Filling a pot with water or washing some dishes can be frustrating when the kitchen faucet has low water pressure. Things can get downright confusing when the low pressure only affects your kitchen. Why does it happen, and how to fix the issue?
A clogged aerator or cartridge is the most common cause of low water pressure in the kitchen sink, but you can unclog these parts easily. Sediment in your water heater could also cause low hot water pressure, or the water valves under the sink may be only partially opened.
What Causes Low Water Pressure In Kitchen Sink?
Dealing with low water pressure can easily get on your nerves, especially since some issues are difficult and expensive to repair. The first thing to do is to understand whether the problem is general or localized. To do that, check the water pressure in other areas of your home as well, such as the bathrooms and laundry room, if you have a sink in it. Here are some of the reasons why areas in your home have low water pressure.
Broken Water Lines
Have you established that the whole house has low water pressure? Call a neighbor and ask them to check the water pressure in their home. Is it low? The municipal water supply line is likely broken. There is nothing you can do about it except calling your supplier and asking when things will get back to normal.
Old Plumbing System
If your neighbors don’t complain about low water pressure, the problem is localized to your home. If you live in an older house with a dated plumbing system, the pipes could be the culprits. Old plumbing systems can cause water pressure issues in the entire house or only in certain areas due to mineral deposits clogging the pipes.
This is one of the most expensive issues to fix, as you’ll have to have your house re-piped. Depending on where you live and how big your house is, you can expect to spend way more than a couple of grand.
Leaking Supply Line
Just like the municipal water line, the main supply line in your house or the kitchen line can break. Since this isn’t a municipal issue anymore, you’ll have to fix this line yourself. Replacing the line isn’t as costly as replacing the entire plumbing system, but you can still expect to drop some cash.
Broken Pressure Regulator
Not all homes have pressure regulators installed on the main line, but if your house has one, it’s worth checking it. A broken or faulty pressure regulator can cause low water pressure in your entire home. Sometimes, you can fix the device. Alternatively, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.
Not many people associate bathroom problems with low water pressure in your kitchen, but a broken toilet could use so much water that it would lower the pressure in other areas of your home, too.
Leaks could happen either in the supply lines or in the toilet tank. Fixing a supply line involves a costly plumbing intervention, but a tank leak is less expensive and more manageable to fix – you could even be able to solve the issue yourself.
The main culprits are the toilet tank float, a stuck valve, or a stuck flapper. All these parts are easy to troubleshoot or replace. If you don’t feel confident doing it yourself, a plumber won’t charge too much to fix it for you.
Special Cases: Low Pressure In Kitchen Faucet
The above are the most common causes for low water pressure issues that affect your kitchen but also the rest of your home. But what if the problem is localized in the kitchen? Here are some common causes you should be aware of.
What Causes Low Hot Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink?
Sediment and debris in the water heater can block the hot water supply line to the kitchen sink. This is often the issue if the cold water pressure is normal and you only have low hot water pressure in the kitchen.
When debris or sediment blocks the kitchen supply line, your heater won’t signal any type of problem. Thus, you should check the pipe and snake it to clear it of any clogs. If this doesn’t fix the issue or the hot water pressure is low in other areas as well, you should check the heater or hire a plumber to inspect it.
What Causes Low Water Pressure in Only One Faucet?
If you only have low water pressure in one faucet, consider yourself lucky. There aren’t many things that can cause this problem. Check the likely culprits below.
Partially closed shut-off valve
A partially closed shut-off valve is one of the most common reasons for low water pressure in your kitchen. This is the valve located under the kitchen sink, and that restricts the water supply when you’re fixing things such as a leaky drain or garbage disposal.
The kitchen shut-off valve doesn’t stop the water supply to your bathrooms or other areas of your home.
If you’ve recently repaired a drain or done other plumbing work and closed the valve, it could be that you didn’t open it fully at the end (or your plumber hasn’t). Thus, the first thing to do when trying to fix a water pressure problem in your kitchen is to check this valve.
Simply locate the valve under your sink and check if it’s fully open. If it isn’t, turn it until the water pressure gets back to normal.
A clogged supply line is another frequent reason for low water pressure. The problem is more likely to occur if you have hard water and don’t use a water softener. If you consider installing a softener or water conditioner, remember that these units should go on the main water line either outside of your home or in the basement. In this way, the softener can remove hardness minerals and prevent deposits on your pipes.
Debris can also clog your pipes; this issue is more likely to occur if you live in an area prone to floods or if you’re using well water.
Blocked aerator or cartridge
Lastly, the problem could be in your kitchen sink. Namely, you could deal with a clogged aerator or cartridge. Both problems are very easy to fix.
Here’s Why There Is No Water In Kitchen Sink But Everywhere Else
A clogged or blocked cartridge or aerator can sometimes stop the water flow completely in your kitchen, or you may only see some droplets coming out of the faucet—no need to despair, though. Not only can you fix the issue easily, but you may not have to call a plumber either if you follow the quick guide below.
How To Fix Water Pressure In Kitchen Sink
While low or no water pressure in your kitchen sink could look troublesome, the problem is easily fixable if it doesn’t affect other areas of your home. Simply follow our step-by-step guides below.
Clean Mineral Deposits from Blocked Aerator
An aerator is a small device attached to your kitchen faucet’s spout. Its role is to infuse the water with air and reduce the water stream. In fact, by diluting the water with air, the aerator allows you to enjoy a high pressure while maintaining water consumption low. Aerators, like most faucet parts, can be affected by mineral deposits and scale. Here’s how to clean it.
Things You Will Need
- Pliers or adjustable wrench
- Small bowl
- Small brush or old toothbrush
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Rubber gloves
Step 1 – Cover the drain and prepare the area
The aerator is located right at the opening of the spout, where the water comes out. It is threaded onto the spout and quite easy to remove, but keep in mind that this part is small. That’s why you should cover the sink drain with a stopper or place a rag in the sink to prevent any parts from falling down the drain if you drop them.
Step 2 – Remove the aerator from the spout
You should be able to remove this part without tools by simply unscrewing it (turn counterclockwise to take it off). However, if your faucet is older or if there is a lot of mineral build-up on the aerator, it could be stuck.
If that’s the case, use a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to grip and turn it. Apply torque until you feel it loosen up, then remove it manually.
If you can’t budge it, no matter how hard you try, fill a small plastic bag with white vinegar and tie it on the spout so that the aerator is in the bag. Leave for a couple of hours or overnight to loosen the build-up, then remove the piece.
Step 3 – Brush mineral deposits off the aerator
While you could skip this step if you don’t feel like brushing off slime and mineral deposits off the faucet part, doing it can speed up the cleaning process.
Put on your rubber gloves and make a solution of one-part white vinegar and one-part water. Dip a small brush or old toothbrush in the mixture and scrub the aerator.
For deeper cleaning, make a baking soda paste and use it to clean the aerator. Rinse with clean water.
Step 4 – Remove the build-up with vinegar and baking soda
A quick look at the faucet aerator reveals a strainer. This part often gets clogged due to the small openings, so cleaning it completely is crucial.
To do that, fill a small bowl with diluted white vinegar (1:1) and let the aerator sit in the solution overnight. Inspect the part and if you still notice deposits, place it in a clean bowl. Add one or two teaspoons of baking soda, then pour undiluted white vinegar over it.
Let it sit until the bubbling stops, then rinse with water and place in a bowl with undiluted white vinegar for a few hours.
Step 5 – Install the aerator back (or replace it if needed)
Take the aerator out of the vinegar and rinse it with water. Screw it back on the spout and tighten it by hand as much as possible.
Turn on the faucet and check the water pressure. If you still feel it’s too low, you might have to replace the aerator with a new one. Aerators are readily available in most home improvement stores or online.
Clean or Replace the Cartridge
A faucet cartridge is a small plastic piece inside the faucet the controls the water flow. Like the aerator, it can get stuck or clogged due to mineral deposits or debris. While cleaning it isn’t as straightforward as cleaning the aerator, it is still easy to do.
Things You Will Need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Old toothbrush
- White vinegar
- Baking soda (optional)
- New cartridge (optional)
- Rubber gloves
Step 1 – Prepare the area
To reach the cartridge, you will have to remove the faucet handle. Because the cartridge is small, cover the sink’s drain with a stopper, then turn off the water from the shut-off valve located under the sink.
If you don’t have a stopper, place a rag into the sink to prevent any small pieces from falling down the drain.
Step 2 – Remove the faucet handle
The faucet handles are fixed to the spout with screws located under a decorative cap. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the cap, then remove the screws with a Phillips screwdriver (some faucets may require an Allen wrench).
Turn the fasteners counterclockwise until they come loose. If the faucet is old, you may have to apply some torque to achieve this.
Step 3 – Remove the cartridge
The cartridge is located under a brass nut. Use a wrench to unfasten the nut and remove the small plastic bit under it. Place all pieces in order so you remember how to install them back when you’re done.
Step 4 – Clean the cartridge
Use an old toothbrush to remove all gunk gathered on this part, then let it soak in a solution of white vinegar and water (1:1). Just a few minutes are enough if the cartridge is mostly clean, but you can leave it up to a few hours if there is a lot of scale on it.
Alternatively, you can use baking soda and white vinegar to speed up the cleaning process. Rinse with abundant clean water when you’re done.
Step 5 – Install the cartridge back
Reverse the steps above to place the cartridge back in its place and install the faucet handle. If the part is damaged or too dirty to clean, you can replace it with a new cartridge.
Open the shut-off valve under the sink and check the water pressure. Everything should work fine now, but if it’s still low, you may deal with a blockage elsewhere in the supply line.
While low water pressure in the kitchen sink isn’t fun, the problem is often easier to fix than you could imagine. Real problems arise when you also have low water pressure in your bathrooms and laundry room – these indicate a bigger plumbing issue.