Reduced Water Flow? Clean Your Aerators!

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From time to time a reduced water flow from your home faucets will become a problem. This could be for an array of reasons, some of which have nothing to do with your house but are instead a problem within the municipality. That does not rule out the possibility of a problem existing within your home, but as you begin the investigative process, start with the small stuff first.

By doing this, you may be able to remedy your problem at little expense and without the need for messy work.

If water seems to be sputtering or passing slowly through your faucet, take the time to first check the aerator. Faucets generally come with a device known as an aerator that attaches to the end and injects the water with air to reduce the amount of water your faucet expends. The goal in using aerators is to reduce the amount of water used by the faucets in your home but sometimes the aerator may become clogged and fail to do its job.

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Photo: This Old House

Aerators are small devices that contain a wire screen and slats on the inside. These mechanisms are responsible for injecting air into your water flow, but they also happen to trap sediment rather than allowing it to pass through. Over time, enough sediment may collect inside of your aerator that you will be faced with the beginnings of a clog. Chances are you will notice a weak flow long before the inability for water to pass through aerators occurs, and at such a point, or ideally sooner, cleaning aerators is wise.

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Photo: PLBG

In order to perform the task of cleaning an aerator, the first step is to remove it. You can do so by grasping it firmly and twisting or in some cases pliers may be necessary to gently loosen the threads and unscrew it. Once the aerator is free, place it in a cup containing enough white vinegar to cover it completely on both sides and let it sit overnight.

You can also use a lesser amount as long as you remember to flip it over half way through the soaking process. The cleaning capabilities of white vinegar will remove any mineral deposits that have accumulated on the aerator, making it fully usable once again by the time morning rolls around in most cases. Just rinse it and reattach.

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Photo: Yelp

After an overnight vinegar soak, your aerators should be able to again allow a normal stream of water to flow through them. These issues may occur repetitively, however, so make cleaning aerators a part of your household maintenance routine in order to keep water moving as it should.

Depending on the area in which you live, the need to clean aerators will be more or less frequent, so base your cleaning routine on those needs. If you do not wish to track the amount of time it takes for aerators to show signs of a slowdown, you can instead put the task of soaking your aerator on the schedule each month or so to prevent problems before they start.

Regardless of the method of aerator cleaning you adopt, a little preventative care will go a long way towards having water that is able to flow freely through your faucets when you need it.

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