Why Has My Touch Faucet Stopped Working?

Touch faucets are a huge convenience. If your hands are dirty, sticky, or otherwise messy using an elbow or wrist to turn on the water is quite the luxury! It also helps slow the spread of germs, and who couldn't use that these days? But what happens if it unexpectedly stops working? Is this something you can resolve on your own? We've done some research and have some answers for you.

There are several reasons why a touch faucet stops working. The following explanations could be the culprit.

  • The battery on the touch sensor has died
  • The faucet requires a reset
  • The aerator could be malfunctioning
  • Your sink could be clogged
  • The solenoid valve might be bad
  • The handle might not be in the "open" position

Now that you know a few of the reasons why your touch faucet might have stopped working, let's discuss each area in more detail and go over some troubleshooting steps. We'll answer some other questions you might have as well. Continue scrolling!

A cropped shot of a man washing his hands in a bathroom sink, Why Has My Touch Faucet Stopped Working?

Touch Faucet Stopped Working - Here's How to Troubleshoot

Though our list isn't all-encompassing, these reasons are the easiest to resolve. Always remember to read the manufacturer's information and consult a professional when the issue is beyond your scope of knowledge. We wouldn't want to see you with a permanently ruined faucet or any harm to your person.

The battery on the touch sensor has died

The number one reason a touch faucet has stopped working is relatively simple -- the battery might be dead. Many touchless faucets come with a sensor light that might flash a certain number of times when the battery is low or shine in a certain way when all is functioning normally.

If the faucet stops working, consult your user's manual to find out how to replace the battery or judge from the indicator light what is happening. Follow the user's guide and replace your batteries. Most of the time, this will resolve your issue.

View these batteries on Amazon.

The faucet requires a reset

Sometimes your faucet just needs a good reset. As with other electronics, a simple power cycle (turning off and back on) can resolve a wealth of technical difficulties. Most reset buttons are located on or around the battery compartment. If you have one of the few touchless faucets wired directly into AC power, the reset process will be different. Consult your manufacturer's information to find out how according to your faucet type.

The aerator could be malfunctioning

Though our gut reaction is to assume the touch portion of the faucet isn't working, the issue could lie in the aerator, which is the screen just inside the mouth of your faucet. These tiny screens can get clogged by mineral deposits from your water and might keep the water from flowing. Remove your aerator and see if the water runs and the faucet operates normally. If it does, soak your aerator in vinegar for a few hours or consider replacing it completely.

View this aerator on Amazon.

Your sink could be clogged

If you're not getting water when touching your faucet, the plumbing could be clogged. To test this, shut off the hot and cold valves under the sink then remove the supply hoses. Bring in a bucket and turn on the valves one at a time to see if you have water coming out. If you don't, you'll need a plumber to resolve your issue.

The solenoid valve might be bad

A solenoid is a piece of equipment that moves electric current to a starter. Many electrical gadgets use a solenoid to move the current and deliver the charge from the battery to its intended source. If your touch faucet stops working and you try everything else, then the solenoid likely needs replacing. This isn't a project for the novice DIY adventurer, however, and we recommend consulting a professional. At the very least contact the manufacturer of the faucet.

The handle might not be in the "open" position

A few touchless faucets have a handle, similar to an "on" and "off" water valve you'd see on a traditional faucet. For the touch function to work, these handles need to be in the "open" position. This could be your issue if your faucet is outfitted with one of these handles.

How does a touch faucet work?

People have a characteristic called capacitance. Capacitance is the capacity for the human body to carry a small electric charge -- a value generally measured in a unit called farads. Capacitors store electrical energy. This charge interacts with the touch sensor to activate it. It's the same touch that is recognized on touch screens, touch lamps, and other appliances activated by touch. These touch sensors know when they are and are not being charged due to the presence of your electrical charge or lack thereof.

How long do touch faucets last?

As with any product, the length of time a product lasts depends on the maker and the materials involved. Since there are more parts involved in touch faucets, they likely will not last as long as a traditional faucet without needing repairs. Thankfully, the repairs on a touchless faucet are usually rather uncomplicated, and the hardware itself can last almost as long as a traditional sink. For reference, a traditional sink, depending on the material, can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years.

Does my touch faucet have a warranty?

Most touch faucet's come with a manufacturer's warranty, with some Delta models coming with a lifetime warranty. However, most warranties are only good for the purchaser. So if you purchased your home with a touchless faucet already installed, the warranty likely will not apply should you have an issue with your touchless faucet. Always review the warranty terms and conditions to ensure you have a good one.

If you wish to have a warranty and one is not offered, you generally have the option of purchasing a warranty through whatever home store you purchase the faucet from, as most of these places offer warranties or extended warranties.

How do you fix a leaky touch faucet?

If your touch faucet is leaking it could be caused by a defective solenoid valve or debris blocking the solenoid valve. You can replace the solenoid or just take the housing apart and clean the valve, freeing it of the potential obstruction.

Alternatively, there could be an issue with the aerator. Try removing the aerator to see if the dripping still occurs. If it does not, try replacing or cleaning the aerator.

If neither of these methods helps to resolve your issue, consult with the manufacturer or a plumber to schedule a repair. Want to read more about leaky faucets and their causes? Check out "Why Do Bathroom Faucets Leak."

Can you bypass a touch faucet?

You can bypass a touch feature on most touch faucets. Some come with a simple handle you can use to turn the feature on or off. If your model doesn't have this, you can generally bypass the feature by removing the solenoid valve, essentially turning the faucet into a regular one. If neither of these options will work for your touch faucet, reach out to the professionals for guidance, or consider installing a traditional faucet if the touch feature is no longer desired.

How do you reset a Moen touchless faucet?

To reset a Moen touchless faucet, first, disconnect the power cable. This will either be a battery pack cable or an AC adapter. Next, disconnect the data cable from the control box. Wait 60 seconds with both cords unplugged.

Above the sink, make sure you have a three-foot clearing in front of the sensor. Below the sink, go ahead and plug the data cable back in. Make sure the plug is secure and pushed all the way into the control box. Next, plug the power cable back in, ensuring it is pushed all the way in and secure as well. Give the faucet a moment or two to finish cycling. Your faucet should be reset. Give it a try.

View this Moen faucet on Amazon.

In Closing

There are many reasons why a touch faucet might stop working, and many of those reasons are an easy fix. Hopefully, any issues you might experience are easily resolved. Don't forget that you might still have a warranty in place should issues arrive, and never hesitate to contact the manufacturer for help.

Thinking of replacing your bathroom sink? Read our post "Do Bathroom Faucets Come With Drains?" for some valuable information.

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