In most homes, the kitchen sink is probably the most used fixture and when the water pressure is low at that faucet, it can be an annoyance. Low water pressure can affect how you fill glasses, clean food, clean the kitchen and other essential tasks that require water. Many people believe that this problem cannot be solved without professional intervention from their local certified and licensed plumber. But, this is not necessarily the case and it may be a quick and inexpensive repair that anyone can carry out. In this article, we will look at this problem in more detail and offer some simple solutions.
Start Under the Kitchen Sink
Although this may sound silly, many water pressure problems are caused by a disconnected or loose water supply valve. It may seem daunting and complex, but when you check out the pipes under the sink look for something that seems loose or out of place. In most cases, you can simply slide a pipe back into position and push them together to make a secure connection again.
Inspect and Clean the Aerator
Every modern faucet has an aerator, which is a screen that you find inside the tip of the fixture. This is screwed in place and its purpose is to reduce splashing when the water is running. The aerator can become clogged and this will reduce the volume of water that can pass through easily. This lowers the water flow and perceived water pressure at that faucet only. This is a common problem in homes that are supplied with hard water that tends to create a layer of scale inside and on your plumbing fixtures.
The solution is simple. Remove the aerator with lock pliers over some thick tape or an old towel to prevent scratching on the surface. Unscrew the aerator, check the mesh surface for sediment, scale and other debris. Run the faucet without the aerator and see if the water pressure has improved. Run the aerator under hot water to clean the surface material and if there are thick mineral deposits soak it overnight in distilled white vinegar. The next day, scrub the mesh surface with a soft brush and rinse with clean water. Replace the aerator, take care to avoid dropping small parts in the drain and try the faucet again.
This should remove the scale and debris and the water flow should be significantly improved. But, the underlying problem is the hard water and this problem will continue until the underlying issue is dealt with permanently.
Cleaning the Faucet Cartridge
If you’ve cleaned the aerator and the water pressure has not improved, the problem may lie in the faucet cartridge. Many modern faucets have this component and it’s usually housed deep inside the assembly. The cartridge surface is covered with tiny holes where the water passes through and they can become clogged. Every faucet manufacturer has a different cartridge design, which makes it harder to detail how to remove and clean it. But, they all work on similar principles and if you follow this advice you should be able to disassemble the unit and clean it yourself.
First, shut off the under sink water supply, there should be a valve for the hot and cold water, and once they are closed, run the water for a while until it runs dry. Remove the screw cap on the valve handle to reveal the screw and unscrew it with an Allen wrench. Now you should be able to lift the shut-off valve handle to gain access to the cartridge. There may be a nut, washers and a retaining clip to remove and these must be kept in sequence when you reassemble them later. Take a few pictures on your phone as a reminder and the process will be smoother. If the cartridge is covered in scratches and scale, it can be soaked in a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and clean water. But, it’s easier to take the cartridge to the hardware store and get a replacement. When you’re ready assemble the faucet and this may fix the low pressure problem.
What About Other Faucets?
If this phenomenon is not limited to the kitchen faucet, then the problem will require move investigation. A good first step is to check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing a lack of water pressure in their homes. If the lack of water pressure has occurred suddenly, it may be caused by a break in the main water line. There could be work crews fixing the problem for the city water department and it may return to normal soon. If everything seems to be fine in the surrounding areas, it’s time to take a closer look at the water situation in your own home.
Take a tour of your home and turn on each faucet to see if the water pressure differs in certain areas. Try the hot and cold water to see if there is any difference between them. If you notice that the lack of water pressure is limited to the hot water supply, then the problem may be in the hot water line or your water heater. Resolving those problems would be outside the comfort range of most DIY enthusiasts. A local professional plumber will be able to identify the cause of the problem and fix it quickly.
Dealing With a Line Blockage
Another possible cause of low water pressure is a clogged water line leading to the faucet. Cleaning or replacing the aerator and/or cartridge may have improved the situation, but the water pressure may still be lower than you need. This can be solved by shutting off the valves and flushing the supply line.
If none of these tips has helped you to improve the water pressure, it’s time to call your local certified and licensed plumber. They can check the water heater to see if that is the cause or they can install a water pressure regulator to alter the pressure.