A few days ago, the city came out and replaced our water meter. When I came home and used the bathroom faucet, I noticed there was air in the system. No problem there, but later that night and the next day, I noticed that faucet - and only that faucet - had extremely low water pressure. Barely a dribble. Additionally, we were getting rusty(?) water on occasion.

I removed the faucet altogether and ran water directly out of the hot and cold hoses from the wall for a second to ensure water pressure there was okay. Everything was fine. I tried to backflush the faucet head just in case there was some debris in there. I put the assembly back, connected the hot water and ran some water through the faucet assembly for maybe two to three seconds. A ton of opaque orange water came out, then cleared up. Then I hooked up the cold water and tested that one, but only a very tiny amount of discoloration occurred. But when I started the cold water, the faucet was already hooked up, so no air in the system.

After putting the whole thing back together, my water pressure is back up, but maybe 80% of what it should be.

It seems I have two problems:

  1. Why is the water pressure here - and only here - low?
  2. Why is there occasionally rust(?) coming out?

My best guesses are:

  1. Some debris in the faucet. I've tried to clean it out (not knowing what I'm doing), so is there a better way to do so, or should I replace it?
  2. Air in the system lets water move more quickly when first starting and flushes out a ton of stuff in the pipes? (My house is ~50-60 years old.) Or possibly a hot water heater issue? But I don't have enough data to back up either one.

1 Answer 1


You're right--some metal was jarred loose by the work on the meter and the resulting pressure shock. What you weren't able to clear out already is probably stuck in the aerator screen (or flow reduction disk, if present).

Unscrew the cap at the faucet outlet. There should be a mesh screen there, and possibly a perforated plastic disk. Pull them out and rinse them. Run some water through the faucet without the screen and disk.

If that doesn't clear it up you'll probably need to disassemble the faucet. That's not usually difficult, but may involve replacing some o-rings or seal seats. Most faucets made in the last 15-20 years will have replacement parts available at hardware stores.

  • You're correct. There was a ton of gunk in the end of the aerator screen. I was able to remove that, rinse it off, and put it back. Water pressure is fantastic now. I'm still curious as to whether there are likely any long-term concerns (rust in the pipes), but if so, that's not a new problem.
    – user655321
    Nov 19, 2016 at 20:23
  • 1
    FWIW, the work the city did caused a good deal of rust in the pipes - in the original question, I had problems with the bathroom faucet. Quite a while later, I had a similar problem with the bathroom toilet. The tank filled extremely slowly (10-20 minutes to refill). After disconnecting the hoses from the wall into the toilet, I had bits of rust that I had to flush out to fix the problem there.
    – user655321
    Nov 10, 2019 at 17:19

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