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Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink Faucet | Troubleshooting Guide

Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink Faucet | Troubleshooting Guide
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How to Fix Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink

If you’re experiencing low water pressure in your kitchen sink, you might be able to fix it yourself with our guide. A few possible problems often cause low pressure.

First, you should know that the sink is the basin that catches the water. The faucet is actually what likely has low water pressure, as that’s what the water flows through.

That’s a common mixup. Don’t worry — many people confuse the two. But that’s a technicality more than anything. Regardless of the term, there are some common (and easily fixed) problems for low pressure in kitchen sink faucets.

These include water valve position, kinked water supply hoses, blocked aerators, blocked cartridges, or clogged pipes. We’ll show you how to diagnose and fix the problem on your own.

And we’ll also outline on when it’s best to call a plumber. Keep reading to discover what’s causing low water pressure in your kitchen faucet, how to diagnose the problem without a plumber, and what steps to take to fix it.

Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink Faucet: Possible Causes

Water pressure in your kitchen faucet can be reduced due to several factors. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to determine which problem is the culprit behind your kitchen’s low water pressure.

Below are a few different reasons you may experience low water pressure in kitchen faucets. 

1. Water Valve

As an image for a piece on low pressure in kitchen sink, Man working at pipes. Turning on or turning off water supply in the boiler room. Plumbing concept.

FotoDuets/Shutterstock

Sometimes, the problem can be something simple, like a partially shut water valve. It is easy to check to see if this is the cause of your reduced water pressure in the kitchen faucet.

Locate the water valves under the kitchen sink and make sure they are both fully open. One valve controls hot water, and the other controls cold water. 

If one or both is partially shut, it explains the decreased water pressure in your kitchen faucet. Once you’ve opened them both, try the water again and see if the pressure has been restored. 

2. Water Supply Hoses

Water pipes under double kitchen sink. 3D Illustration

Rawf8/Shutterstock

If both the hot and cold water valves were open and didn’t seem to be the problem, the solution may still be under the sink. Locate the water supply hoses under your kitchen sink.

Are they kinked or being squeezed between objects under the sink? A kinked water supply hose would reduce the water pressure considerably.

But unkinking it should immediately restore the water pressure. Make sure the hoses are unkinked and away from objects, then try the faucet again. 

3. Aerator

Woman plumber installing faucet aerator, close-up of hand handyman repairing a tap

Grigvovan/Shutterstock

Another possible problem that can cause low water pressure in kitchen sink faucets is a clogged aerator. The faucet aerator helps regulate the stream of water to reduce splashing.

But over time, it’ll accumulate mineral buildup from calcium and limescale. This is especially true if you have hard water. It can also have a buildup of bacterial growth due to water trapped in the aerator over time.

Whether the cause is mineral or bacterial, any debris clogging your kitchen faucet aerator will reduce water pressure in that faucet only. You’ll need to remove the aerator and inspect it to see if this is the problem. 

Removing and Cleaning the Aerator

An aerator is officially called a foam jet nozzle and is designed to save water.

Marcel Derweduwen/Shutterstock

The aerator must be removed from the faucet for easier access. Try turning it to the left, but if it doesn’t turn, you may need to grab some pliers.

A washcloth wrapped around the aerator will prevent the finish from being damaged by your pliers. Once you’ve successfully removed the aerator, plug the sink to prevent losing any part of the aerator down the drain. 

The outer part of the aerator will come apart from the inner section. You’ll be taking off the washer, flow restrictor, mixer, bushing, and sleeve.

Be Careful and Mindful

An aerator is officially called a foam jet nozzle and is designed to save water.

Marcel Derweduwen/Shutterstock

It’s helpful to lay each piece of the aerator on a paper towel in the same order you remove the parts so you can put it back together properly. Each part needs to be cleaned with vinegar to help remove the mineral buildup that may be on it.

If you can see the problem is bacterial instead (look for black, green, orange, or rusty colored growth), use a bleach solution to clean the parts. We recommend one part bleach to ten parts water. 

Once all the aerator’s components are cleaned and the debris is visibly removed, put it back together and install it on the faucet again. If this didn’t fix your low pressure problem, it could be a blocked cartridge a bit further down the plumbing. 

4. Blocked Cartridge

As an image for a piece on low water pressure in kitchen sink, parts of single lever kitchen faucet on the white background

Michy/Shutterstock

Note: Not all faucets are cartridge faucets. If yours uses two separate knobs or levers for hot and cold water, you have a compression faucet and can skip this section. Before you begin checking for a blocked cartridge, read through the steps below.

It’s not a difficult job, but there are many parts involved, and you may end up taking the faucet assembly apart unnecessarily if the cartridge turns out not to be the source of low water pressure. If you’re in doubt, call a professional to do this job for you. 

Check the Cartridge

To check for a possibly blocked cartridge, you need to shut off the water supply to the faucet. Once you’ve turned the knobs to shut the water off fully, let the faucet run for a bit to let the remaining water drain out.

Once no more water is coming out, stop the sink with a plug. As you work, lay each piece on a towel in the order you’ve removed it for easy reassembly. The faucet lever is held in place with a screw that may be covered by a small cap.

Remove the Cap

Pry the cap up (a screwdriver can be handy here) and unscrew the faucet handle, lifting it to remove it from the assembly. You’ll see a plastic retaining unit.

Grab a pair of pliers to remove it from the faucet assembly, lifting straight up to take it off. You might see a small, staple-shaped retaining clip once you’ve removed the retaining unit.

Pull the Cartridge

Plumber repairing the faucet of a sink in kitchen, man repair and fixing leaky old faucet, cartridge or mixer of the faucet, concept of repair and technical assistance

Alena TS/Shutterstock

You can easily pull this out with a pair of needle-nose pliers. With the retaining clip removed, you should be able to use your pliers to pull straight up on the cartridge (it will look like a smaller tube sticking up from the faucet assembly).

Look for mineral buildup on the cartridge. If you see calcium or limescale, soak the cartridge in a half water, half vinegar solution for a few minutes, then scrub it with a toothbrush. 

Replace It With a New One

If you see that the cartridge looks scratched or worn, you can take it to a local hardware store to get the correct replacement. It’s a good idea to remove the O-ring at the bottom of the assembly and bring it along with you to get a new, correctly sized one to install. 

Once you’re ready to put it back in place, slide the cartridge down into the opening on the faucet, making sure to keep the tabs on the side aligned with the notches on the faucet opening.

Reinstall the Parts

Reinstall the parts in the order you removed them, then turn the water supply valves back on to see if the cleaned or new cartridge fixed your problem. If it didn’t, the problem may be further back in your plumbing system – a clogged pipe. 

5. Clogged or Leaky Pipe

Rusty burst pipe spraying water after freezing in winter.

IanRedding/Shutterstock

If neither the aerator nor cartridge is responsible for your low water pressure in the kitchen sink faucet, you may be dealing with a clogged or leaky pipe.

The water pipe that leads to your kitchen faucet could have debris, mineral buildup, or sediment preventing the normal flow of water.

Call a Plumber

If there are leaks in the pipe, the water flow won’t be as strong because much of the water will be lost through the leak. A plumber can inspect and fix your clogged or leaky pipes.

Especially if you have an access point for your kitchen sink (most homes do). Be careful if you decide to inspect the pipes yourself.

Rusty pipes with the debris clogging them removed could result in new leaks, and snaking a plastic pipe could cause cracks or breaks in the pipe. This is better left to a professional.

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What Else Causes Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink Faucets?

Water flowing from the faucet to the washbasin

Ari N/Shutterstock

If the above possible causes for low water pressure in your kitchen sink faucet don’t seem to be the problem, there are a few possible reasons you’ll experience this drop in water pressure. 

Do you have other faucets in your home with low water pressure?

If so, the problem is not localized to the kitchen sink and may be a bigger problem in your plumbing that requires a plumber’s expertise.

Does the water pressure in the sink faucet vary at different times?

If you’re not always dealing with low water pressure in the kitchen sink faucet, it could be due to increased and decreased water usage throughout your home during the day. 

Have you recently remodeled and added new water outlets?

New water-using appliances or outlets increase the amount of water your existing plumbing must use, and it is a common cause for a decrease in water pressure. If this is the case, you may need a plumber to put in a larger main water pipe. 

Has your municipality experienced a water line break?

Broken water lines beyond your property line can reduce water pressure in your home. If this is the problem, you will experience reduced water pressure in all water outlets.

Not just the kitchen faucet. Call your municipality to find out if there’s been a widespread problem. 

When to Call a Pro

LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Still wondering about “low water pressure in kitchen sink faucet?” There are some easy fixes that can be safely and affordably done without a professional. First, take the following steps:

  • Open all water valves
  • Straighten kinked supply lines
  • Check and clean the aerator

Each of these simple steps may fix you low kitchen water pressure problem. If not, calling a professional can save you time and money in the long run if you’re not sure what the problem might be.

Get a Quote
Find Local Plumbers

We partnered with Networx to help you find local plumbers in your area. Click to below to get a FREE quote.

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We may earn a commission when you click this link, at no extra cost to you.

Still Have Low Water Pressure in Your Kitchen Sink Faucet?

If the problem is with your pipes, faucet cartridge, or newly added water outlets, it’s best to call a professional to avoid causing further damage or purchasing parts you may not need.

Additionally, if your entire home is experiencing reduced water pressure, the problem may be much bigger and require a plumber’s expertise to be properly fixed. 

DIY plumbing repairs can save you money initially, but if you purchase the wrong parts, cause additional damage, or replace things that weren’t broken, you could spend more than you would if you called a plumber.

As with all home and appliance repair projects, don’t be afraid to take on a project that you feel confident in doing, but when in doubt, call a professional.

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