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My faucet in the kitchen works 99% of the time but occasionally when you turn it on 0 water comes out. When this occurs the water still works in the bathroom, and in other apartments. (I’m the middle unit in a triplex)

This just started happening four days ago and I’ve lived here for six years. It’s happened maybe five times in the past four days. The plumber says it’s because the pipes are too narrow but I don’t think the pipes would’ve gotten drastically narrower suddenly four days ago.

I’ve experimented with turning on all the other faucets and it does not cause this cut off to happen. I really can’t figure out when it will cutoff, it doesn’t seem tied to anything going on.

The plumber says it’s unfixable unless we rip up and replace the whole system. I just don’t get how this problem could have not been happening at all and now it’s a notable disruption all of a sudden. Could there be something else causing it? He didn’t check on anything, and I’ve seen things about switches getting triggered by accident or converters… could it be one of those things, or something else?

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Most faucets have an aerator screwed on the end that helps smooth out the water flow and prevents/reduces splashing when the water hits the bowl. If there's any "crud" in the water pipes (usually rust from iron piping or mineral buildup from hard water), it can, on occasion break free and flow through the pipes. It will get stuck in the aerator, reducing water flow. It sounds like this is what's happened to you.

Simply unscrew the aerator (righty-tighty, lefty-loosey) from the faucet. Look for a collection of small particles in there. Turn it upside down and bang it on the bottom of the sink to knock the majority out, then run water through it while still upside down to rinse it out. If there's still anything left stuck in there, you may need to use a toothpick or a metal pick to get it out.

Screw the aerator back on and all should be good.

Your flow is likely to be intermittent because the crud hasn't built up and settled in place - it's still loose. Each time you turn the faucet on, water pressure hits the crud and moves it around. If it's arranged with "holes" in the crud, you'll get water, if it manages to make a solid cover over the aerator, no water...

It's possible that the aerator may be damaged. If that's the case, you should be able to find a replacement.


In a comment, the original question seems to have left out the critical detail that there is a pull-out sprayer integrated into the faucet.

I just looked at the one in my kitchen, and it appears that the head can be unscrewed from the hose. There may be a filter somewhere close to that junction that could be cleaned out.

It could be that forcing water (use the tub spout) backwards from the "normal" output end to the hose attachment end could force whatever bits of crud have collected in the spray head out and return full functionality.

It could be that this faucet does not have a removable head in which case replacing the head and attached hose, or the full faucet are the only options.

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  • I’m trying to get the landlord to send a new plumber and I mentioned this possibility to her. My faucet has a kind of hose thing on it with a head that adjusts between types of spray, and I’m not sure where in there I could unscrew to see this aerator? I can picture it on a normal faucet but I don’t see anything easy to access on this one. My friend said I should be careful because if I try to fix it I might make it worse and the landlord can then make me pay. Also, fwiw, now sometimes when we try the faucet there’s a loud knocking sound and a trickle of water comes out. Still quite rare. Oct 5 '21 at 19:01
  • @LindaBoden having a pull-out sprayer integrated into the faucet is a key bit of information that you left out of your original question. I've updated my answer to address that.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 6 '21 at 12:17

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