Cleaning Clogged Faucet Aerators

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Occasionally you may notice a weak or reduced flow in the water coming from your sink faucets. The logical go-to conclusion is that there is a larger problem at the root of sputtering or slow moving water, but it may actually be something much less complex.

Faucets for the most part come fitted with a device known as an aerator. This device is responsible for inserting air into the water as it passes through the faucet. The reason for using an aerator is to reduce the flow of water to lessen waste as well as to create a steady, even flow of water. Different types of aerator exist, some of which are aftermarket. Traditional varieties can be purchased as well as low flow versions that restrict water flow even more, reducing the flow from around three gallons per minute to one gallon per minute, should you wish to add aerators to any faucets that do not already have them.

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Inside of an aerator are spaces capable of clogging. Since there is a wire screen and slats inside of an aerator, it is possible for mineral deposits to collect in these areas, slowing down or even stopping the passage of water through your faucet. When this happens, it may appear that you have a major plumbing problem, but the reality is that you just have a dirty, clogged aerator.

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To clean your aerator, you will first need to remove it from the faucet. This can be done by grasping it firmly and giving it a twist to loosen the threads and unscrew the aerator, freeing it from the faucet. Next, place it in a cup then fill that cup with white vinegar. The level of vinegar should come up over the aerator so that both sides will be exposed to the vinegar without you having to remember to flip it over. The cleaning capabilities possessed by white vinegar will tackle any mineral deposits collected on your aerator as it sits overnight and in the morning it will be ready for a quick rinse before being reattached to your faucet.

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After a night spent in vinegar, your aerator should be clean and your water flow restored to its previous unobstructed state. To prevent issues with aerators in the future, make it a point to do a periodic vinegar soak based on the timeline in which you see clogs start to present. Since water can be more or less mineral rich in different areas, keep an eye on aerators to see when they might require attention. Otherwise put an aerator soak on the calendar on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule to prevent problems before they start.

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