What is a Faucet Aerator?

Faucet Aerators, if cleaned regularly — help save water, improve water service and reduce the risk of lead exposure.

Have you ever noticed the little screen at the end of your faucet? It’s called an aerator. Aerators screw into kitchen and bathroom faucets and the holes in the screens add air to the water as it flows out of the faucet.

I don’t see a screen on my faucet – does it have an aerator?

If you touch the end of the faucet and feel a screen, your faucet has an aerator. Faucets with an attached water filter don’t have aerators. Some faucets contain an aerator that’s embedded rather than attached. For these faucets, you can refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before disassembling the fixture to find the screen.

Faucet AeratorWhat does an aerator do?

That small little screen serves many important purposes.

Reduces the risk of lead exposure

The aerator catches debris and lead particles that may have gotten into the water. Pipes, solder, or fixtures that contain lead can break down or leach into the water. As water runs through the aerator, particles containing lead may lodge in the screen. Aerators will catch the lead particles, so it’s important to clean them to reduce the risk in your drinking water.

Improve water flow

  • Provides a nice stream of water flowing from the faucet.
  • Maintains and can improve the water pressure from the faucet.
  • Prevents water from splashing when it hits your hands, the sink, or a glass.

If the water pressure coming out of your faucets, is reduced or lower than normal, it may be due to excess debris trapped in the aerators. Removing and cleaning the aerators could help.

Save water and Save Money on Water Bills

The Environmental Protection Agency suggest replacing aerators with ones that have lower flow rates to conserve water – adding that switching from an aerator that releases 2.2 gallons per minute with one that releases 1.5 gallons per minute can reduce water use by 30% without reducing performance.  Using less water will also help lower your water bill.

How often should I clean my faucet aerator?

Aerators should be cleaned about every six months. Removing an aerator may require a wrench or pliers. Be sure to wrap a rag around the faucet to protect the finish.