Do You Need a Dishwasher Air Gap?

An open dishwasher.
  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 45
What You'll Need
Air gap
Hose clamps

A dishwasher is found in most homes today. It is a useful tool for cleaning and sanitizing dishes. Dishwashers not only wash and rinse, but are also great for drying the dishes with a heated and warm dry cycle. An air gap is used to prevent sediment, dirt, and grime from infiltrating into your dishwasher and clean dishes. A dishwasher air gap is a component that is installed in many of the newer homes and with the new models of dishwashers. Below are several reasons why you should consider adding an air gap to your dishwasher if you do not have one.

Consider the Noise

An air gap will help to muffle some of the noises that are created by the dishwasher when it is washing the dishes. If you are concerned about the noise level of your dishwasher, an air gap might help.

Consider Backwash and Dirty Water

The inside of a dishwasher.

The drain water from your dishwasher should head straight to the sewer system. If a blockage or other issues cause it to back up, the dirty water will leave debris on your dishes. Air gaps protect the dishwasher from allowing dirty drain water to flow back into the dishwasher, saving you the inconvenience of washing them again.

Consider the Health Savings

While we’re on the subject of dirty water on your dishes, consider the health aspects. The job of your dishwasher is to clean and sterilize dishes. If you have a backwash issue, your dishes may not be as sanitary as you think they are. With an air gap in place, the bacteria and debris will head out instead of coming back in to settle on your clean dishes, which could lead to health issues.

Consider the Building Code Requirements

A woman loads a dishwasher.

Your dishwasher may have been installed perfectly to code, but many townships and local municipalities now require an air gap to be installed at the same time as the dishwasher. If you have an old dishwasher, you probably do not have an air gap. As you replace it, you will need to install one to meet the regulations of your local building codes.

Helps to Unclog Drains

The air gap actually does help to unclog the drain or piping that leads to your dishwasher. The air gap is installed so that it can discharge into your sink. If you have ever turned on your dishwasher and then found a bunch of particles in the sink after the dishwashing cycles have finished, this is because the air gap has pumped the pieces of food and other bits of stuff into the sink to clear the drain lines. It is a great component to have because it limits blockages that may develop with use, saving you time and costly repairs down the road.