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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Dribbling sprayer a big concern

Leon Frechette Leon A. Frechette

Q. Dear Mr. Frechette: We have a single-lever kitchen faucet with a sprayer attachment. The sprayer does not work properly: it dribbles. I have replaced the sprayer head with no better results. With the sprayer head off, water comes out of the hose but not forcefully. I cannot find a brand name on the faucet. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. – Al C., Mead

A. Al, I’m sorry to hear about your dribbling kitchen sprayer; let’s see if we can rectify the situation. I’m familiar with the situation because we had the same problem with our own sprayer.

Since you have already removed the sprayer head from the hose and are getting some water, I don’t believe the problem is with the sprayer head. However, for those who have not done this test, remove the sprayer head, point the hose toward the drain, and turn on the water. If water comes out of the hose, the sprayer is probably clogged with mineral deposits. Soak the head in a mix of equal parts of CLR (available in home improvement stores) and hot water for about two minutes. Rinse in cold water and repeat as necessary. Reinstall the sprayer head and give it a try.

If water doesn’t shoot out of the hose or is not forceful as in the case of Al’s sprayer, then likely the diverter valve is clogged with mineral deposits or rust or is simply worn out.

To access the diverter valve, first turn off the water to the faucet and open the hot and cold faucets to drain out any water. Next remove the faucet spout by removing the handle and, depending on the brand, the threaded knurled-edge escutcheon cap or retaining ring. Near the base and in the front, locate a small spring-loaded device sticking out from the faucet body. This is the diverter valve that senses a change in water pressure and sends water to the spray nozzle when the trigger is pressed.

Pull the diverter valve and clean the area around both the valve and where it sits using a small brush dipped in vinegar. However, if you have gone so far as to remove the diverter valve, I recommend that you replace it with a new one. In your case where you don’t know the brand, take the diverter valve to a home center so you can match the new one up to the old or contact a plumber’s supply house that will offer more choices. Before reinstallation, make sure the area is completely clean of any debris or deposits. Al, be sure to let me know the outcome.