Quantcast

Kitchen faucet very low flow - options

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
I registered on this forum to ask this question:

A few months ago, I hired a small company to install quartz countertops in my kitchen. They also replaced the sink, and this more or less required a new faucet. They asked if I wanted them to install the faucet or if I wanted to hire a plumber to install the faucet. Thinking I was saving a step and would have less downtime with a non-functional kitchen, I had them install the faucet. The one they use is an American Standard, with a high arc, a pull-down head, spray/stream toggle, and a button to turn the waterflow off while you hold the button down. It's a nice faucet!

Meanwhile, the installer used a mismatched piece of quartz for part of my kitchen, and became confrontational when I asked about it, to the point that I thought they might threaten to attack me (seriously). After some back and forth, they replaced the quartz, and I left the situation thinking I never want to talk to those people again.

An issue I kind of ignored at first but can't ignore forever is that the water flow in the new faucet is very low. Water pressure elsewhere in the house is good. The screen on the pull-down head is clean. I thought they used tiny supply lines (maybe complying with some kind of low water use regulation) and had a plumber come by the house today to check. I thought we'd be able to resolve it with larger supply lines. (I know very little about plumbing.) But, this is what the plumber said:

The problem is that they didn't bleed the water line, so when they connected it, it filled the cartridge with calcium deposits etc. I asked if it could be cleaned. He advised me against doing that, and recommended replacing the faucet. He quoted me a price of around $500 for labor, if I supply the new faucet. To be fair, this includes installing a hot water recirculator valve (labor only). Which means, I am looking at $650-$700 or so in total depending what faucet I buy, when my issue is a clogged cartridge.

If that is what it takes, I will pay it, but I wanted some additional opinions before coughing up the cash. Could I replace the cartridge? Is that a DIY project for someone who is not experienced with plumbing? Is this plumber telling me the unpleasant truth or should I call another plumber first? Thanks for any insight.
 
Last edited:

Helper Dave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
99
Reaction score
33
Location
Wisconsin
Did he give a reason for his recommendation of a new faucet? Sounds like you could just swap out the cartridge, and make sure the aerator is clean, and you'd be fine.
 

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
I may have put words in his mouth. He said that the “faucet” is full of calcium deposits. He did not say the “cartridge.” That was me making an assumption. But, no, he did not explain, beyond saying it would cost about as much in labor to clean it, with success not guaranteed.

I am thinking about trying a cartridge change on my own first.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
There is a little check valve, and also a tiny flow restrictor, usually both located next to each other, right inside the spray head, where the flex hose screws in.

But they can be elsewhere, even at the other end of the hose under the faucet.

These parts can both easily get clogged with minerals.

You can find their location, and how to swap in new parts, from the manual for your faucet.

Or call the manufacturer customer service tech support.

Also good info will pop up from a Google search with your faucet and problem entered as key words.

The faucet cartridge can also clog from minerals.

Tech support will advise you.

They might even send free parts.

The shutoff valves under the sink can also release bits of old rubber seals that can cause this same clogging up problem.
 

Riickk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
195
Reaction score
61
Location
Delaware
Is this plumber related to my neighbor's mechanic?
That guy diagnosed the howl his car made, was due to worn-out muffler bearings.
Told him it was dangerous, fix it, or soon find the back wheels would be turning forward ! !
/
 

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
I am still trying to wrap my mind around there being a bunch of calcium in the water line that comes out in a new faucet on day one ... the house is 25 years old, it's just a new faucet and sink. The plumber made the diagnosis almost instantly. I don't know enough about it to judge whether that's because he's an expert and knows the pattern, or if he wants me to pay him $500 :)

I have a relative who's more handy at plumbing than I am. I think I am going to try to change the cartridge first, since that's relatively cheap and easy. But, I have a feeling it's the check valve(s). If changing the cartridge doesn't work, I guess we'll either take the faucet apart to clean or replace those (or just remove them), or I could buy the same faucet and put a new one on.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
Call the manufacturer, they will likely send you a new check valve and flow restrictor.
And some companies offer two or three types of restrictor, with different flow rates.
Call customer service.

Permanently removing the check valve or flow restrictor might possible affect the performance of the faucet, or could cause leaks.
But probably not.

And it is common for minerals or junk to come loose in the pipes when shutoff valves are operated.

You can sometimes clean the old parts overnight in a dish of vinegar, keep them submerged with a weight, or try to poke them clean with a very thin pin or needle.
But debris can get inside and sometimes is in there forever.
 

Matt30

Professional
Professional
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
2,248
Reaction score
875
Location
Halifax, Nova Scotia
This plumber doesn’t sound like a service plumber.

I’ve never, ever had a $500 faucet repair.

It is possible the faucet is defective. It’s also possible there’s some debris lodged in the screens or check valves. But how could he leave there without taking it apart and checking? It’s a 20 minute job at best. Disassemble whats there, then start looking for parts.
 

frodo

Just call me Macgyver
Professional
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
8,193
Reaction score
2,622
Location
right here right now, over there later on.
before you do anything
get a bucket, and a stop watch
time how many gallons per minute this faucet is delivering
if it is 2 gpm it is the new faucet and your lovely government regulation
 

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
OK, my relative who is handier than me at plumbing came by this evening. I should mention, being handier than me does not mean he's an expert. He didn't know what check valves were, for example, and said "my faucet doesn't have that."

So, we took the cartridge out and looked at it. We noticed that the cartridge only opens up about 1/3rd at most for each hot and cold. We wondered if that's the reason for the low water pressure. He tried to take that end off the cartridge to see if there was a way to adjust it. He got it partly off, then got nervous about breaking the plastic tabs, and put it back together.

While the cartridge was out, we tested water flow (lots of water pressure - obviously not useful, since it was just flowing out from where the cartridge was). We caught the water in a plastic pretzel jar that fit the space well.

We went to Lowe's. They had cartridges, including an American Standard cartridge, but not the correct one.

We went back to the house and put it back together with the original cartridge, thinking it would be at least as good as it was while I plan my next step. But, when put back together, it didn't work. No water flow. Loosening the cartridge led to water leaking around the cartridge. Removing it led to lots of pressure like the earlier no-cartridge test. But, we couldn't get any water to come out with the cartridge installed. We are not sure if it might have broken when he was trying to take it apart before, or what.

My plan now is to go to a plumbing supply store to see if I can find the cartridge, and if I either can't find one, or it doesn't work, to just buy a new faucet. I am unfortunately now in a situation where it needs to be fixed faster than American Standard might mail me anything. Posting this here in case anybody reads it and points out something that would be obvious if I knew more about this stuff, that might at least get it back up and running like it was.
 

Riickk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
195
Reaction score
61
Location
Delaware
Here's one man's solution to very same problem:


Since this is L-O-N-G you might want to skip ahead to 13:00, where he finds his solution, and what MAY be yours. But he makes a kluge of the repair, beter solution below:

Following from COMMENT section:

I had the same problem except with both hot and cold. Barely a trickle, very frustrating, got worse over time (two years). On my Price Pfister faucet, I turned off the hot and cold water valves, and disconnected the white nylon "quick-connect" fitting which brings the combined water into the extendable faucet head hose. Just compress the upper ring of the quick-connect and it should just slide right off that end of the hose it is attached to. It is a white nylon piece, about 3 inches long. I then unscrewed the other end of the "quick-connect" and removed it from the other hose it is connected to. Inside that nylon quick-connect fitting are several small nylon parts, that I believe regulate back-flow through two parts with o-rings and tiny springs. I carefully removed those parts with a drill, which are nylon and easy to drill-out, and pulled out all the tiny springs and nylon parts inside. This left a nice, clean 1/4 inch hole through the center of the "quick-connect" with no obstructions at all. Then screwed the "quick-connect" fitting back onto the hose, and slid the other end (with the upper ring) over the flexible hose fitting going to the faucet head. Turned the water valves back on, turned on the faucet and it runs like a champ, with full water pressure. My girlfriend was so happy she almost cried. Prior to this simple fix, we were looking at having to buy a different brand kitchen faucet for over $300 and toss this one. No mo low-flow.
 
Last edited:

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
The plot thickens: We replaced the faucet tonight, and have basically the same issue. The new Moen waterflow is a little faster, but still much slower than advertised. Everything is new to the wall. My relative is positive it's the cartridges and new government regulations. I do not believe so, because from what I have found online, the federal limit is 2.2 gpm, California limit is 2.0 gpm, future California limit is 1.8 gpm, and most manufacturers do 1.5 gpm to be safe ... the Moen I bought advertises 1.5 gpm ... and I am getting a gallon of water in 75 seconds. When I use the "power boost" button, I get a gallon of water in 65 seconds.

Both subjectively and per my stopwatch, it is faster than the old faucet, but still only around half what it should be.

Totally baffled! With the old faucet, with the cartridge out, water sprayed out like from an outdoor spigot. Didn't time it, but would guess several gallons per minute. So it has to be something in the faucet, right? But these are not "special low flow" faucets and it's two of them??
 
Last edited:

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
The problem seems to be on your end.

Did you flush the water supply line this time, before installing the new faucet?

Did you find the flow restrictor in the new faucet, and make sure it’s clean?
Or take it out?
Check the parts diagram in your manual, or find it online.
You will see how to remove it, and boost your gpm.

Why did you buy such a low flow faucet in the first place?

Maybe your shutoff valves are breaking down, releasing bits of rubber washer?

Maybe your water pressure in the house is low, which can have at least a dozen causes of low pressure.

Hire a plumber, you need help.
 

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
Neither faucet is low flow. One was an American Standard Fairbury, bought around March 2020 from Home Depot, installed by the countertop installers. The other is a Moen Sarai, bought today at Lowe's, installed by me and my relative. Neither claims low water flow, and the Moen web site says water flow is 1.5 gpm.

Stopwatch-tested waterflow in the American Standard two days ago was 1 gallon in ~85 seconds. Stopwatch-tested waterflow in the Moen today was 1 gallon in ~75 seconds, or ~65 seconds using the "powerboost" button.

It is entirely plausible that I did something wrong. One week ago, I didn't even know where the cartridge was. But, did I do the same thing wrong as the countertop installer? It is plausible that something would clog one faucet, but are both faucets clogging instantly, the moment turned on, to similar waterflow and then staying the same way (ie minute 1 the same as minute 1,000)? Like there was a big piece of rubber that stuck in the American Standard the moment we turned water on, and a second big piece of rubber that lay in wait until the moment we turned the Moen on? It is plausible that one would happen to be unadvertised low-flow, but are they both low-flow? Particularly considering that the second one I know says 1.5 gpm.

As mentioned previously, waterflow elsewhere in the house is fine. And waterflow was fine (like an outdoor spigot) in the old faucet with the cartridge removed ... of course, it's not usable that way. Waterflow was fine in the kitchen faucet prior to the new countertops/sink/faucet installed in March.

I am utterly baffled. I'm sure there is a reason, and it'll probably be a reason that makes me slap my head when I hear it. But yes, I think I'm at a point where I need a plumber if I'm to get this figured out.

If it was just me, to be honest, a gallon in 75 seconds is probably just barely acceptable. But that opinion is not unanimous in my household.
 
Last edited:

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
Flow restrictor!
Find it, remove it, or modify it.
Hello??????

Or buy a 2.2 gpm faucet, no faucet police will be coming to check.
 

KJinNC

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Durham, NC
Well, before I start modifying parts: Are you saying that Moen says the faucet is 1.5 gpm, but in reality, they put a flow restrictor on it that makes it half that? I've appreciated the helpful and non-snarky tone of this board to this point.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
Some manufacturers will send you a different flow restrictor and/or check valve, sometimes they are combined.

They can likely send you a higher gpm restrictor.

For free.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
I am saying the faucet is intentionally choked down to their stated 1.5 gpm by the flow restrictor.

To achieve government approval.

And that it is an open secret that taking it out, or in some rare cases drilling it or modifying it, gives a huge boost to flow rate.

Same for shower heads, we all take those restrictors out of those also.
 
Top