How to Change or Replace the Faucet Aerator on your Sink

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights:

  • Faucet aerators can help you save a lot of water and money per year
  • Fluctuations in your water flow can be caused by clogged aerators
  • You can clean a clogged aerator with an old tooth brush or by soaking it in vinegar
  • You can opt to replace the broken parts of an aerator, just make sure that you know how to put back each piece in its proper place and position
  • The aerator is a tiny component that has the potential to help save you thousands of dollars each year

Using faucet aerators can help you save water and money. These aerators however, need to be cleaned or replaced from time to time.

Water pressure is an important factor especially when it comes to the water flow for your sink. Though it is normal to have slight fluctuations in pressure every now and then, frequent fluctuations can be a big problem. Fluctuations can be caused by the pressure variations in the city water’s supply demands; on the other hand, it can also be caused by a clogged or broken aerator.

Aerator screens can easily get clogged by the buildup of sediment. Broken rubber gaskets and minerals in the water can also prevent the aerator from functioning properly. Although it would be almost impossible for you to change the city water line pressure, cleaning or replacing a clogged aerator to help adjust the water pressure in your faucet is very easy.

Cleaning or replacing an aerator is a simple and inexpensive task, so there’s no need to call a professional unless you want to. Most importantly, this fix can have a huge impact on your home’s water flow and usage.

Cleaning the aerator

A decrease in water pressure could mean that the aerator’s mixer and screen are clogged or dirty. In order to clean them, you need to unscrew the aerator first.

To unscrew the aerator without damaging it, you need to use a pair of pliers or a crescent wrench. Wrap its grooves with electrical tape to avoid scratching the aerator. It might be possible to hand-loosen the device, just make sure to protect yourself first and remember to avoid exerting excessive force so you won’t break it. If the aerator is screwed too tightly, loosen it using the tools and then remove it completely by hand.

As soon as the aerator has been removed, remove any debris, flush it with water, and brush it with an old toothbrush. Re-install the aerator afterwards. For clogs caused by minerals in the water supply, you can unclog it by soaking the aerator in vinegar.

If the aerator still does not work properly after cleaning, it might already be too damaged. So, how do you replace a sink aerator?

Replacing a sink aerator

  • Unscrew the old aerator using the same process mentioned above.
  • Disassemble the aerator.

Although it may look simple, it actually contains several parts which include the following:

  • Aerator body
  • Washer
  • Flow restrictor
  • Mixer
  • Screen
  • Outer housing
  • Bushing

Each small part is very important, so make sure that you do not damage or lose any of it. After the aerator has been removed and disassembled, you can then decide whether you need to buy an entire aerator assembly or just a screen insert replacement.

You can also watch online videos so you can get more information about aerators and so you can see how to replace an aerator.

  • Changing the sink aerator

You can also choose to change an aerator depending on what the problem is. If you do decide to replace the entire aerator, you will only have to unwrap it and screw it onto the faucet.

However, if you choose to replace only the parts of the aerator that has been damaged, you need to know how each piece will fit. Knowing its exact position is very important. Never change the positions of the screen and the flow restrictor as altering the position of these pieces will also alter the way the aerator functions.

Why should you change the aerator?

Changing a broken aerator does actually have some benefits which include:

  • Increasing the water pressure – having a clogged aerator will give you a low pressure on your faucets, but replacing it with a new one will correct the problem and put the pressure back to normal.
  • It can help you save water and money – changing and aerator is cost-efficient and practical. This is because it will help you save as much as 80 percent of your water consumption.  You can even choose an aerator that has a gallons-per-minute flow rate that is ideal for your own needs.

On average, faucets come with a 2.2 gallons-per-minute aerator, but there are products that have lower flow rates. You can purchase ones that have a 1 or a 0.5 gallon-per-minute aerator that will help you save even more money and water.

Decreasing the flow rate through an aerator does not mean that you will no longer have a steady stream of water. As a matter of fact, most people do not notice any difference when it comes to their water use and pressure. Replacing your aerators with more efficient ones can actually help you save thousands of gallons of water per year.

Never ignore your sink faucet aerator again!

Though the aerator is but a small part of your household fixtures, it is not one that you should take lightly. This tiny component has the capability to help you save thousands of dollars in expenses by lowering the overall water consumption in your household.

If you experience any difficulties when it comes to cleaning or replacing your aerator, you should contact a professional plumber right away.

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