When you turn on your kitchen or bathroom faucet, does the water come out in a steady, continuous stream that splashes around your sink? If so, your faucet might be missing a tap aerator.
Older faucets were not equipped with this special device, which is essentially a wire mesh screen that attaches to the tip of the faucet. As the name suggests, it "aerates" the water and reduces the Gallons per Minute (GPM) that flow through.
You use less water, and you don't have to deal with all the splashing.
How To Tell If You Have a Tap Aerator
Check your faucets to see if aerators have been installed. If you can't tell from the stream alone, then look at the tip of your faucet and see if there are numbers imprinted in the metal, which indicate the aerator's flow rate (ideally less than 2.75 GPM). If you determine that your faucet is missing an aerator, then run your finger underneath to see if there are threads in which to screw a new aerator.
Purchasing a Tap Aerator
Now you're ready to visit your local home improvement store to purchase a faucet aerator that matches the finish of your existing faucet. The average cost is under $5 and the only tools you need to install it are pliers or a vice-grip, which you probably already own-proving this is one of the cheapest green home improvements
that you can make. And you can't beat the return on investment: faucet aerators cut your water consumption in half.
They also help you save on your gas or electric bill, because you need to use less heated water from your tank. That translates into $100 savings or more each year.
How To Install a Tap Aerator
Installing an aerator is easy. Simply wrap it with piping tape, slip the rubber washer into place and screw it into the faucet by hand.
If you have trouble tightening it, use pliers (place an old cloth in between so you don't scratch the aerator). Turn the water on to test, and if it leaks out of the side of the aerator, you need to tighten it more. And that's all there is to it. Remember to take your aerators off and rinse them from time to time so they function at full capacity. If your tap aerator has become rusty, then soak it in vinegar and scrub with an old toothbrush.
Low Water Pressure in Home? Faucet Aerator May Help
Don't worry that an aerator will cause the water to trickle out of the faucet. In fact, if your home has low water pressure, installing tap aerators along with low-flow shower heads can help increase the pressure. Aerators also contribute toward LEED credits. So, what are you waiting for? Go check those faucets!