You probably heard the term aerator used in conjunction with your faucet but do you know what this little part is? A faucet aerator is a very simple nozzle that fits on the end of your faucet and it has two main functions. Find out what they are…
How a Faucet Aerator Works
A faucet aerator is a very simple part consisting of a round cylinder, a strainer piece made of plastic and a compression washer. The strainer fits inside of the cylinder and the compression goes on top of the strainer. The aerator screws onto the end of the faucet spout. It is easy to remove with a pair of slip joint or adjustable vice grip pliers.
Faucet aerators have either a male or female threaded top because faucets have either a male or female threaded spout. Most aerators are made of lead-free steel with a chrome or brushed nickel finish to match your faucet.
Faucet Aerator Design and Parts
A faucet aerator screws onto the end of the faucet spout and when water comes through the spout it passes through the aerator. The water stream is forced through the aerator strainer which has many very tiny holes in the surface. The water stream turns into a series of very fast drops as it passes through the aerator screen, this introduces air into the water which results in that bubbly, soft water stream you are used to.
Aerators sizes vary to fit the various faucet spout sizes. Both bathroom faucets and kitchen faucets use aerators of different sizes that produce different water flow rates.
Reducing Water Pressure -Water Saving, Low Water Flow Aerators
Faucet aerators have another function which is to reduce the water flow rate in your faucet. Aerators are rated by the water flow they produce under normal circumstances. Typical aerators create 1.5 or 2 gallons per minute of water flow. The size of the holes in the screen and size of the aerator factor into the flow rates produced by the aerator. This is a water-saving feature and it is designed to save water.
Today, the EPA mandates all faucets produce lower water flow rates, with low-flow cartridges, so buying an aerator to reduce water flow is not necessary. You could end up with even lower flow rates if you install a low flow aerator on a low flow faucet.