How Does a Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet Work?

Have you ever wondered how a pull-down kitchen faucet works? I was curious to find out how they work. So, I did some research and wrote this article.

So how does a pull-down kitchen faucet work? A pull-down kitchen faucet works like any other except for the extra feature of being able to detach and pull the spray head downwards allowing greater flexibility and reach into your kitchen sink.

Kitchen faucets have come a long way. The newer kitchen faucets are more futuristic than they’ve ever been. From touch sensors to automatic flow controls, the modern faucets make life easier. Let’s take a closer look at pull-down faucets and how they work. 

A Brief Introduction to Pull-Down Kitchen Faucets

What makes the pull-down faucet so special is the ability to detach the spray head and pull it down into the sink. Loved by millions of homeowners, this feature makes your work at the sink efficient. Combined with touch and motion sensors, it helps you conserve water too. Besides, these ingenious pieces of inventions bring in that added wow factor.

The pull-down kitchen faucet works by allowing the spray head to extend down into the sink. You turn the water on using the single handle as usual. At the same time, you can mix the hot and cold water using the same handle. The water from the handle goes back down to the main controller unit under the sink. Afterward, the water gets pushed back up the pull-down hose and flows out of the spray head.

You can pull the spray head down a few inches to get that extra reach into the sink. This flexibility makes washing dishes a breeze. When you pull the spray head down, you will feel a slight resistance. A weight attached to the hose under the sink causes this resistance. As a result, when you let go of the spray head, it goes back up and snaps into place with the help of a magnet. In some models, it is a spring that retracts the spray head instead of a weight attached to the hose under the sink.

Another feature found in pull-down kitchen faucets is the ability to swivel. Unfortunately, not all models come with the ability to swivel to a complete 360 degrees. The advantage of being able to do so becomes clear when you need more space in the sink. 

The touchless series brings about a technological leap to kitchen faucets. They come equipped with touch sensors and motion detectors to turn the water on or off. The pull-down kitchen faucets are evolving at a rapid rate. As we move into the future, our kitchen faucets are getting smarter too. The next generation kitchen faucets will come with a lot more features than the present ones.

Parts of a Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet Parts

Parts as numbered above:

  1. Spray Holder
  2. The Hose
  3. Spray Assembly (2.2gpm/8.3L)
  4. Spray Assembly (1.5gpm/5.7L)
  5. Weights
  6. Mounting Kit
  7. Escutcheon & Putty
  8. Seal
  9. Escutcheon Cap
  10. Handle Kit
  11. Button & Screw Kit
  12. Cartridge Screws
  13. Cartridge

The above details are for an American Standard Single Control Kitchen Pull-Down Faucet. The other models look similar except for extra variations and sophistication. 

Installing the Fixture

Installing a modern pull-down kitchen faucet is not difficult at all. The most important thing to do at the very beginning is to read the manual. Getting a good understanding of what’s in the box and what goes where is crucial. And, yes you can do it yourself.

Start with the sink. To be precise, start with the number of holes in the sink along with their configuration. In general, most pull-down kitchen faucets need only one hole. To cover the extra holes, most models come with an escutcheon.

Next, pay attention to the hoses. In most cases, there should be three hoses that need to go through the hole. If your pull-down faucet is a touchless model, there will be an extra data cable too. Usually, each end of the hose comes marked indicating where exactly each one needs to go. It’s as simple as inserting one end to the base of the faucet and the other end to the main controller under the sink.

This following video by This Old House should give you a good idea.

Problems Associated with Pull-Down Kitchen Faucets

The modern pull-down kitchen faucets made by the top brands are solid and sturdy. Yet, there are a few common complaints. They are about the spray head not retracting or that it pulls down very hard. And, sometimes you may also hear about lowered water pressure.

Whenever you pull the spray head down, the weight attached to the hose under the sink gets pulled down. This is what makes the spray head to pull back up. Most often, this movement gets interrupted because of some obstruction under the sink. When the path of the hose gets restricted, the spray head would not retract. The quick remedy to this problem is to make sure nothing gets in the way of the hose.

Although rare, another problem you often hear is that the spray head pulls down very hard. This happens when there is a lot of friction between the weight and the hose under the sink. The solution to this problem would be to use oil to lubricate the hose. Using mineral oil seems to be a great solution as it stays lubricated for a long time and doesn’t damage the hose too. 

Some say they experience lower pressure with a pull-down kitchen faucet. This is because pull-down kitchen faucets come with tall arching spouts. But, it only affects installations that already suffer from low water pressure. So, make sure the water flowing into the fixture maintains good pressure to avoid this issue.

Choosing a Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

When choosing a pull-down kitchen faucet, there are a few things to consider. They are:

  • Number of holes in your sink
  • The type of valve in the faucet
  • The finish
  • Technology

Let’s go over them one by one.

Your faucet needs to fit into your sink. So, take a count of the number of holes in your sink. Also, take into consideration how far they are apart from each other. Your new pull-down kitchen faucet is most likely a single-hole type. And, most often they come with escutcheons (a.k.a deck plates) to cover the unused holes in your sink. If they don’t fit your sink, you may have to consider buying them separately.

Check to make sure the pull-down faucet comes with ceramic valves. They last a lot longer and are water-resistant. Not only do they not drip but also they are inexpensive too.

Look for the finish. Try to match it with your kitchen. The most common choices are chrome, nickel, and bronze. Out of these three, chrome is the easiest to maintain and durable. Nickel and bronze are durable too but harder to maintain. 

One more factor to consider when choosing a modern faucet is technology. You can go for a touchless pull-down kitchen faucet to make you efficient at your kitchen sink. These faucets come with motion detectors and touch sensors. Not only do they make your kitchen look great, but they also help you conserve water.

Related Questions

What is the difference between a pull-down and a pull-out faucet? The primary difference is in the way you pull the spray head out. In the pull-down faucet, you pull the spray head down. Whereas, in the pull-out faucet you pull the spray head out towards you.

Why does my pull-down faucet not retract? This is most likely caused by something blocking the hose under the sink. There is a weight attached to the hose. This hose moves with the weight every time you pull the spray head down. So, make sure the hose is free of any obstructions under the sink. See this video.

My pull-down kitchen faucet pulls down very hard. What can I do? First, check to see if the weight under the sink is attached properly and can move freely. In most cases oiling the hose connected to the detachable sprayer should fix the problem. 

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