Ready for some DIY plumbing this weekend? Faucet aerators are small appliances installed on the end of faucets. They help with the efficiency of your faucet by introducing air flow into the water stream. Adding or replacing a faucet aerator is a small, inexpensive way to reduce water use and save money on your water and heating bills.
Parts of Faucet Aerators
There are several parts to an aerator that all work together. An aerator is comprised of a washer, a flow restrictor, mixer, bushing, a screen, outer housing, and an aerator body. The screen is where you will likely find your flow problem.
Replace Or Clean?
The biggest clue your faucet will give you is low water pressure. If it seems like the flow of water has changed over time, check your faucet aerator first. Sediment and dirt can build up on the aerator screen. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will need to replace the aerator. Frequently, aerators can be cleaned and reinstalled. However, you will need to remove the aerator in order to find out.
How To Clean Faucet Aerators
First things first: get your supplies ready. The only real supplies required are a pair of pliers and a shop rag. Many faucet aerators are hand-tight, so you may not even need the pliers.
If you determine that you DO need the pliers, we suggest putting the shop rag around the aerator so the pliers won’t scratch the surface. That way, if you determine that it simply needs cleaning, you haven’t ruined it with the pliers on the metal.
Unscrew the aerator, and check for buildup. The dirt and goo most often collects in the mixer and the screen. Cleaning this is pretty simple: rinse it off with a little white vinegar (1 cup), baking soda (1/2 teaspoon), and water. Then scrub off the really stuck-on stuff with an old toothbrush. You should be good to go! Reassemble the unit, and screw it back on the faucet.
How To Replace Faucet Aerators
If you find, after taking the aerator off, that it’s too far gone – corroded, stripped, etc. – it’s time to get a new one. Faucet aerators are inexpensive, and can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Once you have the new unit ready, gather up your essentials and get to work. Faucet aerators should screw on to the faucet head without too much effort, but be careful not to overtighten it. Start with a strong hand-tightening, and then test. If it’s leaky or otherwise not working properly, use the pliers – again with the rag – and gently tighten the aerator down.
There you have it! a very inexpensive, simple repair that can save you money and save water.
We are here for you! If you have trouble, give us a call. We’re happy to offer you advice on what to do. We are available 24/7 to help you with your plumbing emergencies.
Westside: (Beaverton, Tigard, Lake Oswego) 503-620-9111
Eastside: (Troutdale, West Linn, Gresham) 503-253-0030