Your faucet sputters when you turn it on because there is air trapped in the line. This is a very common plumbing issue in older homes and generally isn’t an emergency.
By running the line, you’ve released the trapped air. So, in most cases, you don’t need to do anything about a single incident of sputtering. However, if your faucet keeps sputtering, you may want to look into this issue, as the trapped air might indicate something else is going on. Here are the potential causes of sputtering and what you should do about them.
1. Your Aerator or Valve Cartridge
There are two parts of the faucet itself that might cause sputtering. The aerator is actually supposed to add air to the water, which helps us use less water. But, when it’s clogged, it can cause outright sputtering. You can take off the aerator and soak it in vinegar to clean it, then return it to the faucet.
The valve cartridge is also responsible for the flow of water through the faucet, and when it malfunctions, it can cause consistent sputtering. A plumber can remove and replace this part for you.
2. Water Shut-Offs
When you get plumbing work done, the professionals will often shut off the water in order to safely install things or work with the pipes. It’s normal for some amount of water to get into the system while the water is off, which causes sputtering once it has turned back on. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
3. The City’s Water Supply
Similarly to how your plumber might cause a bit of air in the pipes during their work, the city’s own maintenance of their portion of the plumbing lines may cause water. Small, occasional sputters from this is normal and also nothing to worry about.
4. Very Low or High Temperatures
It may seem odd, but both very low and very high-water temperatures can cause sputtering in your pipes. Low temperatures cause water to approach freezing, and this can pull air into the pipes. High temperatures mean that there is more demand on water in your area than normal. This demand causes the water to move quickly out of the city’s supply lines, which can also draw water into the lines.
Sputtering that only occurs when the temperature is either very low or high is not usually something you need to worry about. But this is very different from having the sputtering only happen at a certain temperature of water, which we will cover next.
5. Water Heater Issues
Of all of the reasons your faucet might sputter, this is the one with the most potential to be serious. If you notice that your faucet only sputters when you’re asking for hot water, that means the air is likely being introduced in the place the warm water is coming from–the water heater. This could signal a problem with the heater. You should call a professional to handle this issue as there are many safety concerns to investigating and repairing a water heater. The water in the tank can be incredibly hot, and if something is wrong, it can leak out.
A professional plumber in Martinez can help you figure out why your faucet sputters when you turn it on.