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What are Faucet Aerators?

By R. Anacan
Updated May 16, 2024
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Faucet aerators are devices that are used to conserve water and energy and to reduce the splashing of water from a faucet. A faucet aerator is usually attached to the end of a faucet. Many experts on water usage agree that the use of faucet aerators is one of the most inexpensive yet effective means of reducing water consumption and saving energy.

Faucet aerators are so named because they combine air with the water that flows out of the end of a faucet. A faucet aerator is usually a small mesh screen that is made of metal or plastic. As water flows through the mesh screen, the aerator divides the flow of water into many small streams; allowing air to combine with the water. The aeration of water and the division of water into small streams creates a more consistent flow of water, which reduces splashing.

The mesh screen of a faucet aerator helps to conserve water by preventing a small amount of water from flowing out of the faucet. Unlike many low-flow devices that restrict the flow of water and reduce water pressure, a faucet aerator reduces the amount of water that is used while maintaining the feeling of adequate water pressure from a faucet. The aeration of the water is what enables the water pressure to feel normal to the user, even though less water is actually used.

Faucet aerators help to conserve energy by reducing the level of hot water consumption. A hot water heater maintains the water in the water heater tank at a consistent temperature. As hot water is used, cold water replaces the used hot water. This new water must then be heated, using energy in the process. By reducing the amount of hot water that is used, an aerator enables a water heater to be used less frequently. This in turn saves energy and money as less water is heated and maintained at temperature.

While there are a variety of aerators on the market that are designed to fit the many types and sizes of faucets that are available, there are essentially two main types of faucet aerator designs. One design is a simple attachment that is installed to the end of a faucet and does not move. The second common design is a swivel style that allows the user to direct the flow of water in different directions. Faucet aerators can be found in most home improvement stores and installation is generally simple enough to complete as a do-it-yourself project.

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Discussion Comments
By anon336476 — On May 29, 2013

@Golf07: Put a full 2-liter water bottle in your toilet tank. The displaced water saved with each flush can really add up.

By julies — On Jan 29, 2012

If you have kids (or adults) that like to leave the water running when they are brushing their teeth, a faucet aerator is a great solution for them.

I don't think many people realize how much water they waste by doing this every day. I used to have a bad habit of letting the water run while I was doing the dishes.

Now that I am making more of a conscious effort to conserve on water, I use faucet aerators on most all of the sinks in my house.

I got a few complaints from the kids at first, but they are used to it now. They also realize the importance of conserving water, but it can be hard to do sometimes unless you have some "encouragement" from mom.

By John57 — On Jan 28, 2012

I use faucet aerators not only in my house, but in my RV as well. It is just as important for me to conserve water when we are on the road as it is at home. Depending on how long we are going to be gone and how much water we have in the tank, sometimes it is very crucial.

In my RV I have what is called an instant-off water faucet aerator. This is designed so the water is technically always on, but you don't get a stream flowing from it until you touch the lever on the aerator attachment.

My only complaint with this is after leaving it on all the time, I noticed a small pool of water around the faucet after a month or so.

Now I just remember to turn it off at night when I know I am not going to be using it. I have really noticed a significant difference in the amount of water we are using, so would recommend these to other people who want to save some money in their RV's.

By golf07 — On Jan 27, 2012

I installed some Delta faucet aerators in my kitchen and bathroom sinks. I finally gave up trying to use this at my kitchen sink.

It took a few seconds before the water flow would even start, and I got impatient waiting for it every time. I also got frustrated with the slow stream of water that came out.

I love these faucet aerators in the bathroom though. These little gadgets really can help you conserve on water. If you are someone who likes to drink from the faucet in the bathroom, you might not like it though.

I wonder if they could come up with some kind of water saving device like this for a toilet. It seems like so much water gets wasted every time a toilet gets flushed.

By Mykol — On Jan 26, 2012

@SailorJerry - I have an aerator for my faucet at the kitchen sink. I see this as a small, inexpensive way to conserve water.

The aerator I have comes with an on/off switch which does come in handy. While it is nice to have this feature, it still takes longer to fill up a large container of something.

Even though it is pretty easy to snap on and off, it would be a pain to do this every time you wanted to fill up something like a large soup pot full of water.

By SailorJerry — On Jan 26, 2012

This sounds like a really good idea for the bathroom, but I'm not so sure about the kitchen. It sounds like it would reduce the amount of water you use while washing your hands, which is great. It takes a certain amount of water pressure, rather than a certain amount of water itself, to rinse your hands.

But in the kitchen, I often use my faucet, obviously, to fill up pots, glasses, and pitchers of water. I have stayed in hotels that have faucet aerators and have been frustrated by how long it takes to fill anything up using such a faucet. Naturally, with less water coming out (no matter how lovely the water pressure), it takes longer than if you have a normal faucet. I don't suppose there are any kitchen faucet aerators that can be removed when you want to fill something up?

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