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Home Plumbing: How To Remove & Clean An Aerator

home plumbing
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you have a faucet in your kitchen or bathroom, you might have seen the simple fittings at their end. These fittings are known as aerators. An aerator contains threads that add air into water, making it flow uniformly. It also helps conserve water by regulating the flow rate. With continuous use, aerators accumulate debris and become inefficient. To increase the water flow rate, you may have to clean the clogged aerator. In this article, we will provide you with home plumbing tips on how to remove and clean an aerator.

Tools You May Need In Your Home Plumbing Toolkit

When cleaning your aerator, you will need the following:

  • Channel-lock Pliers
  • A rag
  • Vinegar
  • An old toothbrush
  • Screwdriver
  • A small bowl

Instructions For Cleaning An Aerator

Follow these basic instructions:

  • Remove the Aerator

    Basically, there are two types of aerators. The “outie” aerators attach to the outside of the faucet while the other “innies” are cached inside the aerator. The former is easier to open with your hand. On the other hand, you may need channel-lock pliers to remove the latter.

    Sometimes, an aerator may get stuck on the faucet. If this happens, place a rag around the unit and gently unscrew it. The purpose of the rag is to protect the aerator’s housing from scratches or bending out of shape.

    Another trick of removing a stuck aerator would be to use vinegar. Heat the vinegar in the microwave and place it at the end of the faucet so that the aerator is submerged into it. Let the solution stay there for an hour before trying to unscrew the aerator again.

  • Check for Debris Remains in the Faucet

    You need to make sure that there is no debris in the faucet that may affect your aerator after cleaning. Therefore, dip your little finger inside the faucet to feel any debris leftovers. If you feel any solid deposits inside the unit, clear them using a screwdriver.

  • Disassemble the Aerator Components

    Carefully observe the arrangement of the parts that make up the aerator first. The major components of most aerators are a metal casing, a rubber washer, and a screen. Thereafter, disassemble these parts before cleaning them.

  • Soak the Components in Vinegar

    Pour an adequate amount of vinegar into a bowl. The significance of the vinegar is to weaken any hard mineral deposits along the aerator parts.

    Immerse the disassembled components into the vinegar and allow them to stay there for a few hours. The amount of time the components stay in the vinegar solution depends on the hardness of the mineral deposits. However, it would be appropriate if you left the parts to stay in the solution overnight.

  • Scrub Every Part Thoroughly

    Remove the parts from the vinegar solution and confirm if the mineral deposits are loose enough to rinse. If they are ready, inspect each part thoroughly as you scrub them using an old toothbrush. Repeat the process until the components sparkle with only the original color.

  • Rinse and Reassemble the Components

    You are almost done with the home plumbing task of cleaning the aerator! Rinse any debris remains off the parts with water. As you rinse, be careful because of the pressure of water coming from the faucet. Hoping that you noted the arrangement of each part, reassemble your aerator unit after rinsing.

  • Refix the Aerator to The Faucet

    Reattach the aerator back to the nozzle of the faucet. Make anticlockwise turns with your hand until the unit is tight. Test its efficiency by running water. If you spot any leaks, from the sides of the aerator, use pliers to tighten it.

You may have to clean your aerators regularly to keep them in good condition, especially in South Florida where we have “hard water” that makes our plumbing more susceptible to mineral build-up. It’s important to note that with time, the units may get too old to clean. In such a situation, you may have no other option than to replace them. Fortunately, aerators are cheap, and you can replace them on your own.

Need Home Plumbing Assistance? We Are Here for You

Replacing aerators might be easy but sometimes it is always good to get professional assistance. Our experts have the right tools and knowledge to help you fix your plumbing issues right the first time. Contact Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric today for the best home plumbing solutions in South Florida!


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