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Water is Coming Out of the Air Gap

A foul smell or dirty water squirting out of the air gap vent holes indicates a clog inside the air gap. The fix is a simple cleaning with household disinfectant.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Keep your air gap vent functioning properly

An air gap prevents dirty dishwater from backflowing into fresh water lines. But over time, ground-up food and grease can build up inside the air gap and form a clog. If water squirts out the air gap’s vent holes or you notice a foul smell coming from it, it’s time to clean it. All you need is a bottle brush and some household disinfecting cleaner.

Yank the cover off the air gap and remove the snap-in or screw-on diverter. Remove any loose food particles, then clean with the bottle brush as shown. If you still have a water leak after cleaning the air gap, clean the drain line where it meets the garbage disposer or drain wye (aka “Y”).

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Bottle brush
    • Rags

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Household disinfectant cleaner

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Water is Coming Out of the Air Gap

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