Are you experiencing low water pressure in your kitchen faucet? What could be the cause, and how can you fix the problem? There are many reasons why are experiencing low water pressure or it feels like the water heater is on all the time. Other reasons have very easy fixes that you can manage all by yourself while others are more technical and need a professional plumber.
Kitchen water has many uses, and you need all faucets to be in their optimal working condition all the time with the right water pressure. If your kitchen faucet only releases low water pressure, you'll have a hard time dealing with your daily chores or the water heater to provide hot water. However, when the hot water valve seems to be working for only the kitchen sink there may not be an immediate need to call a professional plumber. Sometimes, there's an easy fix to the low water pressure of your home's water supply lines.
Here are some common causes of low water pressure for the kitchen's incoming water line.
Your kitchen or bathroom faucet spout has a device attached to it near its tip called an aerator. The device infuses air into the water and also controls the flow rate. It helps reduce water wastage by introducing air into the stream.
As time goes by, mineral deposits, particles, or debris inside the water can block the faucet aerator or sink sprayer. With a clogged aerator, the pressure of the water flowing from your kitchen faucet to the sink will reduce.
If you have been able to look into the tap or faucet connected to your sink, you may notice a metal or plastic screen. The plastic screen inside is also known as the faucet aerator.
How to Fix Clogged Aerator or Sink Sprayer
Fixing a clogged faucet aerator takes only a few steps and is a DIY fix. Here is your step-by-step guide to fixing a blocked aerator.
1. Put a plug into the sink's drain to stop any particles from falling and flowing down the drain.
2. Remove the aerator by twisting off the end of the kitchen faucet handle in a counterclockwise direction. If it's too hard to remove with your hands, use a pair of channel lock pliers. Make sure you don't damage the kitchen faucet by wrapping plastic tape.
3. Open your kitchen faucet without the aerator to test for a low water pressure problem. If water runs normally, you can be sure that you indeed had a blocked aerator.
4. Disassemble your aerator and use an old toothbrush to clean the inside. If the minerals and the dirt deposits are too stuck, boil the aerator in white vinegar overnight to dissolve it. You can also use a pin to poke the small holes one by one and unblock them.
5. Return the aerator to the faucet and test to see the new water pressure. If it regains its normal water pressure, you'll be good to go. Test for hot or cold water.
6. Sometimes the aerator may be too clogged that cleaning it with vinegar won't work. If this is the case then you need a replacement.
Check the Kitchen Faucet Cartridge
Another common source of low pressure in the kitchen faucet can be the cartridge. The cartridge is another device in your kitchen faucet that controls the flow of water and can cause low hot water pressure. Head to your kitchen sink, if you twist the handle or screw cap open, you'll open the cartridge nut to allow water to flow. You can control how much water flows by either opening halfway or fully.
However, if you twist the handle to its maximum limit and still can get the low water pressure, then you have a cartridge issue to deal with.
Like the aerator, the faucet cartridge also gets clogged with mineral buildup and particles and this causes low water pressure in your kitchen sink. The cartridge also requires some cleaning to solve the blockage problem. This is another one of our DIY fixes you can do yourself instead of contacting your local plumber. However, cleaning the cartridge can be much more complicated than the aerator.
How to Clean Clogged Cartridge
1. Start by turning off the water stream to your sink. Turn off your home's water heater as well. Let the water remaining in your faucet run until there is no more coming out.
2. Remove the valve handle, retaining nut, the screw cap, and the screw that holds the faucet using an Allen wrench.
3. Remove the shut-off valve handle as well
4. Depending on the model that you have in your kitchen, you might need to remove more screws to reach the cartridge or just remove it right after removing the shut-off valve.
5. Get the cartridge and thoroughly inspect it. You should use water and vinegar to clean it and clear all the clogs.
6. Turn on the water and test if the new cartridge is working as it should.
7. If cleaning doesn't work, you'll need to replace the cartridge. Take it with you to your nearest hardware store and ensure you get the exact model.
Damaged Water Pipes
Another problem that can cause low pressure in your kitchen sink could be damaged water pipes. Sediments, corrosion, and debris can take a toll on the water lines on your walls and under the floors. Water line breaks can become so bad that it affects the pressure in the kitchen faucets. This results in a pipe leak.
This problem mostly occurs with old plumbing or galvanized pipes. Cast iron or galvanized iron pipes experienced mineral deposits that can lead to blockage. The mineral in the water usually react with the pipes and cause rough surfaces. The deposits increase over time blocking the pipes.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to solve this problem with your DIY skills like you did for the problems above. You need a certified plumber to help you out. They should be able to locate where the problem lies and fix it without causing any further damage.
Blocked Water Lines
Sometimes the pipes may not be damaged but rather have some dirt and debris causing partial blockage. If there's something stuck in the pipes causing reduced pressure, it's very easy to fix that. Simple flushing can do the trick.
How to Unblock Water Lines
1. Turn off the supply valves and open the tap so you release any trapped water from the faucet
2. Use an Allen wrench to separate the supply lines from the faucet head. Shape the supply lines and place them into a bucket or a plastic bag.
3. Open the water valves and let water into the bucket for a few seconds.
4. Reconnect back the supply lines to the faucet using your wrench or a retaining clip. Avoid over-tightening as this will damage them.
5. Open the faucet to check if the water pressure is restored.
Damaged Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)
Also known as a pressure regulator, it's on the water supply lines to your home. It takes a bell shape and comes already preset from the manufacturer. PRV usually regulates the pressure coming from the municipal supply.
If you notice that water pressure getting to your kitchen faucet is low, you can adjust the PRV. To do this, you have to loosen the screw found at the top of it. Turn it in a counter-clockwise direction and check your water outlets to see if there are any improvements. If the problem persists then the PRV is damaged and the pressure valve will affect the water pressure.
The good news is that you can repair damaged pressure reducing valves by yourself. But a good alternative is to always contact a certified plumber to do the work.
Leaking pipes misdirect the flow of water living you with low pressure. Unfortunately, it will take you a lot of time before you realize there's a leak somewhere because the pipes are underground. But you can carry out some inspections on your basement, water heaters, and all kitchen faucets. If there are leaks, you'll come across watermarks.
You can also use a water meter to check for leaks. Close your main water valves and then check the meter. Give it some time and check again. If you notice a difference, then your pipes are leaking water. If you're certain that there's a leak somewhere, the best thing to do is call a plumber to do the inspection and repair low water pressure. This may also involve replacing some of your water pipes.
The shut-off valve is located under the kitchen sink and is tasked with shutting the water off the kitchen sink. Many people don't even know this valve exists and that means minerals can build up down there without you noticing. If this happens, the washers will weaken causing the water pressure to reduce. Sometimes the stem of the shut-off valve may also start leaking.
To check if the shut-off valve is the problem, check if it's completely open. Also, if your kitchen sink has both hot and cold water shut-off valves, you ought to inspect both. You should find out if you should replace all of them or only one. Sometimes replacement seems easier than attempting to repair.
But if you're determined to get your shut-off valve to continue working, you need to fix it.
How to Fix the Shut-Off Valve
- Close the main water line so flowing water won't interfere with your work.
- Use a wrench or slip-joint pliers to remove the water line that connects the shut-off valve
- Loosen the nut by turning it in a counterclockwise direction.
- Remove the compression nut to make the shut-off valve come off
- Replace with an identical shut-off valve by taking the one you have with you to the hardware store
- Tighten the nut and secure the new valve. Avoid tightening too much as you might damage the nut or the pipe
- Reconnect the water supply line
If you thought there was no way a problem in the toilet can affect the kitchen then you're wrong. A leak in your toilet will not only affect your kitchen water flow but other water outlets in the house as well. Toilets can leak due to a break in the supply line or a problem in the toilet tank.
Another issue could be a stuck flapper or a float. There could also be faulty connections or the flapper is warped.
It's advisable to call a plumber to help you pinpoint the exact cause of the issue and to fix the leaky faucet. You need someone experienced to avoid any such problems in the future.
What If You're Getting Only the Hot Water?
Sometimes the problem may not be in the entire system but only hot water pressure. If you notice that you can't get enough warm or hot water, the problem might be with your plumbing system. The first place to start your troubleshooting work is to inspect the water heater.
Check if the outlet valve in your water heater is fully open. If the water heater is partially closed, that can be the reason you can't receive enough hot water flow. Open the water heater fully then return to the fixture to check if the hot water pressure is restored.
A Water Heater Problem
If you still experience the same issue then you might have a problem with the pipes near your water heater. The pipes near the water heater might have collected too many mineral deposits from hard water and sediments and are clogged. If this is the problem then you need the help of a certified plumber.
Fix Low Water Pressure
It will be a good idea to check if the low water pressure only affects your kitchen or if it covers all faucets in the whole house. Your neighbors might also be experiencing the same problem. Check other faucets in your home and see whether the entire residence has the same issue.
When doing this, take note of the time when you use the most water as the water pressure may automatically reduce with heavy use. Peak hours such as when everyone is at home or in the early morning when everyone is preparing to leave may cause reduced water pressure.
You can also consider asking one or two of your neighbors if they also notice low water pressure. If their answer is yes then the problem may not be within your home.
The municipal water supply will be the problem. If the municipal water supply is the issue, your neighbors may also experience blockage, leaky pipes, and corrosion, among other issues that might affect the water pressure. You can consider contacting them to let them know about the problem.
Consider the Location of Your House
Sometimes the low water pressure may not be a technical issue but something to do with where your house is located. Gravity and distance can negatively affect your water pressure. If water is forced to travel uphill or at a great distance from the municipal water supply, you'll have to deal with low pressure.
But you don't have to stay like that forever. Install a water pressure booster pump to help increase the flow rate. This can be a huge investment but you'll see the results.
Never allow low water pressure in the kitchen to ruin your day because most of the problems are very easy to fix. You just have to realize where the problem lies, get the right tools and get to work. If the problem is beyond your skills then a certified plumber can be of great help.
Other times, the problem may not need fixing but adjusting your lifestyle. Some routine repairs can help you identify problems and fix them before they escalate.