Sunrise Specialty » Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Faucet (Causes & Fix Methods)

Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Faucet (Causes & Fix Methods)

So, you’ve noticed that the water flow from the kitchen sink faucet comes at extraordinarily low pressure. If this is your first time dealing with something like that, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out what the source of the problem is.

And, indeed, there are numerous possible causes of this issue. So, low water pressure in kitchen sink – here are the 7 main problems and their solutions.

What causes low water pressure in the kitchen sink?

As frustrating as it is, the low water pressure in kitchen sink problem is usually pretty easy to explain. You’ll need to tinker a bit with your kitchen sink’s faucet a bit, and, maybe, with a few of the valves and pipes, but it should always be an easily identifiable issue if you know what you’re looking for.

The first thing to check is whether the water pressure is low only in the kitchen sink or elsewhere around the house too. If it’s the kitchen sink, that’s good – the problem is fairly localized and surface-level.

If your whole home has low water pressure, check to see if your neighbors are experiencing the same problem. Whether you live in a suburban house or an apartment building, if your neighbors are also suddenly experiencing low water pressure, you’re going to want to talk with your municipal water supplier. The issue is more significant in that case, but it’s also out of your hands.

If your whole home has low water pressure but your neighbors’ water supply is ok, then the problem is still in your home’s installation but it’s rooted a bit deeper. In that case, you’re either going to need professional help or you’re going to have to work a bit harder yourself. In that case, you can likely skip the first three out of seven points we’ve listed below.

So, here are the 7 common causes of low water pressure:

1. Clogged aerator

Clogged aerator

What is an aerator? This is the simplest problem that’s also the easiest to fix. The kitchen sink’s faucet’s aerator is the screen that covers the end of the faucet spout. It’s essentially the last part of the kitchen faucet the water comes into contact with before flowing down into the sink.

The aerator’s purpose is simple too – to be the last filter water passes through as well as to manage the water’s flow. As such, it can very easily have minerals build up and clog it. This is especially likely if you have hard water in your area, i.e. water with higher mineral contents.

Cleaning a clogged aerator is fairly easy – we’ll cover how to do it below. Let’s go over some of the other common causes first.

2. Clogged cartridge

faucet cartridge

If your water fixture’s aerator seems fine, the next place to check is the cartridge faucet. Located at the base of the faucet’s handle, the cartridge is what controls the opening valves that let water flow through the faucet. Its function is also to prevent leaks and malfunctions in general.

However, debris can also cause issues for the cartridge as mineral deposits from hard water can build there as well. Fixing a clogged cartridge is a tiny bit more complicated than it’s with the aerator as you’ll have to turn off the water supply to the faucet. After that, however, it’s easy – we’ll cover that step-by-step below as well.

3. Faulty faucet

The aerator and the cartridge are not the only things that can go wrong in a kitchen faucet, just the most common problem points. If the issue seems to be in the faucet but in neither the aerator nor the cartridge, however, then you’ll likely have to change the faucet.

You can change other parts of the faucet too, of course, but those can vary a lot based on each faucet model. We’ll go into a bit more detail below.

4. Blocked supply line

Assuming the low water pressure issue doesn’t have anything to do with the kitchen faucet, the next most likely explanation is a blocked supply line. Debris can easily clog the pipes and plumbing of any home and they can sometimes be pretty difficult to deal with, often requiring professional help as well. More on that later.

5. Pipe leaks

Low water pressure can also easily be caused by a pipe leak somewhere in the supply chain. If that’s the case, a portion of the water will literally be going down the drain and either a section of your home or your whole house will be left with limited water supply, hence the low pressure.

Such pipe leaks can really occur anywhere, however, and it’s sometimes difficult to locate them before it’s too late. Noticing the decrease of the water pressure is really one of the first symptoms you’d want to look at and act upon before the leak itself starts causing any structural damage to your home.

It’s not uncommon for such leaks to happen inside your home’s walls or in its base – when that’s the case, you may end up having to do a rather large-scale renovation to fix the damage.

So, if you notice a lowered water pressure and the problem doesn’t seem to be any of the other six we’ve listed here, call a plumber to inspect for a pipe leak immediately.

6. Pressure reducing valve problems

Pressure reducing valve problems

The pressure reducing valve or PRV for short is the valve that controls the water pressure coming from the municipal supply. Its exact location can vary a bit but it’s usually placed somewhere on the incoming water line. It is bell-shaped and you can try to loosen the screw on the top of it to readjust the water pressure coming from the valve.

7. Sediment in the water heater

Another thing to check before you start trying to fix things is whether it’s only the hot water that has reduced pressure or it’s the cold water as well. If you’re only experiencing low hot water pressure then the problem is almost certainly in the water heater rather than anywhere else.

Sediment build up in the water heater is also a very common problem and it’s why good prevention and water heater care are important. It’s generally recommended to flush your water heater once every 6 months, especially if you know that the water in your area is harder than average.

Not only will that ensure that your water heater doesn’t negatively affect your water pressure, but it will also extend the water heater’s life, it keeps the maximum possible water temperature high, and it saves on your gas or electricity bills.

 

How do I fix low water pressure in my kitchen sink?

So, how do I fix low water pressure in my kitchen sink? The good news is that the problem is always fixable. The bad news is that some fixes will require professional help – or, it’s at least recommended. So, let’s go over the solutions to the 7 problems we listed above:

1. How to clean a clogged aerator?

If, after going over all the possible causes of the problem is simply a clogged aerator, then you’re in luck. All you need to do is screw the aerator open, grab a toothbrush you don’t mind using for something like this, and brush the filter well.

You can soak the aerator in vinegar mixed with some water before brushing too, if need be but the process is generally very easy. If you’re having trouble disassembling the aerator, you can use pliers.

2. How to fix a clogged cartridge?

Before you start getting to the cartridge, you should first stop the water supply to the kitchen faucet. Then, just pop the top off the faucet’s handle or you may need to remove it entirely – depending on the exact type of faucet you have. There are plenty of good videos out there for every major type of faucet.

With the handle removed, you can unscrew the cartridge cover. It should be ring-shaped and removing it will give you access to the cartridge itself. You can use pliers to remove and repair it, a screwdriver, or whatever instrument is necessary for your particular faucet type.

Then, just clean the cartridge by washing and brushing it, similarly to how you did with the aerator. If need be, replace the cartridge’s rubber O-ring seals to make sure that they offer a good seal when you twist the cartridge back into place. You should be able to find a good replacement for the seals as well as the cartridge itself in any hardware store.

3. What to do if the problem is elsewhere in the faucet?

There are many ways to take a faucet apart, depending on its model – you can find instruction videos about most models online. Technically, as the main water outlet, the faucet can get clogged elsewhere other than the cartridge or the aerator but that’s rare. Cleaning all its parts can help solve the low water pressure problem or you might have to just get a new faucet.

4. How to deal with blocked water supply lines?

The first thing to do would be to stop the water from under the sink’s shut-off valve handle. Then, place a bucket under the sink to catch any potential residual spills.

Next, turn each nut of the water supply valves using a wrench or an Allen wrench if need be. Point the lines at the bucket and turn the water back on. If there is no water coming out or the pressure is too low, then the problem is indeed in the water supply lines and you’ll need to call a plumber.

5. What to do with a pipe leak?

Pipe leaks can be either harmless or especially insidious, depending on where they’ve happened. Pipe leaks inside walls can be hugely problematic if you catch them up too late. That’s why you should generally call a plumber as soon as you’ve started suspecting an in-wall pipe leak.

There are ways to track potential pipe leaks inside walls but the general advice is that calling a professional plumber is the safest bet to make.

6. How to adjust a pressure reducing valve?

We detailed above how to deal with a PRV – remove the retaining clip, turn the screw cap, and see if the water pressure coming out of the water outlets changes. If that doesn’t change the water pressure issue, then it’s time to call the plumber and replace the valve.

7. Do you need a plumber to flush your water heater?

Flushing your own water heater is recommended as a key prevention step everyone should do once or twice a year. That being said, if your heater has gotten so clogged with sediment that it’s affecting the hot water pressure, then it’s wise to call a plumber to help you flush the water heater this one time.

That’s not only because the flushing will be complicated but also because it may not be enough. If your water heater hasn’t been flushed in a couple of years or more, replacing it may be the smarter decision. Enquiring with a licensed professional here is key to avoiding further plumbing problems that can stem from the clogged water heater.

 

In conclusion

Dealing with water pressure problems can be annoying but it is usually pretty easy to fix. If the problem is in the municipal water supply, then the fix may take a bit longer but it also should necessitate much from you other than just signaling the appropriate authority.

Pretty much the only high-risk issue is a leaky pipe. If that’s the cause of the low water pressure in the kitchen sink, then a leak in the wrong place can have disastrous effects on your entire home. In that sense, noticing the lower water pressure can be a blessing in disguise and it’s the symptom that alerts you of the bigger problem. In any other case, the problem should be even milder and easier to fix.

39 thoughts on “Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Faucet (Causes & Fix Methods)”

  1. We installed a new sink and faucet in the downstairs powder room and the pressure is now low, as well as in the upstairs shower. It’s both hot and cold water.

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    • I am also having your same problem Debbie. Everything I have read so far, points me in the direction that certain faucets are dedicated to certain gallons per minute so I am hopeful I can just remove that tiny piece that is restricting water flow to that set amount.

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      • I got good pressure every where but the sink in kitchen and it’s both sides

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  2. Hi, I have low pressure that is localized in the kitchen faucet only. My whole house pressure is at 60 PSI (checked with gauge). Removed aerator, it was clean turn the water on with out it just in case. Still low pressure (hot and cold). Re-installed the aerator. Next up, replace the cartridge. Re-assembled and still have low pressure. My faucet is the home depot Harbor Bay single handle for hot and cold. I am not sure what else unless issues with a line to it. I thought about replacing the faucet but not sure if that would remedy that and may be cash out the window. I have those plastic lines for water lines. This is the first house I have had when there is no copper pipe under the sink so to speak. Any suggestions?

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    • Pete I have the same faucet but I’m having problems with the cold water pressure only. Did you find out any solutions?

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    • I have run into the issue on a few houses that had the metal flexible hoses that connect the main flow to the faucet. Since there is only about 3/18 of an orifice for the water to pass through it often clogs up due to the chemicals that are put into city water. If you have checked the aerator and the cartridge you may want to pull the hose and make sure it is not clogged. It’s usually a metal flex line but I have had the plastic flex lines also do this. I’ve had jobs where the water flow was poor and I then shut off the hot and then turned it back on again to have hardly any water flow. A good indicator of a clogged line. Pull the fl;ex line and check to make sure it is clear. Phil

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      • Hey, Phil
        We’ve been having this issue too. Could a clogged flex metal hose also cause the water to keep running once the handle is in the off position? We replaced the valve and now we have almost no pressure and it still acts like the valve needs to be replaced. We had our house replumbed six months ago.

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        • Just a joke thought to make you smile. But maybe it’s the water that the government knows we use the most and it’s going to turn every one into zombies

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          • Shut the fuck up Anna

    • I’ve have the exact same issue with a HD Glacier Bay Pull Down kitchen faucet. The water coming in for the supply is fine, but after it goes into the pull down faucet the pressure is gone. They will replace parts for free if you can call in with the faucet information. I’m now ordering a new pull down and quick connect assembly as I think perhaps that is my problem. I’ll let you know.

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      • I have same issue soon after sink was installed. Was your problem resolved after getting replacement?

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      • I have the same issue with a Glacier Bay pulldown unit. Did you get the parts you needed, and did it fix the issue?

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    • I have the same problem. New faucet and skinnt lines

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  3. Me, too! Has anyone found a solution? I have the exact same issue and did the aerator and the cartridge?

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  4. I have low pressure with my cold water only. After cleaning the aerator & cartridge I’m come to the conclusion that the shutoff valve has something in it. Not an easy fix. I’ll have to shut off the water to the house & pull that valve. It could probably just be cleaned. But, since it’s 20 years old I’ll just replace it.

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  5. Yes. The shutoff valves under the sink for both hot and cold will fail. The rubber washer inside will soften up over time and eventually will breakdown and cause partial blockage leading out to your tap. You will also probably notice a steady drip from the valve itself. Changing the stem inside is quite easy for anyone to take on. ( yes I really mean anyone ). Go purchase a replacement valve stem. Shut off house supply. Test water to make sure its off. Use phillips head screwdriver to remove screw in center of the handle. Remove handle, loosen and remove bonnet nut with crescent wrench, which will also pull out the stem. Dislodge old stem being careful to observe how it fits in the bonnet nut. Put new stem in in the exact way you took the other one out. Reassemble. Turn on house supply. Run hot and cold in the shower on the highest level of house to bleed air out of the water lines. Turn off once water runs uninterrupted. Then turn on inlet valves that you just fixed. Turn on faucet and you should have good flow now.

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  6. I had the same problem where neither the diverter screen nor the cartridge was the issue. Upon further investigation I found there was year another diverter/trap inline with where my pull out hose connected to the water supply

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  7. Had exact same problem as most of you guys. I already cleaned screen and checked the cartridge. Didn’t help. I followed someone’s suggestion above and even though my hoses and faucet was only 3 years old, I took the braded hoses off, sprayed water through them and the faucet with outside hose. Then blew them out with air. Put it all back together and my water pressure is now great!

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  8. My kitchen faucet was loose so I re tightened it and since i re tightened it my water pressure is very low

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  9. Completely replaced everything from shut off valve to faucet and now have no pressure on hot water side. Cold pressure is normal. Brand new faucet hoses and valves. Help please.

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    • Same here. New faucet and hoses. Coldwater still good but hot water not good at all.

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  10. I had the same issue. Cleaned the aerator and the cartridge, but still low pressure. So I removed the hose to the pull out faucet head and blew it out with compressed air. Fixed. I felt like it had to be that hose as opposed to the two braided lines from the hot and cold line because the pressure was just as low for both hot and cold. Good luck!

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    • Thanks for mentioning the single flexible, pull-down hose. Mine had a weight attached under the counter that’s supposed to pull the hose back down when you’re through using it. That weight was placed in a location that literally crimped the hose when the faucet was in place. I moved the weight (one screw) so that it was at the lowest point of the hose and didn’t crimp the hose, and the water pressure is much better.

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  11. Plumber said low pressure because my new tap is European and they are designed to restrict water for conservation purposes. Kitchen installer said you can turn the washer over and by-pass the restriction. Haven’t tried it.

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  12. I had the same issue with water pressure was awesome when I installed faucet but over time I noticed the water pressure was lowering until it was barely anything going out. I soaked the pull out head in vinegar over night and it made a little difference but after a week it was even worse. After reading the comment on this site. I then went and looked under head and saw it did unscrew. I took that off and I saw the filter was clogged. I tried it without this filter but it was still barely coming out. I then look at how the hose connected to the pull out head and I saw it also unscrewed. I took that off while holding the hose so it did not retract back in. I looking in the backend of the head and I saw it was clogged there also. I tested pressure without head on it was VERY strong. I cleaned on the backend of the head where there was another filter. I then attached hose to head and tested and BOOM STRONG water pressure again!!! I was sooo happy this has frustrated me for a while.

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  13. Only the kitchen sink cold water was low flow. Followed the steps to a blocked steel braided supply hose.

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  14. The aerator was the problem…easy fix…thanks, y’all!

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  15. Janifos

    I was going to set an appointment as my water pressure in the kitchen was very low.
    Than I read through your website and read the article on cleaning the aerator and I immediately set out to do it. It worked I was
    Amazed that I could do it myself.
    Thank you so much! I have saved your website to my favorites and I will call you
    Should I need a plumber! God bless!

    Reply
  16. Some really great tips. Honestly, like Janie said, this post helped me some money. I was able to resolve this issue of low pressure with kitchen faucet. Apart from this, one thing i would like to highlight is that blewing up the faucet with air really helps and improves the flow of water.
    Nice and great post by the way….

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  17. My sink pressure is just fine, until I turn the nozzle to the left side for hot water. The closer I turn it to as far left as I can go, the lower the water pressure gets. I don’t think this would be a clogged aerator, or else the water pressure would be low no matter which way the faucet was turned. Anyone have any ideas?

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  18. I am having this issue in three rooms; kitchen, downstairs bathroom and one upstairs bathroom. I checked the aerator in the kitchen and no change. Any ideas?

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  19. How to pressure test at 3/8” output of new 1/4 turn angle valve?

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  20. I always have this issue, I changed kitchen faucet twice.the newer,the ultra pressure but later getting low month by month.untill today as I was facing same issue since last week.i come across your article and step by step I checked everything and cleaned but of no use untill I opened the connecter n here was issue, big time clogged. Cleaned and even used air pressure for dusting computer, n boooom.pressure is bag. Guys check connecter plz if u have issue with low pressure before replacing with costly faucet. Good luck

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    • What is the “connector??”

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  21. The faucet has low pressure; the hose at the side has high pressure-higher than usual. This is a recent problem. Not the aerator-I clean that once a month. Might it be the cartridge? Faucet is standard type-hot & cold water handle are on either side. Just seems all the water pressure is going to the hose rather than the tap.

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  22. My water pressure issue is this.. I have good pressure at bathroom faucet, but poor to very little at the rest of house. What would cause this?

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  23. Lots of good folks out there to advice other we thank u all

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  24. no hot or cold water in kitchen. I turn on bathroom water and let run. After several minutes Kitchen water back but goes off after couple of days. repeat and repeat. Has happened several times. Not blockage. Acts like prime is lost until water turned on and let run downstream. for long period. ????

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  25. Can a supply valve be restrictive enough to cause pressure low enough that my hot water on demand heater won’t ignite? Bathroom faucet a shower work fine! I’ve removed the restrictors. It’s a Delta Signature 470-BL-DST. Your thoughts?

    Reply

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