Water Softener Air Gap

When it is time for water softener installation, you must remember to add an air gap. The air gap is an essential device in plumbing systems that prevents backflow. To ensure consistent performance and safety of the water supply that is passed through the water softeners, the installation of an air gap is indeed a wise choice.

In this article, we will take a look at the importance of air gap installation in water softeners, how to choose an air gap, and the best air gap for water softeners. With that said, let us get started!

3 Key Takeaways:

🔸 An air gap is an effective device that is used in most plumbing systems to prevent backflow.

🔸 Air gap installation must comply with local plumbing codes that vary by location.

🔸 The Plumb Pak water softener air gap is compatible with different applications such as washing machine discharge, dehumidifiers, water filtration devices, and water softeners.

What is backflow and why is it dangerous?

Backflow Air Gap

The undesirable reversal of water flow or other contaminants into the potable water supply is backflow. There can be two reasons for a backflow; a sudden drop in the water pressure or due to cross-connection between the potable water supply and the contamination source. Residential, commercial, and industrial areas; a backflow can occur in all these settings. For effective protection of water quality and potable water, backflow prevention devices, such as an air gap can be installed. With regular maintenance and testing of water quality and backflow prevention devices, you can be assured that the water quality is protected at all times.

Backflow is dangerous to health. Backflow is a serious health hazard where chemicals, fertilizers, bacteria, and other pollutants can enter the drinking water.

What is water softener air gap?

An air gap is a simple yet effective device used in most plumbing systems to keep backflow away. Backflow of contaminated or polluted water into the clean water in the water softener is possible. Installation of the right air gap can prevent backflow effectively. It is good news that plumbing codes and regulations require air gap installation to ensure consistent performance and water supply safety.

A potential backflow from the drain into the water softener system is prevented by the vertical pipe in the air gap. This aids in water flowing out freely. A physical separation between the water supply and the drainage system is created. This is highly efficient in reducing any contamination via backflow.

Maintaining the safety standards and protection of the water quality of residential and commercial water supply is taken care of by the regulations of the local plumbing codes. Suppose the local plumbing codes insist that an air gap is required and its specific design and placement, comply with those safety standards for enhanced water quality. You can also refer to the international plumbing code or reach out to a professional to understand the uniform plumbing code that focuses on the protection of water quality.

1. Choosing the Right Air Gap for Your Water Softener:

To benefit the most from your water softener operation, it is crucial to have the right device. Choosing the right air gap for water softeners is important to keep backflow away. However, by following the simple selection criteria mentioned below, you can be assured that you will land with the best air gap device.

2. Local and uniform plumbing code

To ensure the safety and legality of your installation, it is important to comply with the local plumbing codes and regulations. The type and size of the air gap that is required for water softeners will be determined by the local plumbing code.

3. Types of water softeners

The type of water softener that you have will determine the air gap type to be installed as well. Salt-based water softeners and salt-free water conditioners will have different specifications. You must refer to your specific water softener model to determine the air gap type.

4. Size and flow rate of the water softener

Carefully select your air gap to suit the capacity and flow rate of your water softener system. The air gap installed must be appropriate for the flow rate of the water softener.

5. Maintenance

Seamless water softener operation requires regular maintenance. This will include air gap maintenance as well. It only makes sense to choose an air gap that is easily accessible for inspection, regular cleaning, and maintenance.

6. Design

Another fact to remember is the different designs in an air gap. Whether your water softener requires standard air gaps or high-loop air gaps will be determined by your local code and the installation specifics of the water softener.

7. Professional advice

Last but not least, reaching out to a professional for advice on choosing the right air gap for your water softener will be beneficial.

Plumb Pak Water Softener Air Gap Review

If you are looking for the best air gap water softener for your system, you must take a look at the Plumb Pak Air Gap. If this air gap device is the ideal choice for your system, hurry now to protect the quality of your water supply.

The Plumb Pak Air Gap for water softener is specially designed to provide complete protection against backflow. Stay assured that the full backflow and anti-siphon protection will keep wastewater from getting into your water supply. The best feature of the Plumb Pak air gap is that it is compatible with various applications; such as washing machine discharge, dehumidifiers, water filtration devices, and water softeners.

The Plumb Pak water softener air gap has an easy-to-install design. This device fits 1-1/2-in. and 2-in. diameter metal or plastic standpipes. These dimensions make it possible to be mounted at 3 different levels. The standard design allows a soft rubber washer hose or aluminum washer drain hook up to share a standpipe with other air gap units. The recommended usage for this air gap model is 1 to 7 gallons/minute or 3. 7 to 26. 5 liters/minute.

Moreover, the Plumb Pak air gap for water softener is UPC-listed and tested for compliance with IPC and NSF standards. It has been carefully designed to provide more than twice the code-required minimum air gap opening.

Do the features and specifications of the Plumb Pak water softener air gap meet your expectations? Get this air gap device now to prevent backflow in your water system.

Installing a Water Softener Air Gap: Step-by-Step Guide

The following are the steps to install a water softener air gap.

  1. Choose the location for the water softener, preferably closer to the main water supply line and the drain.
  2. Turn off the home’s main water supply.
  3. Cut the main water supply line neatly without burrs using a pipe cutter.
  4. Connect the air gap following the kit instructions. This will usually connect to the drain lines.
  5. Use the fittings provided by the manufacturer to connect the water softener to the cut pipes.
  6. Next, connect the drain line from the water softener to the air gap. Check if the connections are tight and turn on the main supply to check for leaks.
  7. Program and start the unit following the given instructions.
  8. Flush out any air present in the system by running water through it.
  9. Make sure that the installation complies with the local codes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How often should a water softener air gap be cleaned?

Experts recommend annual inspection and cleaning of the air gap to keep it free from clogs and debris.

2. Can a water softener air gap be installed after the water softener has been installed?

Yes, it is possible to install the air gap device after the water softener has been installed.

3. Do you need an air gap on the drain water softener?

Although an air gap is not required for a drain connected to the water softener, it is suggested to check the local plumbing codes that are subject to variations.

4. What to do if water softener air gap is leaking?

If there is a leak from the air gap, inspect the cause and address it at the earliest. Clearing the debris from the air gap, tightening loose connections, and checking the water softener operation and water gap instruction manual will usually resolve the issue. If the leak persists, consult with a professional.

5. Is there an alternative to a water softener air gap?

Yes. The standpipe air gap or a hose bibb air gap are suitable alternatives to the water softener air gap.


We have reached the end of the article. We trust you acquired a brief knowledge of the uses of an air gap and its importance. Invest in the Plumb Pak air gap to protect the quality of your water supply effectively.

About The Author

Our Web Producer

Judith— a passionate water treatment specialist — is a waste water management enthusiast, clean drinking water advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about various water equipments. Her work was mentioned in countless notable water associations. Previously she was an editor at Water Alliance.