" tubing which connects to the sink plumbing. The air gap is the distanct (space) from the 1/4" to the 3/8"

If there is a garbage disposal, the drain saddle clamp should be mounted above the cross over line from the disposal.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 10:37PM
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In layman's terms an air gap prevents cross-contamination between the drain and your potable water. Lots of nasty things live in your drain and the connecting sewer that you don't want to be drinking.

Google is your friend and here's a little light reading... click here to read about air gaps in plumbing

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 11:29PM
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