When your dishwasher does its job right, it provides convenience and cleanliness. It also contributes to your family’s health. One way it does that is by draining away wastewater through the air gap. When your air gap leaks, it indicates a problem. The last thing you want is for wastewater, with the bacteria it contains, to flow back into your dishwasher. You need to eliminate that air gap leak, and the obvious way to start is to figure out why it’s happening. The most likely answer is that it is clogged, and the way you deal with it depends on the severity of the clog.
Is the Air Gap Obviously Clogged?
Most of the time, you can make this dishwasher repair yourself. First remove the metal casing from the air gap and then take off the plastic top. Depending on the make and model of dishwasher, this plastic top may unscrew or it may lift off after pinching the sides. Once you have access to the air gap itself, check if you can see any material clogging any part of the air gap. If so, simply remove it with tweezers.
Is There A Hidden Clog?
If there is no clog visible, try blowing the clog away. Simply place a roll of paper towels over the air gap and blow hard through your end of the tube. You’ll be able to tell how significant the clog is from the air resistance. Hopefully, a couple of powerful blasts will dislodge any clog. Finally, pour hot water down the air gap to deal with any greasy particles. If you can’t get any air movement or a clog is still present, you may need to snake it out.
Are There Dangers In Snaking Out the Clog?
Forcing a tool through the pipe must be done carefully. Traditional snakes are too big, so you’ll need to use something else. A long bottle brush works well, or a length of cable. Push the tool slowly and carefully through the larger hole at the bottom of the air gap outlet, and work it back and forth as you progress. Don’t exert too much force; you could puncture the tube, creating an entirely different problem. Watch the drain in the sink or garbage disposal, and when you see the end of the tool emerge there, you know you’ve dislodged the clog.
What About Vacuuming a Clog?
Another strategy when your dishwasher is clogged is to vacuum the clog away. This eliminates the possibility that you’ll damage or destroy the tube with the snake. Take your wet/dry shop vac and put the hose end on the air gap outlet. Be sure the switch is turned to suction. Fill the sink or disposal area with hot water, then turn on the shop vac. The force of the suction should dislodge the clog. Allow about a gallon of water to run through after the clog is cleared, about 30 – 40 seconds.
What If There Is No Clog At All?
If you have determined that there is absolutely no possibility of a clog, then there’s one last thing to check before calling the experts at Dave’s Appliance. If you have just had a garbage disposal installed, and suddenly your dishwasher is backing up all over the place, the likely culprit is the small insert where the hose connects to your garbage disposal. This knock-out insert should be removed at installation, but sometimes it isn’t. Obviously with nowhere to go, the wastewater goes everywhere. Simply disconnect the hose, hold a screwdriver against the insert and tap the end of the screwdriver with a hammer until the insert is pushed into the disposal tank. Once this blockage is removed, your dishwasher air gap should work perfectly.
Keeping your air gap in good working order is important for your dishwasher’s proper function, and more importantly, for your family’s health. If you have concerns about your dishwasher air gap leaking that you’re not comfortable dealing with, call the expert’s at Dave’s Appliance.
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