There are two taps in one of the bathrooms of our house. A few days ago, one of them "went out": after giving a noise as if very suddenly closed, the water stopped flowing, only a little trickling remaining for both hot and cold when opened.

Today, the other tap (that was working unaffected so far) reproduced the phenomenon, with an even smaller amount of remaining trickling. Neither of them work now.

Does anyone have any ideas for the cause of this?

  • do you by any chance have a water softener installed?
    – Steven
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 13:33
  • Thank you so much! I was scratching my head trying to figure out why my hot and cold water stopped flowing. I removed the aerator and viola - everything's back to normal now!
    – user13144
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 16:33

3 Answers 3


The pipes are not likely to be blocked. The problem will most probalby be in the tap. Most taps usually have a aerator before the exit and that could be blocked up from dirt.

To clean the tap there is a tool to remove the aerator but it is not necessary. You can use pliers or a the correct size key. enter image description here

There is also a helpful video here

And this is what the part looks like when its a bit clogged.

enter image description here

With the clog that you mentioned it must be pretty bad- So when you remove the aerator you will most likely see allot of dirt follow it. Open the taps for a minute to get it out of the system.

This dirt usaully comes from the main water supply so installing a filter for your main supply for the house if a good option to stop this nuisance. There also options to improve the drinking qualities. Ask you local plumber depot for advice.


  • To avoid damaging the aerator body it is a good idea to wrap it with some cloth and gently try to unscrew it. It could be a bit stuck but wiggle it back and forth and should let go easily. enter image description here
  • Many aerators go into several pieces. The can help in cleaning them. Try to remember the order.enter image description here
  • The aerator is not mandatory. It helps make the water come out silky and uniform which helps to prevent splashing. You can use the tap without it if it clogs up frequently.
  • +1 for a good explanation of a cure for many faucet related problems. I am just a bit suspect about the sequence of two different facuets coming down with this problem in a short period. If it is the aerators, perhaps there was some incident that kicked out the sediment blocking both. But, if the problem is solved, great.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 14:35
  • I have experienced similar issues before. The hot water pipes are usually longer than cold and would get affected later. Unless the source is a hot water boiler where sediment shifted but then only hot would be affected. The OP does not post order of occurance .
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 14:37
  • I asked about a water softener because I've heard of cases when the salts in the softener get out into the water supply and gum up all the aerators
    – Steven
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 17:38
  • I'm concerned about what sort of gunk is in a supposed potable water system that would suddenly and totally clog the aerators. Ick!
    – bcworkz
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 22:31
  • @Steven - It's nasty when you get a cartridge burst, those resin beads go just about everywhere. Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 1:26

Check whether the aerator on the tap has an additional builtin valve that can be flipped to switch the tap off even when the hot & cold valves are open. (Note the small frontmost handle on the tap... that's what you can open and close the valve with.)

tap with additional valve

This might be the cause of sudden "failures" if (as in my case) you don't know about the existence of such a tap part...

  • It's still strange seeing photos of the rip-off/inferior version of my father's prototype. Unfortunately he never got the real valve, which has several distinct advantages over the one used in these imitations, onto the market. Oh well.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 18:40

You have a clogged aerator. Remove it, clean it with a toothbrush and replace it.

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