Code-Approved Air-Gap for Water Softeners-Fits 1-1/2" or 2" PVC Pipe
Air gap fittings are plumbing code required to mount in the drain line(waste line) of water treatment equipment and their primary purpose is to prevent non-potable water from flowing backwards possibly mixing and contaminating potable (drinking) water. You might think of the function of an air gap fitting as a no-fail check valve but without an internal seat or any moving parts. The key characteristics for an air gap is protection from back flow and back siphonage.
Back flow occurs when there is a clog or blockage downstream in the drain line which with more water entering causes the non-potable water to back up fully engulfing the air gap unit or at least reach in the back siphonage critical level of the air gap unit. Back siphonage happens when there is suction on the potable water line and air gap inlet that sucks non-potable water port back into the potable (drinking) water line. This air gap provides protection from back flow and back siphonage. Pictured below is a typical air gap installation into a sanitary sewer pipe (note the "p-trap" which prevents sewer gas from entering through the air gap).
The air gap rule is simply this:
The softener drain line must not be connected directly to the waste system, but must be emptied into a laundry tray, floor drain, or properly trapped special outlet, preserving an air gap of at least two times the diameter of the drain line, but in no case less than 1-1/2" above the top of the receptacle used. The greater of two times the diameter of the equipment's indirect drain or 1-1/2" is the minimum air gap for whole house (point-of-entry) water treatment equipment.
The greater of two times the equipment effective drain line diameter, or one inch, is allowed for point-of-use equipment. In addition, the end of the drain line should be secured so that there is never any chance that it can become immersed in waste fluids.
Be sure to study and follow the equipment manufacturer's printed instructions. They will specify drain line size. If the proper size is not provided, the unit may not be thoroughly backwashed
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+Ratings & Reviews
I need an air gap for an RO system. The air gap that came with the RO system is built into the RO faucet, but it tends to flood our tile counter since the faucet could not be installed on the sink. Could this air gap be used under the counter or will any form of air gap potentially cause water to overflow where it is mounted? I don't believe that the flooding was caused by a waste line blockage. I think it was just because the outlet tube size was not large enough to handle the inlet flow rate.This air gap is an open pipe type. If you use it under the sink it could flood if the sink is dumped. The faucet air gap should work if there is no restrictions. Make sure the drain line from the faucet has a straight drop with no loop. Also, make sure the drain saddle on the drain pipe has not turned closing some of the hole in the pipe off.
How does the unit attach to the 1 1/2 drain pipe?
The air gap has a barb fitting on it and you connect the drain line from the softener to the barb fitting on the air gap.
Hi, my water softener recharge waste water is under pretty good pressure when it is running a cleaning cycle. I'm wondering if this air gap would splatter any water through the openings...? I have heard that some air gap devices tend to splatter water under pressure. Thoughts?
Yes it can, it does depend on incoming pressure. We would need to know stand pipe and incoming pressure.
Sirs can the top end fitting be changed out to different sizes? My water softener's discharge linetakes a 1/4 inch barbed fitting with a 3/8 inch outside diameter plastic tubing?
I suppose you could reduce it, but that’s a pretty small discharge line for a water softeners.
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