As part of our continuing series on how accessible regular home maintenance can be, we want to talk next about regular water faucet maintenance. Many faucets use aerators which also act as filters for the water flowing through. The aerator conserves water usage and prevents splashing. It helps stabilize the stream of water so if you are on a low-pressure system, aerators can help simulate stronger water flow.
It is easy to keep your faucet aerator clean and running smoothly, which can save you money in the long term.
When to Clean Out Your Faucet Aerator
- Anytime you flush the hot water tank
- Anytime the plumbing system has been open for maintenance
- Anytime your water is shut off (when there is a loss of pressure in the system)
- Don’t forget about bathroom faucets as well!
What can go wrong if I don’t regularly clean my faucet aerator?
The aerator also catches debris that the in-line water filters may miss. If this debris is allowed to build up, you are now filtering your sink water through grime and inhibiting the faucet flow.
Some modern high-efficiency water heating systems (on-demand systems) operate based on the flow rate of the water. A dirty aerator can inhibit that flow rate and cause the system to fail – an expensive repair for such a simple fix.
How to Maintain Your Water Faucet
- Pair of small channel locks or a crescent wrench with flats on it (if you’re using channel locks and you have a decorative sink, be careful to not squeeze too tightly)
- Choice of cleaning solution:
- White vinegar – most economical option
- Lemon juice – more expensive but works well
- CLR or lime away – an industrial process that works a little quicker
Instructions (also see video above)
- Pour your cleaning solution into a small bowl
- Remove the aerator with your wrench and then twist it right out
- If the aerator has several pieces (like in the video), separate the pieces but pay attention to how to put them back together
- Set the aerator and your faucet head into the cleaning solution bowl
- Let soak for a couple of hours or overnight
- Wipe off the aerator and faucet head – a rag or old toothbrush would do
- Rinse all the pieces with water and reassemble
As you can see, the process of cleaning your faucet aerators is so simple that most of it can be done overnight. It is an important part of regular home maintenance and can save you money.