When Kitchen Faucet Water Isn’t Flowing
Why does my faucet have low water pressure? The kitchen sink is the most-used water fixture in your home. Water pressure drops and low water are frustrating. Fortunately, fixing the problem is usually quick and inexpensive.
Before you get to worried, check beneath your sink and ensure that one or both of the water supply valves did not somehow get turned so less water is allowed through. It sounds simple, but it can happen!
If cleaning the aerator (found at the tip of indoor water faucets, a screen unit screwed onto the faucet head to create a stream of water without splashing) does not resolve the problem, our technicians at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing can help. We can inspect the entire line and determine what parts need to be cleaned and which need to be replaced. We have a great deal of experience with “hard water” systems (water that is high in dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium) and we know effective ways to filter hard water, as is common in the Bay Area, so that mineral deposits don’t chronically block water flow and damage your valves and joints.
First Things First: Are You Sure It’s Just Your Kitchen Faucet?
- Go through your house turning each faucet on, one at a time. If the water pressure is normal everywhere else, you’ve isolated the problem to your kitchen faucet.
- If the problem is affecting the entire system, both hot and cold water, check with neighbors and see if they are having the same problem. The issue could be with your city water department. Routine repairs and breaks in the main water line are beyond your control, but knowing this issue is neighborhood-wide will save you a lot of needless work.
- If the problem is just with the hot water in your home, suspect a problem with the hot water heater or the hot water line. We recommend calling the team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing to get the issue sorted out. Resolving it may be fast and easy but is usually more than a simple DIY solution.
- Do you have a leaky sink? If so, your problem could be in some portion of the sink plumbing. If you are not familiar with how to identify the source of a leak, call our team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing – we can find and solve it fast.
Check the Aerator
The aerator is a screen at the end of the faucet. It catches solid particles that have come through the water line. It can get clogged and is also a place where hard water mineral deposits can accumulate over time. This is a simple fix.
- Using channel lock pliers and thick tape or towel (to prevent scratching the faucet finish), unscrew the aerator from the faucet.
- Once the aerator is off, inspect it for debris or sediment in the mesh.
- Run the water without the aerator on. Has the pressure improved? If so, problem solved. If not, it is still a good idea to follow the rest of these steps.
- Rinse off the aerator under hot water. If this doesn’t clean it thoroughly, and if it is caked with mineral deposits, soak the entire assembly in distilled white vinegar for at least six hours. Overnight is ideal. Make sure you don’t drop any loose parts down the drain!
- Using a soft brush, clean away any remaining loose material and rinse fully.
- Replace aerator.
Cleaning or Replacing your Faucet Cartridge
If the aerator isn’t the issue, it may be that the cartridge that sits deeper in the faucet assembly is clogged. Most modern faucet units have cartridges and they contain small holes that pass water through that can become clogged.
Because every model of faucet is slightly different, we can’t give you detailed steps, but here are the basics.
- Turn off your water supply beneath the sink. These are usually two shut-off valves, one for hot and one for cold. Run the water until all the remaining water runs out.
- You will need to remove the valve handle, and to do this you must find and remove the screw cap and screw that is holding down the faucet, usually requiring an Allen wrench.
- Lift off the shut-off valve handle.
- You will need to lift out the cartridge and this may involve removing a retaining clip and nut and washers. Be careful to organize everything you remove in the proper sequence so you can reassemble correctly.
- Lift out the cartridge and inspect it. Is it heavily scratched? Is it heavily encrusted with lime scale? You can clean it by soaking it in 50/50 water, white vinegar solution but we recommend replacing it. Take the one you removed to a hardware store, so you buy the correct type.
Blockage in the Line?
If you haven’t found the problem yet, it may be that the water pipe leading to the faucet has become clogged with mineral deposits. If that’s the case, cleaning your aerator and replacing the cartridge may have helped, but the problem is not fully solved. You may need to flush the supply lines.
- Turn off the hot water valve under the sink by turning it clockwise. This valve is normally on the left. Place a bucket below it.
- Detach the flexible water supply line from the valve and hold it over the bucket.
- Turn on the faucet all the way in a neutral temperature position. The hot water line will flush into the bucket.
- Reinstall the hot water supply hose and repeat with the cold water line.
If Only the Hot Water Pressure is Low
If the pressure is only low with the hot water, affecting the entire hot water system in your home, the problem is almost certainly with the hot water heater. Check the hot water shut off valve. It should be open. If it isn’t, open it and check the pressure again. If this doesn’t improve the water pressure, it is most likely that you have a problem with the pipes going into the hot water heater or with the unit itself. This is the time to call us. We recommend all work done on a hot water heater be performed only by a professional plumbing technician for your own safety.
If the problem is with the hot water limited to being at the kitchen faucet, and flushing the line didn’t resolve the issue, the problem is most likely with a clog in the hot water line after it branches to your kitchen sink. In these cases, you need a professional plumbing technician. Our expert diagnostics can pinpoint the problem fast and our years of experience helps us restore water pressure at your kitchen skin at the minimum time and expense.