If the water coming from the faucet in your kitchen sink slows down to a few drips, you may wonder if there's something wrong with your plumbing pipes. Although bad plumbing pipes could be possible reasons for your faucet's low water pressure, it may actually be something else like a clogged aerator screen. Sometimes, hard water minerals can clog up an aerator screen over time and keep water from flowing through the faucet properly. Here are things to know about an aerator screen, how to find out if your faucet has one, and the steps needed to unclog the screen once you find it.
What's an Aerator Screen and Do You Have One?
Aerator screens typically cover the tips of the aerators, or adapters, of sink faucets and showerheads. Aerator screens regulate the flow of water out of your taps, as well as prevent impurities in your home's water from passing through to you when you use it. While most homes have aerator screens on their faucet adapters, some homes don't.
To find out if your kitchen sink faucet has an aerator screen, slide the tip of your finger along the bottom of the adapter. If the adapter has a screen, it should prevent you from inserting your finger into the tip. If you can insert your finger into the tip, contact a plumber for help. You may have another plumbing problem to repair. Otherwise, you can move to the next steps.
How Do You Unclog the Aerator Screen?
You'll need to remove the adapter to access the screen. In most cases, you can use your fingertips to unscrew the adapter. But if the aerator sticks in place, you can use a pair of pliers to unscrew it.
Now, follow these steps:
- Hold the aerator over the palm of your hand, then shake it gently to remove the screen. Place the screen on a hard surface to keep from losing it.
- Place the aerator in a small bowl filled with warm water and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. You want to allow the piece to soak for about 15 minutes or so to remove the hard water minerals on it.
- Remove the aerator, then place it aside to dry.
- Put the aerator screen in a bowl filled with 1 cup of white household vinegar to soak. The vinegar's acids can help dissolve the minerals.
- Wait 30 minutes, then examine the screen to see if it's free of debris. If not, use a soft-bristled brush to clean it.
Replace the aerator and screen back into the faucet. Turn on the water to see if it flows at a normal speed. If the water flows normally, you solved the issue.
If the water still drips after you complete the steps above, contact a plumber for help.