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Pressure is lacking in Delta single-handle faucets

QuestionOur upstairs bathroom was remodeled perhaps two years ago. Prior to that time, the hot water stream in the bathroom sink flowed properly. Since the new sink was installed during remodeling, the hot water flow is scant, and it takes more than a minute to bring in warm water. The new faucet is a Delta single-handle center-set faucet. The turn-off valve under the sink is fully open.

We have no idea why the new faucet fails to produce a full stream. All other faucets throughout the house appear to be functioning properly. We have had a soft water tank for several years and it was inspected by the installer and found to be working properly.

Any ideas? We have no way of telling a plumber what needs fixing. I enjoy reading your articles and thank you for the advice you provide.

AnswerThanks for your kind words and I'm happy that you enjoy the column. Let's see if we can solve your plumbing mystery. I suspect that we can get to the root of this problem without calling in a plumber and you'll be able to handle the project yourself.

My guess is that your bathroom originally had a two-handle faucet and the faucet stems used seated washers and screws to the hold the washers in place. When the faucet was removed, no one checked to see if the screws (or washers) were still attached to the stem bottoms. I'm just speculating, but I assume that the screw on the hot water side came off and dropped into the supply line. Every time you turn on the hot water, the water pressure pushes the screw up into the faucet's water outlet, restricting the flow.

This situation is pretty easily fixed. First turn off the water to the faucet so you can remove the hot water supply line from the basin's inlet to the shut-off valve. Have a bucket ready and drain the water from the line starting with the basin side first. After the line is removed and drained, check to see if there is a screw or other foreign material in the line or bucket.

If you don't find a screw, it's possible that it is in the shut-off valve. To check, put a bucket under the shut-off valve, place a rag over the valve's opening, and turn the water on and off fast. See if the screw appears or pops out. Do this a couple of times if you don't find the screw on the first try.

If you still don't find the screw, then follow the instructions for your new faucet to remove the handle and cartridge from the topside of the faucet to reveal two small holes: one for hot, one for cold. Poke a piece of rebar tie wire about 14 inches long down the hole on the hot side to see if it pushes out the screw or any other foreign material that may have lodged there. Finally, reassemble your faucet and remember to turn on the water supply underneath.

Also, I want to point out that even with clear lines, it may take a little time for hot water to travel from the water heater to the faucet, depending on where your water heater is located in your home in relation to the faucet.

Since this is basically a guessing game on my part, I am curious to know what you learned after trying these solutions, so please let me know. Your discoveries may help other readers down the road. Good luck solving your mystery plumbing malfunction!

Copyright © 2004, 2006, & 2008 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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