Sometimes, when you turn on the tap in the kitchen or bathroom, you notice that the pressure of water has reduced a lot. This is probably because the aerator is clogged. As a result, we will show you how to remove a faucet aerator without a wrench.
But what is this faucet aerator?
Faucet aerators are also called tap aerators. They are usually found at the opening of most modern home water faucets . The aerator can simply be fastened on to the head of the faucet to ensure that water does not splash inordinately.
This splashing is usually because the water is also gushing out with bursts of air.
The aerator can be used to prevent the splashing of water. The aerator helps to shape the water which is gushing out from the spout of the faucet. This ensures that the stream of water is straight and that the pressure steam is even.
The aerator helps in water conservation because without it, air and water would start gushing out at the same time. The air will cause the water to splash around in many directions. This is as opposed to having a single, direct stream.
If the aerator is fixed on the tap, the water that is lost due to the splashing is saved. This also means that the energy used in pumping water would also be conserved.
The more water is lost via splashing, the more energy is used to pump up another. But if this splashing is controlled, that energy would be conserved and used for another time or another vital purpose entirely.
The presence of the aerator also helps in the reduction of the noise of the faucet. Sometimes when you turn on a tap, you hear a squeaky sound. That is the noise of the faucet. But with the aerator attached to the mouth of the faucet, the noise is reduced significantly.
The aerator is also vital in the sense that it gives additional pressure to the water. This is very vital in homes which are built on places that have a pressure of water that is quite low. This particular feature is the reason why an aerator is called a flow regulator or pressure regulator.
The aerator can also serve as a sieve. How is this possible? It comes with some sort of sieve plate which is small. This acts as a sieve and offers slight filtration. To be honest, most sources of water are filled with debris. So, it is vital that aerator filters off some of them.
Of course, it is not 100 percent effective in filtering water. Well, why should it be? It is a faucet and not a sieve or filter.
An aerator is something everyone should fix on their taps.
Prevention of Water Splashing
Whenever a single water stream drops or hits any surface, the water must bounce and land somewhere. If the stream is singular and uniform in dropping, the water has a tendency of moving in one particular direction.
If the single water stream drops onto a surface that is curved, the water stream will have no choice but to take the form or shape of the vessel. This will make it easy for the water to be redirected using that force from the water volume which is falling.
However, when the aerator is added, two things will happen.
The first thing that will happen is that the water volume falling from the tap reduces. This will in turn reduce the distance water will splash from the tap mouth.
The second thing the aerator does is to create more than one smaller stream in the mainstream.
If you view the smaller streams one after the other, you will find that each would flow and splash in a distinct direction and pattern. When it also hits the container, it will land in a distinct position from the water which belongs to other streams.
Due to the fact that the different smaller streams are all falling consecutively, every stream will fall in its own way. Yet, these splashes or streams would hit one another. This disruption from other streams will cancel most of the other splashing effect.
Reduced Energy Usage and Conservation
Due to the fact that aerator restricts the flow of water through the faucet, the sheer quantity of water used is reduced. This is significantly different from the amount used when the faucet aerator is not available.
The energy conservation is even more noticeable if the water being used is hot water. Less water, less energy used.
Perceived Pressure of Water
The perceived pressure of water is the speed the water has when it hits a container or surface. This is also the speed it hits the hand, that is if you are washing your hands.
If the aerator is fixed on to faucet or the stream of fluid, something happens. A region of great pressure is created behind the aerator.
Because there is a greater pressure behind the aerator and lower pressure outside the faucet, there will be an increased pressure.
The phenomenon behind this is explained by a principle of fluid dynamics. The principle is called Bernoulli’s principle. And it states that speed of fluid happens simultaneously with reduction in static pressure. This can also be as a result of reduction in the potential energy (PE) of the fluid.
The principle was discovered by Daniel Bernoulli. He published this in a book he wrote in 1738 called Hydrodynamica. The principle got its name after it.
How Does the Aerator Work in Practical Terms?
The aeration process happens basically in just two steps.
The first step is that air is sucked into water stream. This breaks down stream to flow of small water droplets that is mixed with the air.
The second step is to mix the air and water after they pass the screen. This mixing is effective for the final stage which is evenly separating the stream that results from the mixing.
The Features and Design of the Aerator
There are three main parts of the aerator. They are housing, insert, then the rubber washer.
The faucet aerator could be put into classes based on the flow rate and kind of stream of water that it produces. The steam can be non-aerated, aerated or spray.
Generally, aerators of the standard size are available for purchase with male or female threading. The male threading is M24X1 and the female is M22X1.
The spouts of bathtubs usually have a diameter that is bigger as the male thread M28X1. In the US, the sizes that are being used are different. There is a 15/16 inches to 27. This is the standard male thread size.
There is also the 55/64 inches to 27 size. This is the standard female thread size.
It is important that you make use of this faucet aerator as it complies with local housing and construction rules.
How Do You Know the Faucet Has Aerator?
If the stream of water which is flowing out from the faucet comes as streams of compact and fine bubbles, then the aerator is present in the faucet. Sometimes, you may not be able to see the aerator on the mouth of spout. The aerator there is called cache aerator.
This means that aerator is hidden inside faucet spout. So, if you need to remove it, which would be a necessity from time to time, a wrench would not be useful to do so.
What you need is something else that can enter the faucet and help you loosen the aerator.
If the pressure of water is low, lower than usual, there is a solution which is very easy.
Just at the faucet’s tail, there is an aerator which is mostly a screw to screen fitting.
A lot of people are not aware of this fitting. And when something happens, there is an urgent call for the plumber to come around. Truth is that the work is easy and repairing it is not hard.
If the faucet aerators stop doing their jobs, then a couple of things would be behind it.
It may be that minerals and grit have blocked the mouth of the faucet. You just need to do few clean ups and water flow will be back. This will occur often in places where their source of water is underground well. The water there is full of grit and mineral content.
When you have this issue, most times cleaning your aerator is enough to get the water flowing again.
Some other times, you will have to take out the aerator.
Normally, aerator is fastened on a hand tight. This means that one can easily remove it using screwdrivers.
Also, it is possible that the minerals in the water have accumulated and frozen inside the aerator. This would even make it difficult for you to remove the aerator.
Here are the supplies and tools which you will require to do this job.
- New aerators
- Masking tape or rag
- Penetrating oil
- Pliers (channel-lock)
How to Remove the Aerator Proper
Use Your Hand to Try Removing It
You can begin by using your aerator with the hand from spouts. The majority of aerators have always been fastened using the hand. It is also possible to unfasten the aerator in like manner.
Before you start unfastening the aerator, just make sure your hands and the faucet are dry. This is so that the grip you will get on the faucet would be strong.
Make Use of Pliers
If it is not possible for you to remove the aerator using your hands, then you should try something else. You can try using pliers to achieve this goal. If you have an intention of using the aerator again after cleaning it, be careful with the pliers.
Before you use the plier on the aerator, use rags or a black tape to cover the surface of the faucet.
This is so that the aerator does not damage or scratch due to contact with pliers.
You do not need a huge plier because the aerator is actually small. What is needed or should be used is the Channellock plier.
Get hold of the aerator in between the plier jaws. Ensure that you are only holding the aerator and not the attached faucet. Slowly turn anti-clockwise so as to unfasten from faucet sprout.
Should this not work, you can try moving pliers to a 90 degree turn the aerator around. You can now unfasten aerator from this novel position.
Changing positions regularly can unfasten even the stubbornest of aerators. Care should be taken though so you do not hold onto the aerator tightly. This is due to the fact that the metal that is used in making it is quite soft and can bend easily.
If this happens, then your job just got way harder. And perhaps more expensive.
Video: How to remove a faucet aerator without a wrench
Introduction: This video shows how one can remove faucet aerators without making use of the wrench.
Apply Heat to Aerator
If the aerator is yet to budge, you can apply a small amount of heat. You can use a hairdryer to make the metal expand a little bit. The pliers can do the rest of the job once this happens.
It is not just the hairdryer, a candlelight or a matchstick held close to the aerator will cause the metal to loosen.
As you apply the heat, make sure it is in moderation. This is so you do not mistakenly melt any rubber or plastic washer which may be part of the aerator or faucet.
Be certain that your aerator has a metal screw instead of a rubber one. If it is the rubber one, do not bring heat near the aerator.
Make Use of Penetrating Oil
So, if the above-mentioned methods do not work, then you may have to try a different approach. You can try to spray penetrating oil. One of the penetrating oils we recommend is the WD40. You can always ask for something similar if you cannot find that.
You can spray this on threads and allow it to rest for some time and then try again using the pliers. Clean off the oil that is on the aerator surface before you try unscrewing it. You have to do this, so the plier does not slip off the metal. Oil makes metals slippery.
Clean and Reinstall Aerator
The screen which is made of metal on aerator could be blocked with mineral deposits or grit. This can easily be wiped off. You can use a sharp object to poke openings that are ridden on metal screen. You can use a pin.
If you notice that the screen has started rusting, do change it.
If mineral deposits are the main cause of the clogging, submerge them for a night inside vinegar. You can use any lime remover to remove these deposits.
When you are reinstalling and installing. Use your hand to tighten it first. Open the tap and check if water is leaking round the aerator.
If it is, use a plier to tighten it further. Remember that when you have to make use of a plier, cover the faucet with masking tape or rags. This is for the protection of the surface of the faucets and aerator.
Once the water is no longer leaking, then your work is done.
Click here to read how to use a strap wrench for the same purpose.