Why Does My Kitchen Faucet Pulsate?

why does my kitchen faucet pulsate

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If you have ever noticed that the water from your kitchen faucet pulsates rather than flows steadily, you might be wondering what causes this problem and how to fix it. A pulsating faucet can be annoying and wasteful, as well as a sign of a bigger issue with your plumbing system. In this article, I will explain why your kitchen faucet pulsates and what you can do to solve it.

What Causes Kitchen Faucet Pulsation?

There are several possible causes of a pulsating kitchen faucet, but the most common one is water surging. This happens when there is not enough air pressure in the water tank that supplies water to your home. Water tanks need air pressure for compression, which helps regulate the water flow and pressure. If the air pressure is too low, water fills the tank too much and causes surging water in the pipelines. This results in a pulsating faucet that can damage your water lines and plumbing fixtures over time.

Other possible causes of a pulsating faucet include:

  • Clogged aerator: The aerator is the small screen at the end of your faucet spout that mixes air with water to create a smooth and consistent flow. Over time, mineral deposits and debris can build up on the aerator and restrict the water flow, causing the faucet to pulsate.
  • Trapped air: Sometimes, air can get trapped in your water system, especially at high places in your pipes. This can create air bubbles that interfere with the water flow and pressure, causing the faucet to pulsate.
  • Pressure surges: Pressure surges are sudden changes in water pressure that can occur due to various reasons, such as burst pipes, malfunctioning pressure switches, bladder pressure tank issues, or incorrect pre-charge settings on the tank. Pressure surges can also be caused by the diverter valve on your kitchen faucet, which redirects water from the spout to the sprayer when you press the trigger. When you release the trigger, the water pressure increases again, causing the faucet to pulsate².

How To Fix A Pulsating Faucet?

Depending on the cause of your pulsating faucet, there are different ways to fix it. Here are some common methods you can try:

Clean the aerator

The easiest way to fix a pulsating faucet is to check and clean the aerator. You can unscrew it from the spout using an Allen wrench or an aerator cache key. Then, soak it in a bowl of white vinegar for about 15 minutes to dissolve any mineral deposits. You can also use an old toothbrush to scrub off any debris. Rinse it well and screw it back onto the spout.

Check the air pressure on the water tank

If cleaning the aerator does not solve the problem, you might need to check and adjust the air pressure on your water tank. You will need a tire pressure gauge and an air compressor for this task. First, turn off the power and water supply to your tank. Then, locate the air valve on top of your tank and use the gauge to measure the current air pressure. Compare it with the recommended pressure for your tank model, which should be printed on a label or sticker on your tank. If the air pressure is too low or too high, use the air compressor to add or release air until you reach the optimal level.

Look for leaks in your system

Another possible cause of a pulsating faucet is a leak in your plumbing system that reduces the water pressure and causes surging. You can look for signs of leaks such as wet spots, mold growth, or dripping sounds around your pipes, faucets, valves, or joints. If you find any leaks, you will need to repair or replace them as soon as possible.

Examine the pressure relief valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety device that prevents your water tank from exploding due to excessive pressure. It is usually located near the top of your tank and has a lever or knob that you can lift or turn to release some water and air from your tank. Sometimes, this valve can get stuck or malfunction, causing your water pressure to fluctuate and your faucet to pulsate. You can test your valve by lifting or turning it slightly and observing if any water or air comes out. If the valve is working properly, you should see a small amount of water or air escaping. If the valve is leaking or not releasing anything, you might need to replace it. To replace the valve, you will need to turn off the power and water supply to your tank, drain some water from the tank, remove the overflow pipe from the valve, unscrew the old valve from the tank, and screw in a new one. Make sure to use thread sealant or tape on the new valve to prevent leaks.

Common FAQ

How do you fix pulsating water pressure?

When experiencing low water pressure in your kitchen faucet, it is often due to clogging in the aerator caused by sediment buildup, or problems with the faucet’s cartridge. This issue is quite common, and regular maintenance is essential to prevent it. To fix the problem, cleaning the aerator and replacing the cartridge are effective solutions.

Why is the water coming out of my faucet pulsating?

In many cases, air can get trapped in a vertical water pipe and build up over time. This happens when air enters the water system and mixes with the water as it flows into the house. If there is a faucet located at the end of the vertical run, it is possible to release the trapped air by opening the faucet until water starts to flow out.


Why does my kitchen faucet pulsate? A pulsating kitchen faucet can be a nuisance and a sign of a bigger problem with your plumbing system. By identifying the cause of the pulsation and applying the appropriate fix, you can restore your faucet to its normal function and prevent further damage to your water lines and fixtures. If none of the methods above work, or if you are unsure about how to perform them, you might want to call a professional plumber for help.

Debra Klein

My name is Debra & I love modern kitchen designs! I am a passionate product reviewer who wants to assist homeowners in picking the right modern kitchen accessories for their home. My mission is to give the best solution that will help my readers to choose the best and right kitchen items for their homes.

About Me

DonnaHi, my name is Debra Klein and I love modern kitchen designs! As a product reviewer, it’s my mission to help homeowners choose the right modern kitchen accessories for their homes. I want to give them the best solution possible so they can make the best decision for their needs. Thanks for reading!

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