High Loop VS Air Gap: 4 Differences You Should Know

When it comes to sink design and faucet structure, it is important to have either an air gap or a high loop, as this is a crucial factor in the hygiene of your sink or dishwasher, as well as protection against leaks.

The role of these loops is to prevent the dirty water, as well as all the debris, gunk, and food remains, from floating back up into the sink or the dishwasher, as well as to prevent potential water leaks.

The main differences between a high loop and an air gap are the placement, installation, and overall efficiency. 

What is an air gap?

An air gap on a faucet is a small tube that allows air to enter the faucet’s water supply line, helping to equalize pressure and prevent dripping. 

It also helps reduce the chance of water backflow in the event of a sudden drop in water pressure

In some cases, the air gap may also incorporate an anti-siphon feature to prevent backflow further.  

Overall, the air gap is vital in maintaining the proper functioning and preventing leaks in faucets.

Without an air gap, a faucet may experience inconsistent water flow or dripping issues. In some cases, it could also lead to backflow and contamination of the water supply. 

Therefore, ensuring that your faucet’s air gap is in good working condition for optimal function and safety is essential. 

The air gap is easily installed and can typically be found on the underside of the faucet or integrated into the supply line. 

As water flows through the supply line, the air is also drawn in through the air gap to equalize pressure and prevent dripping

In the event of a sudden drop in water pressure, the air gap helps prevent backflow by blocking the flow of water backward through the faucet. 

If you notice any problems with your faucet’s air gap, such as leaking or restricted flow, it is recommended to have a plumber inspect and potentially replace the component. 

Keeping the air gap adequately maintained can save you from costly repairs and ensure the proper functioning of your faucet.

What is a high loop?

A high loop is a plumbing installation that connects a faucet to the water supply line. It allows the faucet to have enough clearance for objects, such as pots and pitchers, to fit underneath. 

For the high loop to function correctly, it must be installed at an appropriate height according to building codes and regulations. The loop also needs to be securely fastened in place to prevent leaks. 

The high loop is essential in ensuring that the faucet can be used efficiently and effectively in daily tasks. 

Without it, larger objects would not be able to fit under the faucet, making washing and filling them more difficult. A properly functioning high loop also helps prevent water damage from leaks.

A high loop is also an essential factor in the functioning of a dishwasher, as it allows for a strong and steady water supply to the appliance. 

Without a properly functioning high loop, the dishwasher may be unable to clean dishes effectively.

What are the differences between a high loop and an air gap?

While both loop systems have somewhat similar roles in the functioning of the water supply line, there are still some significant differences between the two that you should keep in mind when installing your faucet.

1. Positioning

The first difference between an air gap and a high loop is the location of the faucet. In a high loop, the faucet is higher on the wall, while in an air gap, the faucet is lower.

Additionally, an air gap uses air to push water through the pipes, while a high loop uses gravity to move water through the pipes.

2. Installation

Another key difference is that a high loop requires more space for installation because it needs enough height for gravity to work effectively. An air gap can be installed in tighter spaces because it does not rely on gravity.

When deciding which type of faucet loop to install, consider factors such as available space and desired water pressure. 

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference and the space’s specific needs

Whichever option you choose, proper installation and maintenance are crucial for optimum performance.

Also, remember that some local building codes may require a specific type of faucet loop, so check with your municipality before making a final decision. 

High loops and air gaps can prevent backflow and maintain clean drinking water. It’s up to you to decide which option best fits your needs.

3. The location of the control valve

Yet another difference between an air gap and a high loop is the location of the control valve

In a faucet high loop, the control valve is located at the highest point of the piping, ensuring that hot water is not trapped in the pipes. 

In an air gap, the control valve is located at a lower point in the piping system. This allows air to be released as needed, preventing any issues with water flow and pressure. 

However, it also means that hot water can become trapped in the pipes if not properly managed. 

4. Overall efficiency

Generally speaking, an air gap is considered a more efficient solution, as it uses air to cool hot water before entering the faucet. 

However, a faucet high loop still has advantages, such as being easier to install and maintain. Ultimately, the best system will depend on individual needs and preferences. 

When deciding between a faucet high loop and an air gap for your hot water system, it’s essential to consider both efficiency and practicality

An air gap uses a coil of tubing placed in the air ducts to cool hot water before it reaches the faucet. 

This can be more energy-efficient than a faucet high loop, which circulates the hot water through a separate pipe that runs above or alongside the cold water supply pipe.

High loop vs air gap: Are they the same?

Not quite. Both types of faucet loops help prevent backflow, but they go about it differently. The high loop is a physical loop in the piping that raises the water level above the potential backflow source. 

An air gap, on the other hand, uses an air gap in between the faucet and potential backflow source to prevent contaminated water from flowing back into the clean water supply. 

While both methods are effective, some local codes may require one. It’s essential to check with your local code before installing a new faucet or making changes to your plumbing system.

Also, keep in mind that a high loop may not be feasible in certain situations, such as with under-mount sinks. In these cases, an air gap is a preferred method of preventing backflow.

Overall, both types of faucet loops serve the same purpose and are effective in preventing backflow. It’s just a matter of choosing the right one for your situation.

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