DIY #2: Fix kitchen sink side-sprayer

When I moved into the house, the sprayer on the sink, called a ‘side-sprayer’ if you’re looking to buy one, wasn’t working. The three most common problems, I learned, are the sprayer nozzle being broken or clogged up, the sprayer hose being clogged up, or a little piece called the ‘diverter’ being broken or clogged up. More on that little piece at the end of the post.

First, I purchased a new sprayer from a home improvements store. I also purchased a sprayer hose, separately since I didn’t know which I needed.

Basin wrench


I also purchased a ‘basin wrench’, a fairly cheap tool that allows you to take off a nut in a tight spot where you can’t use a wrench or pliers.


2 Turn off water



The next move is to turn off the water to the sink. My sink has knobs underneath, in the back of the cabinet. Yours might have in-line shut-offs or you might even need to shut the water off somewhere else. Turn the knobs clockwise (right) to turn off.


3 Take off spray nozzle


Then I took off the sprayer nozzle. You should be able to hand-screw this off the hose. If not, use a channel-lock or adjustable wrench over a piece of cloth or tape to remove it, so you don’t scratch it. Try cleaning it out, replace it, and see if it works. If not – that’s not the problem, go on.


4 Find connection


Now you’ve got to get under the sink and find where the end of the sprayer hose connects to the bottom of the faucet. if it’s like mine, it’s very tight under there. The connection is about where the spotlight is in this photo. The drain pipes are in front of it and the sink basins are on either side.


5 Place Basin wrench


This is where the basin wrench comes in. Look at the picture on the package, which will tell you which way to bend the head to either take a nut off or tighten it. You want to take it off. Now you’ll have to get the device up into the area where the hose is and attached it to the lowest nut on the hose.


6 Release hose


Unscrew the nut and release the hose. Water will drain out of it.


7 Pull hose out of sink



Pull the hose out of the top of the sink. Now reverse the process, using your new hose. Insert the new hose through the hole, reverse the basin wrench, and tighten the nut. Put the new sprayer head on, turn on the water, and see if everything works. If it does, let the water run for a while and check for leaks, and you’re done!


8 Remove faucet nut


But what if the sprayer still doesn’t work? Next move is to change out the diverter, which is a little device inside the faucet. Use a channel-lock to unscrew the top nut on the faucet (your technique may vary depending on what kind of faucet you have). Also note that I should have wrapped the nut with cloth before using the channel-locks on it.

9 Diverter


Inside, you’ll see a little notched device called a diverter which sends the water out to the sprayer.


10 Remove diverter



Use something flat (I used a nickle) to unscrew the diverter and remove it.


11 Diverter A




Each brand and layout of faucet has its own diverter, so the best bet is to take it to a plumbing supply store and show it to them to get the correct one (if you need a new one). You might be able to use the old one if it’s just gummed up and not broken. Try soaking it in vinegar and a little dish soap first, re-install it, and see if the sprayer works. If not, go buy a new one (mine was $11.00). Don’t screw it in there too tight, just firmly, or you may cut off water to the faucet.


12 Sprayer Works

Good luck – hopefully one of these things will work for you!