Kitchen Faucet Troubleshooting
July 28, 2010 8:16 AM   Subscribe

The flow from our (two-handled American Standard) kitchen sink faucet has recently changed slightly but annoyingly - when I turn on the water, it kind of tapers on, and similarly when I turn the water off, it tapers off, taking several seconds to completely stop flowing. This happens exactly the same for the hot and cold water taps, so I don't think there's a problem in the valves under the handles. The sprayer still works, though the switching of water to the sprayer and back when you press its handle is lagged as when you turn the water on and off. Any ideas what could be causing this problem?
posted by aught to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked the little screen inside the faucet?

Mine behaves as you describe whenever I get crap from my disintegrating pipes caught in that screen.
posted by aramaic at 8:23 AM on July 28, 2010

The water flow tapering off on shut off probably rules out a clogged aerator. More than likely your cartridges need to be replaced. They're relatively inexpensive, and generally don't require a plumber's assistance. If your faucet is older, it may not have cartridges, in which case you'll need to source a valve rebuild kit from your local (non-big-box :>) hardware store. That's a bit more labor-intensive, but still probably shouldn't require a plumber.
posted by Salient at 8:33 AM on July 28, 2010

Ditto on cleaning the screens; it's not something you want to watch a plumber do!
posted by dpcoffin at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2010

definitely wouldn't hurt to check the aerator. You can usually twist it off by hand, or with a rubber jar-opener.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:16 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all for your suggestions - I appreciate them. I checked the aerator, which had a few tiny pieces of grit that I cleaned out, but that didn't fix the problem.

After chatting with some RL folks a good candidate seems to be the "diverter" valve, which also get grit in them or sometimes just fail (the diverter redirects flow, I presume via differing pressures, to the sprayer line when it its lever is pushed). But that'll require disassembling the faucet spout to get at the diverter, so I probably won't tackle it till the weekend. Fingers crossed, since installing a new faucet unit would be a pain.
posted by aught at 7:42 AM on July 29, 2010

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