What is an Aerator and Why Do I Need One?
The faucet aerator is something every DIY plumber should know about. Let’s take a look at what aerators are, why you may want them in your home, and what kind would be best for you should you decide to buy one.
What Are Aerators and What Do They Do?
Aerators are small parts placed on the end of faucets. Typically they are small mesh screens that break up the flow of water into multiple small streams, adding air in between.
By diluting the water stream with air, aerators significantly reduce the volume of water flowing from your faucet. They do this while maintaining the feeling of a high-pressure flow. Aerators also reduce splashing in sinks.
Why Would I Get One?
People buy and use aerators in their homes for two main reasons: to save water and to save money.
First and foremost, aerators are master water-savers! They are one of the most environmentally friendly plumbing parts on the market. In fact, according to the EPA, installing faucet aerators is the single most effective water-saving plumbing change you can make!
Of course, saving water is not only great for the environment – it’s great for your wallet too! By reducing your monthly water usage, aerators can easily and consistently lower your utility bills.
What Aerator Should I Choose?
Not all aerators are the same, so keep the following factors in mind when searching for your faucet aerator.
Male/Female Threads: Aerators come in “male” and “female” varieties. Which one you need depends on your faucet. If your faucet has threads on the outside, then it is “male”, and you should use a “female” aerator. If your faucet has threads on the inside, it is “female”, and you should use a “male” aerator.
Size: Aerators typically come in one of two sizes: regular (usually 15/16” Male or 55/64” Female) and junior (usually 13/16” M or 3/4” F). You can measure your faucet, or use a simple shortcut using coins. If your faucet is roughly the size of a nickel, it needs a regular-size aerator. If your faucet is roughly the size of a dime, it will use a junior-size aerator.
Use: Different aerators restrict water flow to differing levels, typically 2.2 gallons-per-minute (gpm) for a “standard” aerator. Certain aerators will be more/less appropriate depending on what task you’ll be using the faucet for. Lower-volume aerators (e.g. 0.5-1.0 gpm) are perfect for washing hands/dishes, while higher-volume (e.g. 2.2 gpm, or no aerator at all) are better for tasks like filling large pots.
Style: There are three main aerator styles: aerated (standard spray of air mixed with water), spray (miniature shower spray), and laminar (non-splashing solid stream). Again, what style you want depends on the main use of your faucet.
Goals: Depending on how much water want to save, you have many aerator options to choose from. Check out our whole line of ecofriendly aerator options at Danco.com, from the extreme water-saving 0.25 GPM aerator to the Microban-protected 1.5 GPM option.
Make sure to regularly replace or clean your faucet aerators, as they can become clogged with silt and other debris over time. A simple brush and rinse will usually do the trick, though sometimes a multiple-hour soak in a vinegar-water mixture will be necessary.
A faucet aerator is a device, usually a small mesh screen made of metal or plastic, that is used to conserve both water and energy, and reduce the amount of splashing water coming from the faucet. The aerator is typically attached to the end of the faucet, allowing water to flow freely through the mesh screen. As the water flows through, the aerator breaks the stream of water into multiple smaller streams, allowing air to combine with the water, creating a more consistent flow of water while reducing the amount of splashing that occurs.
Both energy experts and experts on water agree that using a faucet aerator is one of the easiest and cheapest, yet effective means of reducing water consumption and saving energy.
How Much Water Does a Faucet Aerator Save?
Installing a low-flow aerator will save both water and energy by reducing the flow of water from the faucet without reducing the water pressure. A 1.0-gallon per minute (gpm) aerator can save more than 50 percent of the water you use vs. a standard 2.2 gpm faucet aerator. You can save anywhere from 2 to 16 gallons of water per day based on the aerator you choose to install.
A mesh screen aerator allows the water pressure to feel normal to the user even though less water is actually being used. It does this through simple aeration of the water flowing from the faucet. Unlike many other low flow devices, it does not restrict the flow of water or reduce the water pressure.
Faucet aerators also help to consume energy by reducing the level of hot water consumption as well. By reducing the amount of hot water being used, the water heater is used less frequently, saving both energy and money.
Are Faucet Aerators Universal?
Just like there are many varieties of types and sizes of faucets on the market, there is also a wide variety of aerators available. They do, however, come in two basic types…stationary and swivel.
Just as the name implies, a stationary aerator is one that is simply attached to the end of the faucet and does not move. This is one of the most popular types and most basic forms of residential aerators. It is non-splashing and the water flow is soft to the touch. The water stream is also typically larger and whiter than with swivel aerators.
The swivel style aerator is the second most common design and allows the user to direct the water flow in different directions. A user will retract or pull on the aerator in order to make this happen. This style comes in beautiful designs that have become extremely popular in the tap systems of modern homes.
It’s important to clean or replace your faucet aerators on a regular basis regardless of the style you choose. They can become clogged with silt and debris over time. If a simple brush and rinse doesn’t work, a multi-hour soak in a water and vinegar mixture may be necessary.
For more help deciding which aerator is right for your home, head to our Find Parts section today! Once you’ve selected an aerator, make sure to check out our helpful how-to guide: Installing a Sink Faucet Adapter and Aerator.