An air gap is an essential device to prevent contaminated water from re-entering into the commercial dishwasher from the drain.
When your plumber recommends, or you hear about, air gap, a debate arises.
You may confuse do commercial dishwashers need an air gap? As we don’t have proper knowledge about the air gap, it is natural to get puzzled.
So Let’s explore about air gap and know whether it is necessary or not.
Do Commercial Dishwashers Need An Air Gap?
Commercial dishwashers that are installed in a sink area do not have to have an air gap. However, dishwashers that are not installed in a sink area do require an air gap.
Commercial dishwashers regularly clean a huge number of dishes. So it is important to ensure certain wastewater and prevent contaminants from re-entering into the machine.
An air gap cap is an effective and simple solution to get rid of wastewater.
Otherwise, wastewater can block the drainage or reduce the cleaning efficiency.
Let me explain the detailed functionality of an air gap that will help you to understand the importance of an air gap for dishwashers.
What is a commercial dishwasher air gap?
A dishwasher air gap is a device that is mounted two inches above the sink to prevent contaminated water from re-entering into the machine via the drain.
You won’t face wastewater issues inside the machine if you have a dishwasher air gap.
That means to ensure a clean water supply; we need a commercial dishwasher air gap. It is a health fact too.
We load the dishes inside the machine and press a wash cycle. Then the dirt and grime kicked into the garbage disposal.
Air gaps isolate the wastewater from the hose that runs to the drain. As a result, there is no chance of re-entering the contaminated water back into your commercial dishwasher.
Suppose your garbage disposal is blocked and the sink overflows with contaminated water. As a result, the ugly water will spill over the sink and counter.
But it won’t create backflow onto your dishwasher. You will get a clean water supply every time as you install an air gap between the kitchen faucet and the rim of the sink.
Some people get confused about how backflow works. Backflow indicates unwanted water flow in the wrong direction.
The filthy water flow needs to come out from the machine, and the clean water supply enters into the hose.
But if the ugly water somehow moves back into the dishwasher, that is called backflow.
Air gaps are the protective barrier of a backflow. This incident happened due to cross-connection such as a block sink drain, defective hose, etc.
If your dishwasher doesn’t have an air gap and faces a cross-connection will result in being flooded with wastewater. That won’t make your dishes 100% germ-free.
How does a dishwasher air gap work?
You can say goodbye to the wastewater by using an air gap. Air gaps isolate two branches of the hose with a remarkable air gap to ensure that the two hose paths won’t ever intersect.
As a result, there is no risk of cross-connection or contaminated water creeping back into the dishwasher.
You need to connect one branch of the air gap fitting from the dishwasher machine to the air gap.
Then the other branch goes down from the air gap to the garbage disposal. When the hose running contaminates water from the appliances, it will leave the dishwasher.
At the end of the branch, the ugly water will run out of the tube via the air gap. Then the second branch will take the contaminated water to the particular drainage room.
These two branches of air gap need to be placed two inches above the sink or countertop.
Normally it is situated next to the faucet or soap dispenser. Air gaps become notch with holes to release water into the sink when your drain is clogged, or the tube is damaged.
If you notice air gap leaks, that means your dishwasher drainage tube is blocked and requires cleaning.
How do I install a dishwasher air gap?
You already know air gap is the most effective approach to avoid wastewater into the appliances.
Even you can’t sell a commercial dishwasher without installing an air gap. Most of the region across the US makes it mandatory to include an air gap to meet the plumbing code.
So when your restaurant inspection occurs, you need to install an air gap. Luckily it is easy to install an air gap. Even you can install it yourself without a help of a plumber.
Find the air gap hole
Most of the dishwasher counter contains pre-built holes. If you don’t use the precut hole for an air gap till now, then maybe it is hidden by a flat disc pattern cover. You need to take out the cover to locate the hole.
But if your counter doesn’t have a hole, use a drill machine to make a hole. Keep the hole depth 1-3/8″ and try to place it closer to the sink.
As a result, the air gap will get enough space to drain the tubes overflow to avoid a flood. You can use tape on the counter while doing drilling and avoid unwanted scratches.
Connect the air gap to the dishwasher
You need to connect the commercial dishwasher drain hose to the smaller leg of an air gap.
Now take a 5/8″ tube to connect it to the 5/8″ air gap legs. Then take some stainless steel hose clamps to tightly attach the tube to the air gap.
Connect air gap to drain hose/garbage disposal
Now you need a 7/8″ tube to attach the air gap to the drain hose or garbage disposal. Similarly, you should use durable hose clamps to make them attachment secure.
When you make a direct connection from the air gap to the drain, you need to join the tube to the Y-branch tailpiece that connects the sink to the drain. Use a hose clamp to tightly make the connection.
But if you attach the air gap to the garbage disposal, you need to place the tube protruding from the side of the disposal unit.
Simply take out the metal plug inside the tube and set up the 7/8″ tubing for disposal. Then use a clamp to secure the connection.
Place the air gap
Now you need to take out the air gap head covering. Place the air gap through the counter hole.
Use nuts to tighten the gaps. You need a wrench to make the air gap connection stable and secure. Then re-apply the vanity cover on the air gap heads.
Run the machine
As you are done with the installation, it’s time to check for leakage. You need to run the dishwasher wash cycle to monitor whether it has any leakages or other issues.
If you notice no water backflow, then the installation is absolutely fine.
A commercial Dishwasher air gap is a must to ensure a clean water supply inside the machine. Besides, you need to install an air gap to meet plumbing codes in many areas.
So don’t get confused about do commercial dishwashers need an air gap. Yes, you must need an air gap for a commercial dishwasher.
An air gap is the most effective and efficient way to prevent contaminated water from backflow. So if you want a clean water guarantee, don’t forget to use an air gap.