A flow restrictor is a small component within a faucet that saves water by reducing the water flow of the faucet.
Ever since 1994, faucet manufacturers like Delta are required to include flow restrictors in their faucets to meet their local and state plumbing regulations on flow rate.
According to Home Water Works, the average kitchen faucet has a flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute, but it’s possible to switch out flow restrictor for one with a higher or lower flow rate.
Flow restrictors certainly serve an honorable purpose but the low flow rate can drastically slow down everyday kitchen tasks, which can become quite annoying.
So much so that you may feel urged to remove the restrictor from the faucet entirely.
If that’s the case, then we’re here to walk you through removing the flow restrictor from your Delta faucet to increase your water flow.
But before we proceed, flow restrictors are necessary components in kitchen faucets according to state plumbing standards.
Therefore we strongly advise against removing them from your faucet.
However, it is certainly a beneficial to know how to maintain your flow restrictor in good condition.
So read on if you want to know how to remove the flow restrictor from you faucet, and how to clean or replace it.
How To Remove The Flow Restrictor From A Delta Kitchen Faucet
- Close Water Valves – First things first, close the hot and cold water valves which are under the sink. If for whatever reason you can’t close them, then shutting off the water from the property’s main valve will also work. Once the valves are closed, turn on your Delta kitchen faucet (see also ‘How To Remove Kitchen Faucet Without Basin Wrench‘) to drain out the remaining water
- Cover Sink Hole & Aerator – Before moving on to the next step, it would be handy to cover the sink hole with a cloth or rag. This will stop any of the small components from being lost down the sink. Also place some masking tape over the aerator, the small part on the faucet spout’s end. The tape will protect the aerator during the process and preserve its finish.
- Unscrew The Faucet Base – Locate the set screw (often found at the base of the faucet handle) and loosen it using an Allen wrench. These come included in the Delta Repair kit. You may need need to remove the screw cap before unscrewing if your faucet has one.
- Remove The Flow Restrictor – Using slip joint pliers, loosen the aerator by turning it counterclockwise. Once the aerator is loose, you can continue turning it by hand until it reaches the end of the faucet. Then you remove the small rubber fitting, called the rubber washer, from inside the aerator. This will give you access to the flow restrictor (the flat component with a hole in the middle), which you can simply just pull out. When you’ve finished, simply return the rubber washer and reverse the steps until the set screw is reset. Turn on your property’s main water valve, then you’re good to go!
Unclogging Your Flow Restrictor
It’s important to always clean your flow restrictor on a regular basis. Without proper maintenance, flow restrictors are prone to clogging due to a build-up of debris.
And it’s the accumulation of this debris that can drastically reduce your faucet’s flow rate.
If you suspect this to be the case in your faucet, here’s how you clean your flow restrictor:
- Remove The Aerator – You’ll need to repeat the steps above until you have removed the aerator and gained access to the flow restrictor. Then examine the flow restrictor for any debris.
- Flush The Debris – Flush your water line and faucet by passing hot water through for approximately 15 seconds. Then repeat the same step, only with cold water this time. This simple routine will clear out all the small debris from your faucet’s flow restrictor. You can repeat the flushing process to remove larger or to clean impure water.
- Cleaning The Restrictor – Place the restrictor in some diluted vinegar for approximately 20 minutes. Then rinse the restrictor with water before returning into the aerator. Return the component back into its housing inside the faucet, turning it clockwise until it’s secure. Once all the parts have been reassembled, test the water flow of the faucet by turning the water on. If the water is clear, but the flow is still low, then you may need to replace the restrictor.
- Removing Larger Debris – Occasionally, larger foreign objects may clog your restrictor and water lines, dramatically hampering your faucet’s flow rate. When the debris is too large to flush out, you need to first close the necessary water valves before removing all the internal components in the water line. Open the water valves back up and turn the water on for at least 30 seconds or until the debris is dislodged or current becomes completely clear.
The Benefits Of A Water Restrictor
A flow restrictor is not all bad. It’s easy to sometimes overlook the benefits of a flow restrictor, just because your water flow is not up to speed.
These benefits add worth to the restrictor and help to make it the integral component that it is.
Having a well maintain flow restrictor can have benefits such as:
- Saving Wate –: Ordinary taps that don’t have aerators flow at around 6 gallons per minute, whereas a tap with a restrictor flows at around half of that amount.
- Saving Energy – On top of saving water, flow restrictors are also indirectly saving energy. Saving you money on your water and energy bills. That’s two wins in one! Regularly using unheated water can save you even more money too.
- Increases Pressure – Flow restrictor will increase the water pressure of your faucet’s flow without increasing your water consumption. Again saving you money.
- Prevents Splash – Splashing from the faucet is also reduced when a flow restrictor and aerator are installed.
- Doubles as a Filter – Restrictors and aerators both function as filters too, preventing minute foreign objects from entering your water.
So there we have it! Now you know how to remove, replace and clean the flow restrictor in your Delta kitchen faucet.
Although removing it entirely is not recommended, it’s still vital to keep the restrictor in good condition.
And you’re free to swap out the restrictor for one with a higher or lower flow rate.