I need some help - dishwasher overflow thing on countertop

oceanbaby_2008October 4, 2008

I don't know what these are called - you know those little things that some people have on their sinks/countertop that are supposed to be for dishwasher overflow? I remember seeing a thread on here once about how in some states (like CA, where I am), they are required by code, but after inspection can be taken out and use the hole for something else.

Can someone explain to me how they function, and why I don't need one? So many houses I go to don't have them. But then my MIL made a comment that you HAD to have one.

What do they do? Is it really okay to take it out after the inspection? Is there something else you need to do with the plumbing to compensate for taking it out?

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Hubby is a plumber. He said the airgap (that's the name for it) is there as a safeguard to prevent contaminated water from flowing back into the dishwasher (if the sink were to backup). He said he personally would not take the risk of taking it out just to look "pretty."

Just his two cents. :)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 2:18AM
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Circus Peanut

I live on the East Coast and confess I've never seen one of those airgaps in real life. When I first saw them in photos here on this forum, I thought they were some kind of newfangled soap dispenser. As such, I'd have to say that they're not strictly necessary, since (correct me anyone if I'm wrong) we don't seem to have more issues with dishwasher overflow etc on this side of the country...?

I believe that the issue is resolved hereabouts by creating a loop in the connector tubing that's higher than the sink drain. Some European dishwasher models explicitly say they don't require them in their warranty. But if you're in California and under code, you may be out of luck and must put one in regardless. I think there's an airgap model that has a soap dispenser attached to it - that might be one solution?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 7:01AM
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I also live on the east coast and had never heard of an air gap until finding this site. Our dishwashers work just fine here without them so if you are not required to have one where you live, I would say don't make that extra hole in your counter.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 7:34AM
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I too discovered in this forum that somehow the rest of the country muddles by without even knowing what an airgap is, much less having one required. My dishwasher installation instructions, say "install the airgap, if required, blah blah". I intend to switch it out after inspection. You still have to install it right (with a loop or attached to the garbage disposal or something). I'm not doing it; my plumber is. Shhhh! We don't want him to lose his license...

- Jim

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 8:00AM
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It's all based on what is code in your area. When we lived in California we always had them, but since moving out of state to the east side, we've been told they are no longer code because of the way the pipes are set up now the air gap is "built in"? I was just talking to our plumber yesterday and I didn't think ask, but it sure is worth following up on. I'll post his answer after talking to him. Thank you for the post.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 9:38AM
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I had one, and it was disgusting, dirty, greasy, moldy, and didn't actually work well. Stuff was always getting stuck in it.

When I remodeled, the plumber said the local code no longer required it, so when he re-installed the DW, he just ran the drain hose up to the bottom of the counter and then down to the waste pipe/disposal under the sink. I've had no problems, at all.

When the waste pipe was clogged a few years ago, the DW actually stopped running when it couldn't drain the water. This happened once with the air gap, and water ran out the air gap, onto the counters and floors. It was awful.

Get rid of it if you can.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 11:38AM
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