If you have a kitchen sink that has suddenly lost water pressure, then you may be confused if pressure seems consistent throughout the rest of your home. However, sink pressure problems are common and they are often caused by one of two inexpensive parts attached to the sink. You can usually fix the issue on your own. Keep reading to find out how.
Clean the Aerator
Almost all kitchen sinks have an aerator attachment screwed onto the end of the faucet. Aerators help to slow the flow of water coming from the faucet so water can be conserved. The most common aerators allow for about 2.2 gallons per minute of water flow. If you have a water saving faucet, then the flow will be closer to about 1.5 gallons per minute. To make sure the stream of water is consistent, air is also mixed into the fluid stream.
The faucet aerator has several different parts that help it function properly. These include the aluminum or steel outer casing, a rubber gasket, flow restrictor, mixer, and a screen. The restrictor and the mixer sit at the top of the aerator. The restrictor is a round piece of plastic with a small hole in the center. The mixer sits just below the restrictor and has small open chambers where air is mixed with the water.
Both the hole in the restrictor and the chambers of the mixer can become encrusted with mineral deposits and this can drastically restrict airflow. Also, the rubber gasket that sits between the faucet head and the aerator can degrade over time. Small bits of the gasket can flake off and then clog the device.
Aerators can often be cleaned to remove rubber debris and mineral deposits. Simply screw off the aerator. Use a pair of needlenose pliers to remove the rubber gasket. Inspect the rubber for breaks and purchase a replacement if you need to. Use your same pair of pliers to remove the restrictor disk. Inspect the hole to see if it is clogged and rinse it out with warm water. Also rinse out the mixer and look for signs of white mineral deposits on the aerator parts. If you see minerals, then set the mixer and restrictor in a small container of white vinegar for 30 minutes.
After the cleaning is completed, put the aerator back together, twist it back onto the faucet head, and try the water pressure. Alternatively, you can skip the cleaning and purchase a new aerator. Aerators are typically only a few dollars. Just make sure to bring the old part with you to your local home store. Aerators come in a variety of different sizes.
Change the Cartridge
If the aerator cleaning or replacement does not work to resolve your water pressure issue, then there is a chance that the cartridge needs to be changed instead. This is often the culprit if you have a single handle faucet. The cartridge is a chamber that sits at the very base of the faucet. The device has several different openings that allow water to flow through the faucet. One hole allows cool water to flow and another allows for the movement of hot water. An opening in the middle allows cold and hot water to mix and release.
Faucet cartridges have stems in the middle that help with the movement of the handle. The stem also assists with water flow by opening and closing seals that sit over the different flow outlets or openings. The stem can become worn over time and it may not work to open the cartridge seals all the way. The result is lower water pressure. Changing the cartridge can resolve this problem.
You will need to start the cartridge replacement by turning the water off by tightening the valves that sit underneath the sink. Afterwards, use a flathead screwdriver to pry the cap off from the top of the handle cover. You will see a small screw underneath the cap. Remove this as well. Pull the handle off afterwards. You should see the top of the cartridge stem at this time. A small retaining ring will sit around the stem and so will the spout.
You can then remove the spout and the use your needlenose pliers to pull out the cartridge by the stem. Take this part to your local plumbing supply store to find a replacement. Slip it into place and replace the rest of the faucet pieces.
If the cartridge replacement does not help the issue, then make sure to contact a plumber through companies like Young Plumbing Corporation to complete a sink repair.
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