Updated: April 2021
In the plumbing industry, air gaps are an important design element to understand! The experts at Watters Plumbing are here to help you understand more about air gaps, what they are, why they are important, and what you should be on the lookout for.
What is an air gap and why is it important?
Plumbing codes call for an air gap between portable water and a drain. This gap is usually about the distance between the faucet and the top of the sink or bathtub (one inch or more). Basically, the air gap is there to prevent accidental backflow. If contaminated water backflows, it can cause serious health risks.
Without the air gap, wastewater could siphon back into the drinking supply. This can happen in situations where a city main is shut off, causing a drain-down of the system with plumbing that has been done improperly. Sometimes it is a hose left in a mud puddle, or maybe a hose lying in bleach water. People have died this way. Though rare occurrences, the plumbing code helps protect the general public from these dangers.
Current improvements include antisiphon faucets for garden hoses, the air gap for the dishwasher, proper installation of water heater T&P relief drains, and backflow preventers for irrigation systems.
Air gaps in sinks
One of the most common types of air gaps you’ll see is in sinks/tubs and the faucet. Ever wondered why the faucet is so much higher than the sink rim? That gap makes sure water can get from the outlet to the sink, but no contaminants can get back in the outlet/faucet — even if the sink overflows.
Air gaps in dishwashers
You’ll also see air gaps when it comes to your dishwasher installation. Dishwashers are generally hooked up to a pipe under a sink or through a garbage disposal. You’ll likely notice a small round cylinder mounted on the countertop by the faucet. The tubes inside the dishwasher are separated by a space, which creates an air gap.
If you have more questions about air gaps or plumbing issues in your Fox Cities home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Call Watters Plumbing now to handle your leaky repairs. Easy call, fast fix.
Last updated 1/26/21