Your kitchen sink is likely something you don’t give a lot of thought to — until there’s a plumbing problem. A particular plumbing problem you might run into at some point is a kitchen sink with low water pressure. No matter whether you’re cooking up a 5-star meal or just trying to wash your hands before dinner, you’re not going to get very far if your kitchen sink has low water pressure! Read on to find out what can cause this common issue, how you can attempt to solve it, and when you’ll need to contact a plumber for kitchen sink repair.
One of the first things to check if your kitchen sink has low water pressure is your aerator. Most modern kitchen faucets have an aerator, which works to filter out debris and minerals in your water supply to provide you with clean, fresh tap water. However, filtering all this debris can mean the aerator gets clogged over time. The aerator might need to be cleaned out or replaced entirely depending on the level of sediment buildup within it. Some sinks are built so that you can remove the aerator yourself. To do this, follow the following steps:
- Remove the aerator from the faucet using slip-joint pliers and a towel (or forgo the towel and wrap the pliers in tape to prevent scratches). Some aerators may require a twist-off motion instead of plier removal based on the model.
- Turn the faucet on again to test the water pressure. If the water pressure suddenly returns, your aerator is what’s causing the problem.
- Inspect the aerator for clogs, gunk, or mineral deposits.
- Rinse the aerator using hot water. If it’s very dirty, soak it in vinegar overnight to remove stubborn gunk.
- Use a small toothbrush or cleaning brush to scrub the aerator clean.
- Return the aerator to its place.
Once you’ve cleaned your aerator, you might find that your water pressure problem has disappeared. However, if your aerator is faulty or broken, it might be time to call a plumber so they can perform a quick replacement.
If you’re still finding that your kitchen sink has low water pressure after you clean or replace your aerator, the problem may lie within your cartridge. Not all kitchen sinks have cartridges, but it’s worth checking if yours does. Cartridges regulate the flow of water in your kitchen sink. They are made to be replaced, so you cannot expect them to last the entire lifespan of the sink. If it has been a while since you’ve last scheduled routine plumbing maintenance, the reason your kitchen sink has low water pressure might be due to a clogged cartridge or one that is failing due to old age. To check if a blocked cartridge is the reason your kitchen sink has low water pressure, follow the following steps:
- Find and turn off the supply valves to your kitchen sink.
- Run the faucet until no more water comes out.
- Remove the valve handle, then the screw cap and screw that hold down the faucet. This may require an Allen wrench or hex key.
- After you’ve removed the valve handle, lift out the cartridge. Depending on the model you have, you may need to unscrew a few more screws and bolts before you can remove the cartridge fully.
- Inspect the cartridge for excessive wear or dirt. You can clean it with a mixture of vinegar and water, but we recommend you replace it with a matching cartridge if it’s old.
Municipal Water Supply Issue
If nothing you’ve done so far seems to be helping your water pressure problem, talk to your neighbors. If they’re also experiencing low water pressure, the issue isn’t with your plumbing — it’s likely with your municipal water supply. If the city or town is performing maintenance on the supply line that connects your home to the municipal water lines, it might be a reason your kitchen sink has low water pressure. Call your water service company and discuss the problem with them.
Faulty Pressure Reducing Valve
Your kitchen sink most likely has a pressure reducing valve, also called a PRV or pressure regulator valve. It’s shaped like a bell and comes pre-adjusted by the manufacturer. Adjust this valve and see if it affects your water pressure. Make sure to turn off the supply valves to all your home’s water before you attempt to remove or loosen this valve, or you could cause a flood. If adjusting the PRV does nothing or you see clear signs of damage or excessive age, you might need a replacement. Contact a plumbing services professional so they can replace this valve quickly and easily.
Shutoff Valve Malfunction
Like all of the sinks in your home, your kitchen sink has a shutoff valve, usually located underneath the sink itself. As the name would suggest, the shutoff valve exists to shut off the water supply to the sink. However, since the valve does not always get used, it can become rigid over time as rust or minerals build up outside and inside the valve. If you’ve jostled items around underneath your sink, you may have nudged the valve, which can result in a kitchen sink with low water pressure.
Make sure the shutoff valve is all the way open. Some kitchen sinks have both hot and cold water shutoff valves, so make sure both are open in this case. If there is damage to the valve(s) or you think you have a leak, you may need a replacement. Contact a plumber so that you can take care of this problem sooner rather than later.
It only takes one hole or loose joint in your pipes to cause a leak, and it only takes one leak for air to enter your pipes. This could very well be a culprit if your kitchen sink has low water pressure. Unfortunately, a pipe leak isn’t something you can attempt to DIY repair as your plumbing system is complex, and you might do more harm than good. If you suspect a pipe leak, turn off the water and call a plumber right away.
Water Line Problem
Your water lines connect your appliances and sinks to the pipes in your home. If there’s a break or leak in your kitchen sink’s water line, it can leave your kitchen sink with low water pressure. You can check if this is the case by closing all faucets and water supply valves and taking a water meter reading. Wait about four hours, then take another reading. If the reading has changed, you may have a leak or break in your water line somewhere. This is another problem that you most likely can’t fix with DIY repair, so call for emergency plumbing services ASAP.
Are you experiencing other plumbing woes? What do you do in the case of a clogged drain? Why does your sink gurgle while draining? We have answers to these and more questions to help out homeowners. Need a plumber ASAP? We’re always available for emergency plumbing services and routine maintenance — plus, we also perform HVAC repair and replacement to keep your whole home comfortable. Contact us today and let us take care of everything — and the kitchen sink!