We all have these little devices on our faucets, but most of us know little about them. Here is a bit of information about the importance and usage of faucet aerators.
Imagine getting a gushing waterfall every time you turn on your tap! This is what would happen without aerators, and you probably wouldn’t enjoy it much. Aerators distribute the flow of water evenly, causing it to emerge from the faucet in droplet form. This helps you avoid wasting water as well as reducing splashing. We measure the water flow rate in GPM, which stands for “gallons per minute.” An aerator regulates and controls the flow rate of your faucet, saving you money on your water bill.
It’s easy to install an aerator on your faucet to control water consumption. This device mixes air into the water in an evenly-distributed fashion. The standard aerator produces a steady stream of water from one opening, but these days you can also find aerators that produce a spray of water from many holes. If your faucet was installed more than ten years ago, you will need a faucet aerator for it. Installed at the faucet’s tip, an aerator can considerably reduce the water flow rate, bringing it down to 2 GPM, or to 1.5 GPM, or even as low as 1 GPM. This is assuming that the water pressure supplied to your house is at normal levels.
Choose an aerator that is suited to the water flow rate that you expect or would like. The most common sizes on the market allow water-saving flow rates of 2.2, 1.5, 1.0 and 0.5 GPM. You can also find aerators for flow rates of 2.5 to 5 GPM too. The size you should look for will vary according to what you need and where they will be installed. Kitchen faucets need the highest flow rates because you use them to fill pots and other vessels, as well as for washing dishes. 2.2 gallons per minute is a typical flow rate for a kitchen faucet.
If your water is very hard or you live somewhere with high levels of precipitation, you can expect that your aerator will get clogged sometimes. You will need to clean out the aerator simply by rinsing it, but first it’s important to know exactly how to remove it. This is a simpler job than repairing a dripping faucet.
- You will need tape and pliers.
- Wrap tape around the gripping surface of your pliers. The tape acts as a cushion to prevent the finish of your faucet from getting scratched.
- Use the pliers to unscrew the aerator from the tip of the faucet.
- There are several parts inside the aerator that you should familiarize yourself with before you take them apart for cleaning.
Here are the parts, from the tip up:
- Body of aerator
- Outside housing
- Flow restrictor
You needn’t be a plumbing expert to fix your own aerator, but it is important to pay attention to the details.
If you’re on your way to the store to buy one of there, here is what you should think about:
- You want to make sure you’re getting an aerator that will fit your faucet. Bring the old one along with you for comparison.
- Be sure to note the make and model of your faucet before you go. In some cases it’s enough just to match up the size, but some manufacturers make faucets that only work with specific models of aerators.
- You may find both single and double swivel aerators in the store. You can also find stationary aerators that offer either a simple flow or bubble stream.
- Some aerators also come equipped with a shut-off valve or with a water filter attachment. There are even some anti-clog models available that are designed to resist clogging.
All of these options can lead to confusion, so it’s important to do a bit of research before you make a final decision. Look at all of the available options and be completely sure that you know your own requirements. If your faucets don’t currently have aerators, you should consider installing them right away so that you can save money on your next water bill. Good luck!