Many kitchen sinks are equipped with sink sprayers. And while they can be convenient for rinsing out the sink or dishes without washing the rest of the kitchen, they’re prone to issues. Their problematic tendencies vary based on what kind of sink sprayer you have.
If your sink sprayer refuses to shut off and gives you an impromptu shower every time you turn on the water, or you just want to shut it off, we’re here to help. Continue reading for a guide on how to troubleshoot stubborn sink sprayers.
Types Of Sink Sprayers
There are two main types of sink sprayers: the one resting on the sink deck and the other built into your faucet. The type of sprayer you have plays a critical role in how you will fix it. Why? Well, the answer comes down to how they work.
With a sprayer in the sink deck, the water has to redirect from the main faucet over to the sink sprayer when you push the handle in the nozzle. To do this, the faucet uses what is called a diverter.
What Is a Sink Diverter?
With some sink sprayers, a diverter is necessary. The diverter is a valve that redirects the water from the central spout to the sprayer head. Generally, the valve is at the base of the faucet.
Over time, it’ll sustain wear and tear from using the sprayer head. It can become damaged, leading to issues with the sprayer head. For example, the sprayer may leak, or the water will only go to the sprayer. Or, the sprayer won’t work, and the water will only come out of the faucet.
Regardless of what it is, it’s a pretty easy fix if the diverter is the culprit. Valve replacements are generally inexpensive, but it depends on the faucet you have (Ex: Moen, Delta, Kohler).
How Do I Turn Off The Water To My Sink Sprayer?
If you don’t think you want your sink sprayer anymore, perhaps if it’s leaking excessively or you don’t use it, you can cap it off. Replacing the entire sprayer assembly is relatively simple, and you can often purchase replacements at local home improvement stores.
Start by turning off the water supply. If you’d like to remove it, you’ll need to disconnect the hose from the end of the sprayer with pliers, then from the end of the faucet as well. Once you disconnect the sprayer hose, dry the exposed male threads and wrap them with pipe-joint tape.
Twist a threaded brass flair cap onto the threads and tighten them with pliers. Then, loosen the mounting nut underneath the sink holding the sprayer in place. A basin wrench can help you remove the nut if you can’t reach it. Take the mounting nut off of the hose, then pull the sprayer support and sprayer from the hole in the sink.
Cover the hole with a sink hole cover, and then you can turn the water back on.
Fixing A Sink Sprayer That Won’t Turn Off
If your sink sprayer is stuck on, then there are a few ways to go about fixing it. First things first, turn off the water supply lines to the sink via the shut-off valves beneath the sink. If it doesn’t have its valves, you’ll have to turn off the water to the entire house.
When you do that, make sure you let the rest of the household know. Then, return to the faucet and turn it to the “on” position to drain excess water from the supply lines.
Turn Off The Spray Button
Before you start tinkering with the diverter, ensure the culprit isn’t a stuck spray button. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Flat-head screwdriver
- WD-40 or other penetrating oil
Wedge a flat-head screwdriver underneath the handle of the spray nozzle. Try to push down the spray button to turn off the water flow to the sprayer. If it refuses to budge, apply a small amount of WD-40 or penetrating oil to the button.
Press the trigger a few times to move it around the mechanism. If that seems to help loosen the sprayer and causes it to return to its normal position, then you might be done with your fix. If this is the case, turn on the water supply and test the sprayer.
If that doesn’t work, the diverter may be the issue, so continue to the following method.
Troubleshooting Diverter Issues
If the kitchen faucet sprayer is still stuck on or the sprayer itself vibrates, the issue likely lies with the diverter. Before disconnecting parts and examining the faucet, turn the water supply to the sink off again. Drain the water from the supply lines.
Here’s what you’ll need for this method:
- Allen wrench
- Adjustable pliers
- Needle-nose pliers
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Silicone faucet grease
- Replacement diverter (as necessary)
Start by loosening the handle set screw on the faucet with the Allen wrench. Remove the handle to expose the faucet cap. Then, take the cap off by turning it counterclockwise with adjustable pliers. This should expose the faucet cam.
Remove the cam and ball assembly from the faucet. Then, remove the spout by gently rocking it back and forth while simultaneously lifting. This will help prevent damage to the O-rings. Once that is out of your way, locate the diverter at the front of the faucet stem. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, lift it out.
Note: You don’t need to remove the spout if you have a two-handle faucet. Generally, the diverter sits under the cap at the back of the tap. You should be able to remove it by turning it with a flat-head screwdriver.
Soak the diverter in an equal parts mixture of white vinegar and water. You shouldn’t need much, maybe just ¼ cup of each. Allow it to soak for a few hours. Once it’s clean, replace it with the faucet body.
Coat the O-rings with silicone faucet grease, then put the spout back in place using the same technique you used to remove it: rock it back and forth gently while pushing down. Reinstall the cam and ball assembly, then follow up with the faucet cap, turning it counterclockwise by hand until it’s snug. Then, use a pair of adjustable pliers to tighten it.
Replace the faucet handle and reinstall the set screw with the Allen wrench. Turn the water supply valves back on. Test your handiwork for proper operation and leaks.
If the diverter appears worn and beat up when you remove it, it’s usually best to replace it. While you could clean the old one and put it back in the faucet, you may end up with the same issues.