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If you've ever run your dishwasher and had water end up on your countertop, you might look to that little nubby cap sitting on your sink. It's called an airgap, specifically a dishwasher airgap.
When a dishwasher drains, the waste water flows up the drain line to the airgap and then down to the garbage disposal where it joins your kitchen sink's drain piping. Typically, the airgap backs up when there is a blockage leading to the garbage disposal. Either the hose that runs from the airgap to the disposal is plugged or the knockout plug in the garbage disposal was never removed (this is common with a new disposal installation).
The fix is to disconnect the hose where it meets the disposal. If you stick your finger in the nipple of the disposal and it meets with the metal plug, remove it by tapping on it with a screwdriver and a hammer, then pull it out with your fingers. If the plug has already been removed, use a long screwdriver or a metal hangar and snake it up the hose to pull out the debris. You can stick the end of the hose in a 5 gallon bucket and run a "rinse and drain" on your dishwasher to blow out the remaining debris. Then you can reconnect the hose and run a load of dishes.
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