Air Gap vs Non Air Gap Faucet

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There are many important decisions to make when renovating a kitchen, for example, the tile color and material, the sink type and style, and the faucet type. When it comes to choosing a kitchen faucet, there are many things to consider. For instance, there are different types of kitchen faucets, air gap vs non-air gap.

The type is an important consideration. Air Gap and Non-Air Gap faucets are two popular choices that you may come across when renovating your kitchen. Although there are many similarities between these two styles of faucets, there are also some important differences.

In this article, we will look at the key similarities and differences between Air Gap vs Non-Air Gap faucets. Consider choosing between these options depends on your individual needs and risk factors.

In this post, we will go over more specifics about what each type is, and we will also discuss the pros and cons of each type of faucet and help you decide which one is right for you.

What is an Air Gap Faucet?

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An air gap faucet is designed to prevent backflow in your plumbing system by creating an air pocket between the water source and your faucet. This pocket is created by a special pipe that attaches to the underside of your sink, providing an air gap between the pipes and the faucet itself.

Air gap faucets are commonly used in industrial or commercial settings where there may be a higher risk of contaminants getting into the water supply.

They are designed to prevent the backflow of dirty water into your home. It has a channel that diverts larger particles away from the spout, so they can’t get into your drinking water or food.

This makes it ideal for homes with septic systems or wells, where contaminants could enter the plumbing system through a faucet.

What is a Non-Air Gap Faucet? 

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A non-air gap faucet, on the other hand, does not require this additional pipe to create a protected space between your water supply and the sink. Instead of using an air gap, non-air gap faucets rely on special seals or valves to prevent backflow.

Non-air gap faucets are generally used in residential kitchens with less risk of contamination and better water pressure.

However, an air gap faucet is not necessary in all situations. If you have a modern plumbing system with water filters or other safety features, then it’s fine to use a non-air gap model instead.

Non-air gap faucets are also more affordable and can be easier to install, making them a good choice if you are on a budget or want to save time during the renovation process.

Comparison of Air Gap vs. Non-Air Gap Faucet

One of the most obvious similarities is that both types have a similar design, consisting of a hose or tap connected to a central spout. However, this is where the similarities end.

Air Gap faucets are usually installed in areas where clean water needs to be kept separate from dirty water, such as a dishwasher or ice maker that feeds directly into the sink. Non-Air Gap faucets do not have an air gap and normally feed directly into the sink.

Pros and Cons of Air Gap Faucet

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  • System protection: An air-gap system’s physical line break prevents water from being siphoned back into the RO system if the sink drain becomes stopped (which could damage the unit and contaminate the membrane).
  • Plumbing Codes: In many areas, the local plumbing code requires the use of an Air Gap faucet.


  • Clogging: Sediment clogging from small tubing and troughs on air-gap systems can cause water to back up into sinks or countertops.
  • Noisy: They can make a gurgling sound while the storage tank is being filled.
  • Difficult installation: Extra tubing and connections can make the installation difficult.
  • Location: It may not work properly unless installed by a professional since it must be connected to a sink drain.

Pros and Cons of Non-Air Gap Faucet

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  • Lower Cost: Typically, non-air gap systems are less costly than air gap systems.
  • Less tubing/hoses: A non-air gap unit has a single water line that goes to the faucet.
  • Noise: There is no gurgling sound as the drain line flows directly into the sink drain line.
  • Ease of Installation: Easier installation, fewer connecting parts.


  • Potential Damage: There is a possibility that if the drain backs up, the system could be damaged or become contaminated.
  • Plumbing Codes: Considered non-compliant for some city/county plumbing codes.


How does an Air Gap work?

An air gap faucet is designed to create an air pocket between the water source and your sink, preventing backflow due to changes in pressure or other contaminants. This is typically done by attaching a special pipe underneath the sink that creates an open space between the water supply and the spout of the faucet itself.

In some cases, the pipe may be connected to a separate water filter, ensuring that only clean and safe water makes it into your sink.

Why are Air Gap Faucets Noisy?

Air gap faucets use a small pump to create an air pocket and keep water pressure consistent. This means that they may make some noise as the pump operates, especially if your sink is located directly beneath a bathroom or another room with running water.

In most cases, this should not cause any significant issues, but you may need to check the pump periodically to ensure that it is working properly. If you have any concerns or notice excessive noise coming from your air gap faucet, consult a plumbing professional for assistance.

Can I replace an Air Gap Faucet with a Non-Air Gap Faucet?

While the overall design of air gap and non-air gap faucets is similar, it cannot be easy to replace one type with the other directly. Depending on your existing plumbing system and sink configuration, you may need to install new pipes or filters before replacing your old faucet.

Sometimes, a professional may be needed for installation, so it is best to consult an expert if you are considering this change.

Conclusion: Air Gap vs. Non-Air Gap Faucet: Which is Better? 

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you like and what sort of risks you’re willing to take in your house. If you want a faucet that’s easy to put in and has great water pressure, then a non-air gap faucet is probably the better call.

However, if you are concerned about contaminants in your water supply or want an extra level of protection against backflow, then an air gap faucet may be the better option.

Some other factors to consider include cost, ease of installation, and safety features like air gaps or water filters. Whether you choose an air gap or non-airgap faucet, it is important to ensure that it is installed properly and regularly maintained to maintain its effectiveness and protect your water supply.

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