Most of us realize that a drain can get clogged or that the pipes in our home might require extra repairs every now and then, but rarely do we realize that when the faucet is not providing a strong, steady flow of water, it is likely because of a clog in the actual faucet. If you are suffering from low flow in your faucets or worse, sputtering and clogging, here are some tips to help fix the problem.
Why it Happens
The reason that so many faucets now have problems related to clogging is that they have been changed and redesigned over the years to reduce water flow. Older faucets would pour ridiculous amounts of water through the drain – not at all good for the environment. Today, aerators and other technology advancements greatly reduce the amount of water used, but also tend to cause these types of clogs.
Checking Your Aerator
The easiest way to fix a slow flowing faucet is to check the aerator tip for unwanted sediment. Despite filtration of tap water, over time small bits of sand, dirt, and other sediment can and will build up in the aerator. That sediment should be cleaned out of the tip of the aerator at least once a month to keep it from slowing the flow of water. If a water main breaks somewhere or a problem occurs in the water supply outside of your home, this type of sediment might start to build up more rapidly and cause immediate clogs in your faucet. Other things that might build up include pieces of pipe or flux from plumbing joints that break free and enter the water supply. None of it poses a health problem, but it can be frustrating when it gets into your faucets and blocks the water supply.
If the aerator is not the problem it may be in the valve cartridge. To fix this, you will need to replace the part. Each faucet can be very different, so you should refer to your owner’s manual (many of which are online) for how to take this part out of the faucet assembly. When you go to the hardware store, be sure to take the valve cartridge with you so you can get the exact piece you need for replacement. The easiest way to avoid a clog in your faucets is to be careful with any repairs you make. While a water main break is not something you can control, you can control how the water supply is affected when someone does repairs on your home’s plumbing. Leave faucets open outside, turn the main valve back on slowly and check your faucet immediately after the repair to ensure no sediment gets clogged in the assembly.
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