tap-tap-tappity-tap: it ain't what it used to be
June 15, 2005 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Hot tap in kitchen sink; suddenly half the pressure it used to be; turn on, wait twenty seconds, and half pressure becomes all but a drip; all other hot taps in house work a-ok. Washer? Pipe? Tap mechanism? Simple to fix or in need of a plumber?
posted by humuhumu to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
take it apart and see what's wrong. taps are not very complicated things.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:21 AM on June 15, 2005

Most likely, there's someting in there -- a broken washer, whatnot. As it warms up, it expands, which constrains the flow.

Simple to fix -- if you can figure out how to get the valve apart.
posted by eriko at 10:30 AM on June 15, 2005

The first thing to check would be the screen at the end of the spout. These can get clogged with mineral deposits and other junk in the water. Depending on the tap, you should be able to unscrew it using a pair of pliers over a rag so not to scratch the bejeesus out of it. Once it's off, there's generally a plastic diverter, then the screen. The fix could be as simple cleaning the screen. If it's corroded you can buy replacements at most any hardware store.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:02 AM on June 15, 2005

When it changes like you are experiencing it is usually the washer. On many taps a screw holds the washer (actually a valve seat) in place and sometimes that screw gets loose. This can happen when the washer is starting to fail and you tighten the tap extra hard. Then when you open it next it catches and backs the screw out a bit. Once the valve seat can move it tends to reseat after the flow has been on for a few seconds.

If this is the case, turn off the water under the sink and take the knob off of the tap. There should be a large nut which when removed allows you access to the washer. Take it out and get a new one. You can get a whole kit to replace the other internal parts if you want but usually only the washer needs replacing. Put a little LocTite on the screw before you put the new washer on to prevent the screw from backing out too easily.
posted by caddis at 2:44 PM on June 15, 2005

This sounds like a rubber washer that has split. Your faucet may not drip... yet. When a split happens horizontally, some of the rubber can get into the water stream. As the water flows past, it pulls the washer piece in further and disrupts the flow. Should be an easy fix. Google for fixing faucets and get your self a proper $0.69 washer. Good luck!
posted by kc0dxh at 2:53 PM on June 15, 2005

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