How Does a Sink Sprayer Work?

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If your faucet has stopped working after using the sprayer, it may be because the faucet diverter is stuck.
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If your faucet has stopped working after using the sprayer, it may be because the faucet diverter is stuck. There are other possible causes of sprayer problems, including a plugged nozzle or a kinked hose, but most problems stem from the sink faucet diverter valve. The sprayer is a small but important part of any kitchen sink, and knowing how it works will help you if problems arise.

The Faucet Diverter

A sink sprayer is made up of three basic parts — the sink faucet diverter valve, the spray nozzle and the hose. The diverter is usually located inside the faucet. When you press the trigger on the spray nozzle, the water flowing into your faucet is diverted to the sprayer. The water travels from the faucet through the hose and out the spray nozzle.

If the faucet is shut off, you won't be able to get water from your sprayer. This is because the sink faucet diverter valve can only work when there is enough water pressure to divert to the sprayer. You can think of the sprayer as a second spout — if you turn off the faucet, you're also turning off the sprayer. A diverter can get dirty or stuck over time, resulting in a kitchen faucet stuck on spray mode or with no spray at all.

Spray Nozzle and Hose

While the diverter is hidden inside the faucet, the hose and spray nozzle are visible. One end of the hose is connected to the faucet through a copper tube on the bottom of the faucet body, while the other end is connected to the spray nozzle. When you push the button or trigger on the spray nozzle, water is diverted from the faucet, through the hose and out the nozzle. This causes water pressure in the faucet to drop, and you'll notice there is very little to no water coming from the faucet while you use the sprayer.

Like a faucet spout, the spray nozzle has an aerator at the end of it. This aerator causes the spray effect of the water. Without this, the sprayer would produce a steady stream of water, much like you get from the faucet. If the spray seems off or the water sprays in random directions, it's usually because the aerator is filled with sediment and needs to be cleaned. Slight changes in sprayer water pressure can also be caused by a dirty nozzle or a kink in the hose.

Read More: How to Fix a Faucet Aerator

Common Problems with Sink Sprayers

Most problems with sprayers are due to the diverter. If the faucet diverter is stuck, problems can range from little to no water pressure from the sprayer to a pulsating sprayer. You can also run into a problem with the kitchen faucet stuck on spray mode or your faucet stopped working after using the sprayer. These are all common issues when the faucet diverter is stuck.

When you develop problems like a kitchen faucet stuck on spray mode, you can clean or replace the diverter. This will require turning off the water to the faucet and removing the spout. Then you can remove the diverter from the faucet stem with a pair of pliers. The diverter can be rinsed with soap and water, but it's often better to just replace the diverter to avoid the risk of having to take your faucet apart again.

Read More: How to Remove a Moen Kitchen Faucet Diverter

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Gary Sprague

Gary Sprague

Gary Sprague is a retired master plumber who now works as a writer. He lives with his family in Maine.