Having low water pressure in the kitchen sink is a universally frustrating experience. Chores like dishwashing become arduous and even more annoying without the promised power of your faucet. There are also quite a few causes for the kitchen water pressure being low, which makes solutions seem tough to pin down. Luckily, with every issue, there’s a plumbing solution, and now you can see them side by side. For a majority of these solutions, you won’t even need the expertise of a plumber. You’re welcome!
A clogged aerator is one of the leading causes of low water pressure in the kitchen sink. It’s a relatively easy fix, too. The aerator is in place to break up a solid stream of water into multiple thin streams. Air is the splitting factor, hence the name. Adding air to the stream of water cuts your water usage and water bill without sacrificing the strength of its pressure. Over time, the mesh aerator can clog with minerals, debris, and sediments. You’re then left with reduced water pressure, seemingly for no reason. To check if your aerator’s the culprit, you’ll need to remove it. Here’s how you do it:
- Unscrew the end of your faucet to remove the aerator.
- Take the aerator out and give it a visual inspection.
- Run water without the aerator to confirm your suspicions.
If the water runs with approvable pressure, the aerator was likely your issue. Take a look at it again; if the small holes are not too blocked you can usually save it. Use a small brush or a thin pick to scrub away debris and sediment until you can see each water hole. If your efforts aren’t reaping results, you may need to replace the aerator, which is a cheap fix.
The cartridge portion of your kitchen sink resides in the handle. The cartridge controls how much water comes out of the faucet. These can sometimes clog with the same substances as aerators. You can test the potential of a cartridge clog as you examine your aerator. Here are the quick steps for that:
- With the aerator set to the side, run the water again.
- If the pressure is no better, check the cartridge.
- Take the top off of your sink’s handle. If that’s not possible, unscrew the whole thing from its base.
- Remove the cartridge’s cover, which is shaped like a ring.
- With that gone, reach in and grab the cartridge. It is cylindrical in shape and usually made of plastic or brass.
- Check the inside for debris or mineral build-up. As with the aerator, toss and replace it if there’s a lot of debris.
With your cleaned cartridge back in place, reinstall the aerator and run some water again. You’ll likely be good to go, but if not, there are plenty of solutions left to try.
Blocked Water Lines
The water supply lines leading to your kitchen sink can sport leaks or clogs. To see if this is the cause behind your lack of water pressure, duck down to the cabinet under your sink and shut off the water to your sink. Here’s what you do from there:
- Disconnect the supply line to your sink.
- Grab a bowl or a bucket and jiggle any excess water out of the line.
- With it clear of water, turn the water back on.
If water comes out of the line and into your bucket, the problem is likely to do with your faucet. Rather than picking it apart to find the problem, you’ll likely want to replace the faucet itself and start fresh. If nothing comes out, the problem may go deeper than the average DIYer can manage. Give your plumber a call for a proper diagnosis and plan of action.
A lack of water may be what’s causing your low water pressure. To accurately screen for this, make sure you’re checking the water pressure all-around your house, not just the kitchen sink. If the problem seems to be affecting all your plumbing, you could have a leak in one or more of your pipes. Determining which pipe and which area of the house it’s in can be tricky without the help of a plumber unless you see clear signs of a leak. For example, you may notice moisture in your kitchen sink cabinet or directly below it in your basement. That usually points to the leak point, but without a professional, it’s tough to be sure. For a broad confirmation of a leak, turn off your water and mark the numbers on your water meter. Check back after an hour or two; if the numbers have gone up, you have a leak somewhere.
A Damaged Shut-Off Valve
A shut-off valve sits below your kitchen sink to shut off its water flow. As with the aerator and cartridge, this valve can become dirty or damaged. The stem of it can also leak, which reduces the total amount of water making it out of your faucet. Make sure the valve is all the way open, then check to see if it is clean and leak-free. If damaged, you’ll likely need to replace the valve and start fresh.
Damage to The Pressure Reducing Valve
The PRV, or pressure-reducing valve, connects to the main water line running into your home. It comes preprogrammed from the manufacturer, but it’s always possible that something has bonked it or damaged it in some way. Your issues may be pointing to the PRV if the lack of pressure affects your whole house and you don’t seem to have any leaks. To adjust the water pressure in your home, crank the screw on top of the PRV in a counter-clockwise direction. The pressure should increase throughout your home, which may solve your problem.
A Dirty Water Heater
Your water heater may be causing your problems if just your hot water seems to be running weak. A dirty water tank reduces the heater’s efficiency and the heating capabilities it offers. This in turn affects the hot water pressure throughout your home. Try flushing the tank and cleaning it every six months or so–a plumber can also do this service for you and make sure everything’s sparkling. Without excess sediment buildup, your hot water pressure should retake its usual power.