How Faucet Aerators Work

How Does a Faucet Aerator Work?

While oil and water don't mix, air and water can and it will save you money. If you use faucet aerators on the faucets and shower heads, you can save money on your heating and water bills.

Aerators reduce the water coming through the faucets by mixing it with air. The aerator acts as a sieve, sending a separating a single flow of water into many tiny streams. This introduces the air into the water flow. Also because there is less space for the water to flow through, the water flow is reduced. However, the water pressure is maintained, which is why most people don't notice a difference in the amount of water coming out of an aerated faucet. Since the water is somewhat compacted by an aerator, it may even increase the water pressure in a faucet that typically has lighter-than-normal water pressure.

Aerators are inexpensive and easy to use. They come in varying abilities to control the flow. Aerators can save you up to half of your water usage through faucets with aerators on them. When you are using aerated water, you won't notice a difference. Estimates are that aerators can save you 280 gallons a month. And if you are using less water, you will use less gas or oil to heat it. This means you will also see a savings on your heating bill.

Not all aerators are the same. The aerator you choose can reduce your faucet flow to 2.5 gallons per minutes down to 0.5 gallons per minute (GPM). While the 0.5 GPM will save more money, it will also take you a long time to fill up a sink.

Some aerators now come with flow restrictors. Essentially, this is a temporary "off" switch. These come in particularly handy when you are doing dishes. You spend the time getting the water temperature just right so you're not scalding your hands or freezing them in the wash water. Then you have to turn off the water while you're washing a dish. You turn the water on again and you've lost that perfect balance. A restrictor will turn the water off at the nozzle with a quick flip of a lever. When you need the water, another quick flip starts it flowing again. It's one more feature to help you save water.

Aerators are inexpensive. Some cost under $5 and are easy to install. You unscrew your current faucet aerator and screw the new one on.