Why Is Only My Kitchen Sink Water Pressure So Low?

Your kitchen sink plays a huge role in your daily schedule, from brewing your morning coffee to helping prepare dinner.

So if you turn it on one day and get flimsy water pressure in return, fixing it probably isn’t something you want to put off until later.

If your kitchen sink water pressure suddenly lost pressure, it could be due to:

  • A clogged aerator
  • A clogged cartridge
  • Clogged hot/cold supply lines

Not sure where to start?

Just read on. We’ll walk you through how to check for each of these issues and also how to fix them.

How to check for a clogged aerator

Your aerator is a small circular device that attaches to the tip of your faucet head. The aerator’s job is to prevent splashing by incorporating air into the water stream.

An aerator separates your water stream into many tiny streams for a softer flow. But the grate-like design of the aerator means it’s easily clogged, whether by mineral deposits (from hard water) or by other debris.

If your aerator is clogged, it will dramatically reduce the water pressure of your kitchen sink.

Do this:
First, you’ll need:

  • Pliers
  • Old rag or towel
  • White vinegar
  • Old toothbrush

Next, follow these steps:

1. Wrap your faucet with an old rag or towel to protect the finish from getting scratched.

2. Use pliers to turn the aerator counter-clockwise until it separates from the faucet head. 
Note: Pay attention to the order of components that make up the aerator because you’ll need to assemble them together again at the end. Different aerators have different components but you can expect to see something like the picture below.

3. Check for white mineral deposits or debris clogging water flow. If you see clogs, soak all components in vinegar or CLR (a calcium, lime and rust remover) overnight. Afterwards, use an old toothbrush to remove the loosened sediment. Rinse all the pieces with warm water.

4. Reassemble the aerator and attach it back to the faucet head using pliers and a rag to protect the finish.

If your water pressure is still low after this, continue on to check your faucet’s cartridge...

A clogged cartridge

A faucet cartridge is the valve that turns your faucet off and on and, in the case of a single-handle faucet, controls the temperature of the water by mixing the hot/cold water supply.

Sometimes, though, hard water deposits or small sediment can clog this valve and reduce the water flow.

Do this:
Gather the following:

  • Allen wrench or screwdriver
  • Large plastic tupperware
  • Extra pair of hands 

Now, just follow the steps below:
1. Shut off the hot and cold water valves under the sink.
2. Turn on the hot and cold faucet handles to drain any water left in the pipes.
3. Remove the faucet handle to access the cartridge. How you remove the handle differs according to the model, but they are usually attached by screw at the top of the handle. You will probably need either an allen wrench or a screwdriver for this step. Note: you may need to remove a decorative cap or button on the handle first.
4. Once you can see the cartridge protective covering, use pliers to remove the bonnet

5. Remove the cartridge and rinse with water to remove any sediment.

6Place a large plastic tupperware over the cartridge opening and turn on your hot water valve under the sink slowly. The running water will flush out any sediment. But be careful to use the plastic tupperware to redirect the water into the sink and avoid a watery mess. Note: You’ll most likely need an extra pair of hands during this step.

7. Once you’ve flushed out the cartridge and cartridge opening, return cartridge to its place, and reassemble the cartridge covering/bonnet and faucet handle.

8. Turn the hot and cold water valves under the sink back on.

Still have low pressure? Most likely the clog is in your hot and cold supply lines. Let’s look at what can be done in this situation.

Clogged hot & cold supply lines

If you’ve tried the steps above but are still getting low water pressure from your sink, the problem is most likely clogged hot and cold supply lines.

These lines are connected to your hot and cold valves under the sink. They feed the hot/cold water directly to your faucet. So, if there is a clog or sediment buildup here, it will result in loss of water pressure.

Because removing sediment in these lines requires disassembling them, we suggest leaving this to a professional. A plumber will be able to inspect your lines and remove the clog safely and quickly to get your sink back to normal.

Need help from a MN plumber?

If you’re all out of DIY options and need a professional to restore your kitchen sink’s water pressure, we’re here to help.

If you live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, just schedule your appointment with MSP today.

We’ll diagnose the issue and fix it in no time.

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