What is a faucet aerator you ask (or maybe you don’t!)? Well, if you had asked me about a year ago I wouldn’t have had a clue. I would have guessed that it probably had something to do with filtering water to make it cleaner for drinking. Or maybe had to do with making the water bubbly – aerator equals air, right? So, I would have been wrong with both guesses!
On one of my many scouting missions throughout my house to look for ways we could be more environmentally friendly I zoned in on our water faucets. It should have been a more obvious place to look for a way to be greener but we completely take water for granted (although not anymore!). You walk into the bathroom to brush your teeth or wash your hands, turn the handle and voila! lots of water at whatever temperature you want spews forth – down the drain!
What Is It?
I did some research and learned that by installing a faucet aerator I could at least limit the amount of water flowing – while the water was flowing. Getting my family to limit how long they let the water flow is another issue! I didn’t know what the flow rate was of my current aerators (I discovered that we did have aerators already installed but were at least 8 years old) but I did learn that current aerators will restrict the flow to as low as .5 GPM (gallons per minute) on a bathroom faucet. If you do want to measure the flow rate of a faucet (or shower head) see my post, “How Many Gallons Per Minute Are Going Down Your Drain?”.
What Does It Do?
So, to answer your (my!) question, a faucet aerator is a small round filter-like looking gizmo that fits neatly into the tip of your faucet. It simply mixes the water coming through the faucet with air, separating the water into tiny streams while leaving less space for water to come through. It does all of this without reducing water pressure – a concern I have heard expressed by many when it comes to conserving water by restricting water flow.
Can I Install It?
I am not intimidated by small home repair or improvement projects and I’m no stranger to the hardware store so the descriptions of how to install faucet aerators seemed doable. I was a little concerned that I could buy the wrong size, I would scratch the faucet somehow and that I wouldn’t be able to actually get the faucet off and back on. I decided to take my faucets tips with me to the store to be sure that what I was purchasing would fit.
I Did It!
I’m happy to report that all went great. I successfully (and proudly!) replaced the aerators in my two master bathroom faucets without incident! Just three more to go and our bathroom faucets will be all set with a water conserving low GPM rate. Now, time to get to work on encouraging my family to turn that handle off more frequently!