A faucet aerator is a tiny disc shaped fitting that goes on the end of virtually any type of modern faucet. Their only purpose is to reduce the faucet’s flow rate by mixing in air with water to increase its pressure so naturally, you get fooled into thinking that it actually is throwing out a lot of water. Without an aerator, the water will usually fall in a clumsy off-center manner with a lot of splashing in the sink. Similarly, flow reducers act to reduce the water used but they don’t usually use air to do so. They simply provide a steady stream of water without any higher pressures or aeration.
Since, the aerator or flow reducer is the last part of a faucet that water flows through, they are monumental in deciding the flow rate of the faucet. Usually, in kitchen faucets you need a higher flow rate to quickly fill sinks and pots but with bathroom faucets, high flow rate is a waste of water that can be used elsewhere. In fact, the kitchen sink doesn’t even require high flow rates if you plan it out carefully. Cleaning pots and pans doesn’t need soaking in the sink, you can clean them by scrubbing and gently rinsing off the dishwasher detergent. Unfortunately, not everyone has the discipline required to conserve water and promote efficient usage. Hence, it is for such folks that installing an aerator or flow reducer in your kitchen sink or bathroom is a necessity. You will be amazed by the significant volume of water you save annually.
According to experts, the maximum flow rate recommended is around 1.5gpm and with a good flow reducer or aerator, you can stay well below this flow rate and yet perform the same mundane daily activities without observing a significant change. There are even reducers and aerators that provide an abysmally low flow rate of 1.0 gpm. But one of the things you must be careful with an aerator is to replace them regularly as they tend to wear out quick.
To replace an aging aerator, just unscrew the old one using a channel-type pliers or your hands. They usually come off in a counterclockwise direction and are secured into place using a clockwise direction. But, before you do change the aerator, make sure the faucet threads are clean. Once in place, hand tighten it and let the water run for a few minutes to check for spills and leaks. You may have to tighten or loosen the aerator depending on the situation.