Do I NEED and air switch?

eleenaNovember 6, 2012

Please forgive my ignorance.

I (sort of) understand that it is a convenient thing.

But I already have a GD hooked to an electrical switch on a wall and cannot figure out whether I need an air switch when replacing the GD (instead of or in addition to the regular switch).

I don't mind doing it, just don't know why I would want to do it.


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No you don't need one - it's an alternative to a switch on a wall. Some people prefer them.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Thank you!

Obviously, it would cost some $$ (or $$$), but is there a reason I may WANT to switch?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:51PM
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Code where we are makes the electrical switch out of reach of the sink. The air switch is on one of the sink holes and much more convenient.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Fori is not pleased

Just picture using a doorbell on the counter instead of a switch on the wall and you'll get a good idea. There aren't any secret benefits at all. It's exactly what you think. :)

The electrical work is pretty minimal since it doesn't go into the wall--it's just removing the old connection. And if you don't have other switches in the old location you'll need a drywall or tile patch which isn't an issue in a major remodel. I don't think you'd want both switches unless one was a kill switch for the other nahhhhh you wouldn't want that.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Oh, that sounds good!

How much does it cost to install one?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:14PM
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My InSinkErator air switches were about $50. It took my sparky maybe 10-15 mins to install each one.

Here is a link that might be useful: ISE air switch

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 3:59PM
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Fori is not pleased

...Job is trickier if you don't have a hole for it in the counter of course! :P

If you do have the hole, it's totally DIYable.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:04PM
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Thank you!

I'll have a hole as it will be a new counter. I don't need to remove the switch as the light switch is on the same plate.

So, I am not replacing the GD power connector under the sink, just the switch itself, right?

An electrician will be there anyway, not worth DYI-ing I guess.

It's not that much money, so I guess I need to pull up the older threads to see how tempting it is. :-)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 6:16PM
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Consider also a fiber optic switch. It's just like an air switch, but the gasket is sealed so no water can get down it. It costs a little more than an air switch, but not in the big scheme of things. Order it online. Waste King made mine. I love it. One of my favorite improvements in the kitchen.

One advantage is that the air or fiber optic switch is an inconspicuous quarter-sized, almost-level spot on the counter, while a toggle switch on the wall with a switch plate interrupts the appearance of the backsplash. Even if you still plan a light switch there, the switch plate will be smaller if it's a single.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:33PM
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Fori is not pleased

No drippy handprints on the light switch!

I do think that the air switch (or FO) is an improvement over the wall switch. It's not a dealbreaker either way, just a smidge nicer.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:39PM
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We did ours as a switch on the wall, far enough away from the sink that no one could ever have their hand in sink and turn on disposal at same time. May be a bit inconvenient but as a former products liability/casualty insurance underwriter, I can tell you, bad stuff happens unintentionally.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:16PM
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Just to confuse the issue... for several reasons I decided to go with a batch control GD. No switch on wall or in counter, just a magnetic cover that you twist to engage the disposer. The cover lives under the sink (too large for my flip-out), so there are the extra steps to retrieve it and put it away. Some don't like batch GDs, but I'm very happy with this setup.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Our fiber optic switch, too, cost about $50 for the unit, whatever it cost to drill the extra hole, and I don't think any extra electrical work. Runs off the same electricity as the GD and dishwasher, under the sink. Our wall switch at the rental was right next to the over-sink light switch. PAIN. How many times did we turn on the GD when we meant to turn on the lights?

In our pre-reno home, we had to open the under-sink cabinet and turn on the switch, wait till the GD stopped running, then switch it off and close the door. Not convenient when anyone was at the sink prepping or doing dishes.

I can see that the extra hole might be a pain if you have a side spray, soap dispenser, some other kind of water dispenser, etc. We just had a single hole for the faucet, this extremely low-profile counter button is totally unobtrusive and extremely handy.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:37PM
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We did a wall switch at the main sink and an air switch at the prep sink on the island -- where there is no wall.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:37PM
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