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    daveskee's Avatar
    daveskee Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    May 30, 2007, 10:15 AM
    Dishwasher air gap mystery!
    I have had the usual symptomatic water overflow out of the dishwasher air gap on the top of my sink countertop. After replacing the countertop with granite and relocating the air gap hole, I replaced the hose from the air gap to the disposal and insured there was no blockage in the disposal and new hose. Yet I have so much water pressure coming from the dishwasher that it shoots out of the air gap vent. I confirm the water is draining into the disposal from the air gap vent but it seems there is so much water or the pressure is so great the system can't handle the amount of water being discharged and backs up into the air gap. I've even looped the extra amount of hose from the dishwasher to the air gap above the disposal drain height to see if that would solve this. It did seem to take some of the pressure off the water coming out of the air gap but it still spews out. After searching and reading all the posts regarding this usually common issue, I'm at a loss. Anyone have any ideas?
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #2

    May 30, 2007, 11:40 AM
    Speedball1, our resident plumber, tells us he never uses air gaps nor do I. They are intended to prevent back siphoning but you can do the same with a high loop in the drain hose. Run the drain out of the washer all the way to just under the counter and strap it to the cabinet, then to your disposal. The problem you are experiencing should not happen but we don't know if you added a new washer or who did your plumbing. Something's is causing a partial blockage, you did not accidentally reverse the two hoses did you? The drain from the machine goes to the smaller of the two tubes of the air gap.
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    daveskee Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    May 30, 2007, 01:22 PM
    Ok I just conducted a little experiment and now I have no idea what the problem is. I disconnected the large hose at the disposal so that it was still connected to the air gap vent. I put the unattached end into a bucket and started the dishwasher. When the dishwasher drained water and water came out of the larger hose unobstructed into the bucket, water still came out of the air gap vent, same as before!

    Is it possible that the dishwasher is draining with too much pressure?
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #4

    May 30, 2007, 01:55 PM
    Dish washer pressure can't get stronger than day1. It is the same dishwasher, right? The hose leading to the air gap from the machine should be nearly straight, no loop so cut it shorter. Is the air gap the original or did you replace it when the counters went in? There is a very slim chance that you have a bad air gap. They are so simple the chances are slim. I'd remove it and just strap the drain I described earlier in the post. They are a pain and Speedball1 says they aren't needed although some cities require them to be up to code.
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    daveskee Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    May 30, 2007, 02:35 PM
    Haven't changed dishwasher. Same as when we moved in, but we were having this issue then too. I've replaced the original air gap with two new ones, the first the same style and the second a different style. Same result each time.

    Hopefully someone might have an idea. I'd like to try and keep it up to code by keeping the air gap.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #6

    May 30, 2007, 02:42 PM
    So you've had this issue all along, not tied to the new counters. Do you know that your city building code requires a gap? Dave, code is for construction and you doing a DIY have a bit of latitude, take it out.
    daveskee's Avatar
    daveskee Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    May 30, 2007, 07:10 PM
    Yes local code here requires the air gap. If I was staying in the house I'd solve it with your solution but we're preping to sell soon and it'll have to pass inspection so I'd rather take care of it per code. I also want to know for my own education why it's happening.

    So if there's anyone else out there with any ideas, let me know! Thanks in advance.
    iamgrowler's Avatar
    iamgrowler Posts: 1,421, Reputation: 110
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    #8

    May 31, 2007, 06:58 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by daveskee
    Yes local code here requires the air gap. If I was staying in the house I'd solve it with your solution but we're preping to sell soon and it'll have to pass inspection so I'd rather take care of it per code. I also want to know for my own education why it's happening.

    So if there's anyone else out there with any ideas, let me know! Thanks in advance.
    Are there any kinks in the 7/8" hose going into the disposal?

    Are you using the correct inlets and outlets on the air-gap?

    The smaller inlet takes the hose from the dishwasher and the larger outlet gets the hose going into the disposal.

    Also, check the inlet on the disposal to be sure the plug has been completely removed.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #9

    May 31, 2007, 08:30 AM
    Growler's correct about checking the disposals knock out plug, seen many still partially attached. However you said it still happens when you put the discharge hoes into a bucket. Since it was a new hose I'm stumped on this problem. Before we yell uncle please double check the two hoses going to the air gap. Growler and I both mentioned the smaller hose goes between the washer and the air gap. Sorry I could not solve this issue Dave.
    daveskee's Avatar
    daveskee Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    May 31, 2007, 07:19 PM
    There are no kinks in the 7/8" hose and the correct outlets on the air gap are hooked up correctly. Small inlet from the dishwasher and larger outlet to the disposal. Knockout plug is not present as I've reached into the disposal and felt the open hole with my finger. I've even put a small screwdriver into the inlet and it came through into the disposal freely. I even felt the water shooting into the disposal from the 7/8" hose inlet as the dishwasher drained. But listen to this, as the water is shooting into the disposal as it should, water is still coming out of the air gap! There seems to be too much pressure. So much so that if I take off the metal cover on the air gap, the water shoots up about 8-10" out of the top of the air gap.

    As far as I know, you can't regulate the drainage pressure from the dishwasher.

    Could a blockage in the dishwasher or dishwasher drainage line cause increased pressure? I assume it would just do the opposite and cause less water pressure.

    Thanks for the tips guys but I think I've thought of everything that's been suggested so far. I can't believe no one else has had this problem. Well I'm holding out hope that this thing won't beat me and am still open to suggestions if there are any others out there!
    letmetellu's Avatar
    letmetellu Posts: 3,151, Reputation: 317
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    #11

    May 31, 2007, 07:42 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ballengerb1
    Speedball1, our resident plumber, tells us he never uses air gaps nor do I. They are intended to prevent back siphoning but you can do the same with a high loop in the drain hose. Run the drain out of the washer all the way to just under the counter and strap it to the cabinet, then to your disposal. The problem you are experiencing should not happen but we don't know if you added a new washer or who did your plumbing. Somethings is causing a partial blockage, you did not accidently reverse the two hoses did you? The drain from the machine goes to the smaller of the two tubes of the air gap.
    In our code book we have to install an air gap, and I do not agree with the notion that you don't need one to prevent back flow into the dishwasher. If a doit-yourselfer has a stopped up sink and his friend tells him to fill up the disposal side of the sink with water and stop up the other side of the sink and then turn on the disposal, Where do you suppose the water is going to go, with all of the contaminates that have collected in the disposal and the hose leading from the dishwasher.
    letmetellu's Avatar
    letmetellu Posts: 3,151, Reputation: 317
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    #12

    May 31, 2007, 07:46 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by daveskee
    I have had the usual symptomatic water overflow out of the dishwasher air gap on the top of my sink countertop. After replacing the countertop with granite and relocating the air gap hole, I replaced the hose from the air gap to the disposal and insured there was no blockage in the disposal and new hose. Yet I have so much water pressure coming from the dishwasher that it shoots out of the air gap vent. I confirm the water is draining into the disposal from the air gap vent but it seems there is so much water or the pressure is so great the system can't handle the amount of water being discharged and backs up into the air gap. I've even looped the extra amount of hose from the dishwasher to the air gap above the disposal drain height to see if that would solve this. It did seem to take some of the pressure off of the water coming out of the air gap but it still spews out. After searching and reading all the posts regarding this usually common issue, I'm at a loss. Anyone have any ideas?
    After all of the things that you have tried I think I would go to the hardware store and invest in a new air gap, they come in different designs and it could be that there is a problem with your's and a new one might stop the problem.

    One thing I will mention but I am sure that you have checked is to make sure that there is not kink in the 7'8 inch hose from the air gap to the disposal, also make sure that the 7/8 inch hose has a downward slope all the way to the disposal.
    daveskee's Avatar
    daveskee Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Jun 1, 2007, 11:08 PM
    I've replaced the old air gap with two different types and same result. No kink and the 7/8" hose is downward sloped. Already addressed these. Any other ideas?
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #14

    Jun 2, 2007, 09:55 AM
    Sorry Dave but I've run out of ideas and it isn't feasible to swap out a dishwasher to try another. Seems like you've done everything else. I'm sure the dishwasher people won't like this idea but you could try reducing the drain tube between the machine and the air gap. Try partially crushing the drain hose with a C clamp to see if it fixes your problem and doesn't create a new one.
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
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    #15

    Jun 2, 2007, 11:56 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by letmetellu
    In our code book we have to install an air gap, and I do not agree with the notion that you don't need one to prevent back flow into the dishwasher. If a doit-yourselfer has a stopped up sink and his friend tells him to fill up the disposal side of the sink with water and stop up the other side of the sink and then turn on the disposal, Where do you suppose the water is going to go, with all of the contaminates that have collected in the disposal and the hose leading from the dishwasher.
    "If a doit-yourselfer has a stopped up sink and his friend tells him to fill up the disposal side of the sink with water and stop up the other side of the sink and then turn on the disposal, Where do you suppose the water is going to go?"
    With a air-gap it's going to go all over the counter top and kitchen floor. That's where.
    And what idiot would advise anyone to pour more water in a clogged sink and then attempt to use a disposal to clear the clog. I have been putting in dishwashers in condos and new houses since 1979 using a high loop instead if counter top air gap. In all those years, and in the hundreds of installations we have done, we haven't had even one complaint about a high loop misfunctioning.
    I KNOW that the air-gaps can't make that statement because we get complaints about counter top floods from time to time here in the plumbing page.
    LetmetellU, perhaps you and Growler are forced, by code, to use counter top air-gaps but here we have a classic case of mechanical versus natural. Sort of like "What is more likely to fail?" A regular vent out the roof or a AAV?
    A high loop or a counter top air-gap? In my area we have a choice. We went with a high loop. I rest my case. Tom
    iamgrowler's Avatar
    iamgrowler Posts: 1,421, Reputation: 110
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    #16

    Jun 2, 2007, 07:02 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by speedball1
    "If a doit-yourselfer has a stopped up sink and his friend tells him to fill up the disposal side of the sink with water and stop up the other side of the sink and then turn on the disposal, Where do you suppose the water is going to go?"
    With a air-gap it's going to go all over the counter top and kitchen floor.
    Sure -- And without the air gap it's going to go right into the hose and then down the hose and contaminate the dishwasher.

    I hate to break it to you, Tom, but your reply was almost verbatim the example I give during class for why an air-gap is required under the UPC.

    I'm not going to get into a pissing match with you over which code is superior over the other, but I think it should be noted that it was you who illustrated the point.

    And what idiot would advise anyone to pour more water in a clogged sink and then attempt to use a disposal to clear the clog.
    You're kidding, right?

    Think back on all of the truly bad advice you've left negative feedback on, Tom.

    I have been putting in dishwashers in condos and new houses since 1979 using a high loop instead if counter top air gap. In all those years, and in the hundreds of installations we have done, we haven't had even one complaint about a high loop misfunctioning.
    I KNOW that the air-gaps can't make that statement because we get complaints about counter top floods from time to time here in the plumbing page.
    Y'know, I've yet to encounter the situation you describe in a properly installed air gap.

    Usually if the air gap has failed, it is because the user failed to rinse the dishes off or the limiter on the discharge pump has failed.

    LetmetellU, perhaps you and Growler are forced, by code, to use counter top air-gaps but here we have a classic case of mechanical versus natural. Sort of like "What is more likely to fail?" A regular vent out the roof or a AAV?
    A high loop or a counter top air-gap? In my area we have a choice. We went with a high loop. I rest my case. Tom
    Sure -- But your example contaminated the dishwasher and the dishes in the dishwasher (something the user couldn't possibly be aware of), while the other example merely flooded the counter top and kitchen floor (the user would have to be deaf, dumb and blind to not figure out there was a problem if this should happen).
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
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    #17

    Jun 3, 2007, 06:39 AM
    Great rebuttal Growler. Good points all! One problem. Would you care to check back on the complaints we have got on air-gaps versus high loops? Gee! That's correct! We haven't got any high loop complaints have we? You're correct about the disposal pumping gray water back into the dishwasher if some fool were to advise clearing a clogged drain line by filling up the sink with water and turning on the disposal. Let's see how many complainbts we have got over the years on that scenario. Oops! Can''t find any of those either. Even if the drain line were cloggec and standing water in the tub it still wouldn't drain back into the DW unless some total idiot ran the disposal. I can only repeat, "here we have a classic case of mechanical versus natural. Sort of like "What is more likely to fail?" A regular vent out the roof or a AAV?
    A high loop or a counter top air-gap?, (This is a no brainer) In my area we have a choice. We went with a high loop. I rest my case."
    I was impressed. While your rebuttal was great and you took it point by point the very complaints and posts by askers prove that while your concerns and arguments sound valid they don't hold up when you check back on askers complaints of the same nature. However, I enjoyed your reply. Have a great week end ! Tom
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    letmetellu Posts: 3,151, Reputation: 317
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    #18

    Jun 3, 2007, 08:49 PM
    I think that anyone that would call the water in a stopped up disposal, the nastiest household fixture in the entire house, even nastier than the commode, gray water is an idiot.
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
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    #19

    Jun 4, 2007, 04:41 AM
    First of all thanks for calling me a idiot. Now, just what's the discharge from tubs, showers, lavatories, washers and kiutchen sinks called? Gee! Whadda you know! It's called "gray water" as per against "fecal matter". I would be most interested in your name for it. In the meantime if you're going to insult someone and call him a idiot get your definitions correct before you do it or you might end up looking like one yourself.
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    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #20

    Jun 4, 2007, 05:15 AM
    Perhaps whoever coined the term ''gray water'' for the discharge from sinks, showers, etc. was an idiot, but it is a common term for it. I wouldn't call a highly trained, experienced professional an idiot for using a common term. Those that persist on calling people idiots on AMHD can become former members.

    I like the idea of restricting the flow from the dishwasher. It would have been my first suggestion. The C-clamp will be a good first try. Before selling the house, you may want to put something inside the hose or pump outlet out of view. I never have posted much to plumbing because when I came here, Tom was posting better answers than I could.

    You do want to fix it. In many cases a problem is still yours after you sell the house.

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