Why Does Kitchen Faucet Pulsate? (Solved!)

Have you ever noticed that the water from your kitchen faucet pulsates rather than flows steadily?

Find out why your kitchen faucet pulsates and how to fix it.

Kitchen Faucet Pulsate

Here’s Why Kitchen Faucet Pulsate:

Your kitchen faucet pulsating is a major indicator that there’s not enough pressure in a water tank. Ideally, the air pressure is used in compression and its absence causes the water to fill up the tank excessively, as a result, water surges in the pipelines leading to water pulsating.

What causes kitchen faucet to pulsate?

1.The water tank’s air pressure is insufficient

Water typically pulsates when there is insufficient air pressure in the tank.

The electric pressure switch and the internal air bladder within the water tank are the two components that control this pressure. If either of these fails, the water from your kitchen faucet will pulse rather than flow continuously. 

Do not allow the pulsating to continue, as extended water surges like this can cause damage to your water lines and plumbing fixtures.

2.Clogged aerators

Typically, lime or mineral deposits build up, clogging the screen and resulting in the faucet pulsating. This is one of the most prevalent issues that can occur even with the most costly faucets available.

Every residence has experienced a kitchen faucet pulsating due to restricted flow at some point. In many cases, the restriction occurs not in the water line but in the faucet itself, namely at the position of the aerators.

3.Trapped air in your water system

Kitchen faucets that pulsate may signal that there is air in your water lines. Air typically becomes stuck at high places in your water supply system, and in order to drive it out, you must temporarily raise the velocity of the water running through the pipes.

The increased water demand caused by turning on all of your faucets generates a rush of water through your pipes, removing the air bubbles from your water supply.

4.The pipes are bursting.

An internal air bladder and an exterior electrical pressure switch control the air pressure within a tank. If either of these is worn out or broken, the pulsing water flow can be caused by water surging in the pipes. The surging can also be caused by cracks and leaks.

5.Bladder pressure tank

The air and water are separated, preventing water from absorbing the air. Surging will occur if the bladder ruptures or tears as a result of exhaustion.

6.The Precharge on the tank is incorrect

Surging may occur if the precharge is out of adjustment with the pressure switch.

7.Malfunctioning Pressure Switch/Nipple

The nipple or pressure switch could be clogged by corrosion, preventing the switch from correctly monitoring pressure.

8.Pressure surge caused by the diverter

When you press the sprayer trigger on your kitchen faucet, the diverter sends water from the faucet spout to the sprayer.

When you squeeze the trigger, the water pressure lowers, allowing the diverter to engage. Sudden interruptions in the water supply can cause pressure to rise and the faucet to pulsate.

Depending on the type and shape of the faucet, there could be a rattling diverter inside the faucet causing your kitchen faucet to pulsate, or a loose washer.

How do you fix pulsating water?

Examine the air pressure in your water tank

To begin, turn off the electrical power to the water pump system. The water should then be drained from both the pump system and the pressure tank. Locate the air bladder valve, which resembles a tire valve.

To test the air pressure, unplug the valve and place a pressure gauge into it. It should be in the range of 20 to 30 pounds per square inch.

Add air to raise the bladder pressure, then expel it by holding the valve open with your fingernail. Then, double-check the air pressure. If the pressure remains between 20 and 30 PSI, the issue isn’t with your air pressure bladder.

The exterior electrical pressure switch should be checked

This will be on the tank’s exterior and will have a gray plastic or metal cover. Remove the cover by unscrewing the nut that holds it in place.

Examine the contacts on the pressure switch terminals. These are the metal disks in the shape of a circle. They must be replaced if they appear worn, deformed, or scorched. You can also use an emery board to polish the surfaces of these contacts.

If you’ve tested both of these things and the water is still pulsing, you may need to remove your pressure switch to fix your water pump.

Unclog the aerator

Turn the silver collar (nut) at the end of your faucet spout counterclockwise to determine if this is the issue (plug the drain holes so nothing goes down the drain).

If it is difficult to turn, wrap a soft cloth around it and grip with channel lock pliers or vice grip being careful not to clamp too tightly. When you remove the aerator, you’ll notice plastic gear and a screen.

Carefully remove both and rinse with water (look for grains of sand or any obstructions). Before reinstalling the aerator, run the water on full blast and alternate between cold and hot water.

If the aerator becomes crusted, simply go to the nearest hardware store and purchase a replacement part. The good news is that aerators are reasonably priced.

Remove the cartridge

If this does not work, you must determine whether the problem is in the mixing valve, which necessitates the removal of the cartridge:

switch off the water under the sink (hot and cold). Remove the erasing side cap or cover from the base of the faucet handle using a sharp screwdriver. Remove the hex screw with a hex wrench (you may need a flashlight for this), then remove the handle. Turn the cap nut (big washer type of nut) using a channel lock wrench to remove the cartridge.

Take out the cartridge and inspect it for debris. Go beneath the sink and carefully turn on the water to flush out any dirt, then turn off the water and reattach the cartridge (it is usually keyed). Make sure the nut is snug but not overly tight.

Replace the handle and double-check the faucet before tightening the set screw. If the pulsating does not stop, replace the cartridge.

Change the Backflow Preventing Valve in the Faucet

Follow this simple step if what is causing your kitchen faucet to pulsate is a faulty valve in your faucet:

  1. Turn off the faucet’s water supply.
  2. To prevent any components from going down the drain, place a towel(s) in the base of the sink(s).
  3. Remove the faucet’s handle. (Only one handle)
  4. If there is only one handle, remove the spout from the faucet.
  5. If you just have one handle, gently remove the cap and any loose parts.
  6. To remove, gently flip the spout side to side while lifting.
  7. On the base of the faucet, you’ll notice a hole with a very little valve where the water comes out to the spout. Remove and replace this valve (a backflow preventer).
  8. Reassemble and test the system.

Remove the air from your pipes

Step 1: Close the main water supply valve.

Locate your main water supply valve and ensure it is totally shut off. Depending on whether you reside in a warm or cool area, it should be either outside or indoors.

Step 2: Turn on all of the faucets.

Turn on every faucet in your home or building (after you’ve turned off the water valve) to help get all the air out of your pipes.

Turn on the faucets enough to allow air to escape, not all the way. Basically, you want to switch on every faucet with a water connection, including your washer and dishwasher. Begin with the closest faucet to the shutoff valve and work your way out to the farthest faucet.

Allow the air to escape by opening each hot and cold faucet halfway. Allow the air to escape by opening each hot and cold faucet halfway. Don’t forget to flush the toilets completely.

Step 3: Connect to the main water supply.

Turn the water valve all the way on after you’ve turned on all of your faucets, including the outside spigots.

Allow the water to run through all of your faucets for 10-15 minutes to ensure that you are witnessing a steady stream of water and that you are no longer hearing any noises coming from your piping.

What Causes Surging Water Pressure?

Your water surging is due to several reasons, here‘s why.

Well Bladder/Waterlogged Tank

If the water is provided by a well, the source of the problem could be a clogged tank or well bladder. The water pump rotor could also be a sign; it will turn on and off periodically even when no water is being used.

The problem is usually solved by turning off the pump and draining the water tank.

Valves and Pipes

Examine the water line that enters your home, as well as any lines that lead away from it. 

Broken or leaking water pipes can cause apparent water pressure surges by reducing the available pressure on the line. Often, this will cause water pressure to decrease, however, If any other water in the same line is turned off, there will be a visible surge.

Sprinkler Systems

Your water surge could mostly be due to the system shutting down at the end of a cycle if you have an automated sprinkler system.

Large systems, in general, necessitate a lot of pressure to feed the lines. Setting the sprinkler system to work in smaller sections rather than watering the entire lawn at once is a good solution.

Bottom Line

If you observe the water from your kitchen faucet pulsating, it is critical that you address the problem as soon as possible because it will cause premature pump failure. After checking to fix the issue and it still pulsates, you should call a professional to fix the issue.