Why Is My Kitchen Sink Sputtering?


A sputtering kitchen sink or faucet is often caused by air in the pipes. If you experience sputtering in your faucet once in a while, this could be the problem, and it’s probably harmless. Other times, aerators get clogged and may cause sputters too. However, when the sputtering is continuous, there may be other severe issues in your plumbing.

Why Does a Sink Sputter When You Turn It On?

Let’s look at some causes of sink sputtering when you turn it on.

Clogged aerator

A faucet aerator helps filter tap water and get rid of all the dirt and debris. After working for a long time, all the dirt, debris, and other sediments collect and clog it. When this happens, the faucet will sputter when you turn it on. 

Debris passing through your pipes increases due to material that’s dislodged from the plumbing joints and water main breaks. If the aerator is the cause of sputtering, cleaning it out each month can help prevent this issue. 

If you need to remove yours, all you need to do is turn it counter-clockwise. Use clean, soapy water to clean the aerator. Make sure you rinse it before you place it back into the faucet.

Damaged valve cartridge

If cleaning the aerator doesn’t work, there may be an issue with the valve cartridge on the faucet. Manufacturers make different designs of valve cartridges, so yours may not be the same as another. Despite their different designs, valve cartridges can look similar.

If you have an owner’s manual, go through it and learn how to remove the particular one you have and replace it with a new one. To ensure you get the right one, bring your old one to the hardware store so you can get a suitable replacement.

Air in the pipes

One of the most common causes of a sputtering sink is air in the water pipes. During the winter, air bubbles frequently form in the water due to freezing temperatures. They can also form on other occasions, such as during summer heatwaves when water is in high demand, and it’s moving a lot to meet people’s needs. Bubbles can also be formed during hydrant maintenance when silt is stirred up. 

Here’s a simple test to check whether there’s air in your water lines. 

  • Fill a glass with water
  • Check whether the water first clears at the top or the bottom. If it clears at the bottom first, there’s air in your pipes. 

Most times, sputtering caused by air bubbles in your water lines is a temporary issue that can be fixed by flushing the cold water taps in your home. If there’s more than one sink sputtering, you could have damaged plumbing. Your main water supply lines could have a breakage, so contact a professional to inspect your main lines.

Faulty water heater

If you’ve cleaned your aerators, replaced valve cartridges, and checked main lines yet there’s still sputtering, it’s time to call your plumber. Your water heater could be malfunctioning.

Your water heater manufacturer has installed safety devices to ensure it operates safely, so rarely will it cause a risk to you. However, your hot water could be overheating, and your tank could explode If it isn’t repaired fast.

Will Sink Stop Sputtering Naturally?

No, your sink will not stop sputtering unless the problem is identified and fixed.

How is a sputtering sink fixed?

We already know that sputtering faucets are most commonly caused by air getting expelled from pipes. Some solutions to this, such as bleeding your system, are straightforward. Here’s one of the simplest solutions for fixing a sputtering sink. 

  • Turn on all faucets in your home but make sure they’re only at the half turn.
  • Allow the water to run for two minutes to let the air escape.
  • Flush your toilets to get rid of any air in your pipes.

Below is a more effective solution to bleeding your water pipes.

  • Turn off your main water valve. Check the pipe branching into your home from the main water line along your street. If you follow that line into your basement, you will see the valve next to a meter. Tighten that valve to shut the water off.
  • Next, you will need to go around your house and open all the faucets. Water will come out, but it will empty soon. 
  • Once the water has run out, go back and turn on the main water valve. Remember to turn all the faucets off again.

The sputtering should stop after this process.

Is it Bad to Have Air in Your Water Pipes?

You shouldn’t have air in your water pipes since it can cause corrosion and rust. When your pipes rust, they will weaken. In addition, rust can leave sediments in the water. When the water supply to your home is cut off for some time during system maintenance, air can enter and get trapped in your system. 

When there’s air in your water pipes, it can damage your plumbing system. Get in touch with a professional plumber to help you resolve the issue. Pretty soon, there will be a consistent flow of water in your sink. 

What Is an Airlock in Pipes?

An airlock is a problem that comes up when there are pockets of air in your pipes. This air prevents the water from getting to your fixtures. Airlocks cause low water pressure in the pipes and may ultimately prevent the water from getting to your faucet. Unless the problem is solved, you will not be able to utilize your water line efficiently. 

You can DIY an airlock by simply connecting a hosepipe to your kitchen faucet’s cold and hot taps. Run the cold tap and allow the water to flow through the pipe into the hot water tap. This will get rid of the air. However, you might require the assistance of an expert plumber to resolve the issue for you.

Contact White’s Plumbing Today

If your sink has recently started sputtering when turned on, you may have one of the issues that were mentioned above. If you are located in North Carolina, contact White’s Plumbing of Youngsville to have your sputtering sink fixed.

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