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Faucet Aerators Save Water, Energy, Money

Quick! You're losing money every day until you do this.

Kitchen and bathroom faucets account for over 10,000 gallons of water a year per household, one of the top four uses of indoor water. Much of this is wasted, as many older faucets use between three and seven gallons per minute. This inefficiency drives up water, sewer and energy bills. [IMAGE: Faucet aerator's are usually less than 3/4 inch tall]

If your faucets are more than ten years old, odds are they're water hogs. If you still like them--or simply don't want to deal with the cost and hassle of installing new ones--there's a lovably low-tech solution: faucet aerators.

Faucet Aerators

Aerators are small devices that attach to the faucet to reduce water flow to 2.0, 1.5 or 1.0 gallons per minute at normal pressures. While they reduce the amount of water used, they also often make the flow more forceful and provide more effective wetting and rinsing.

Installation couldn't be easier. Aerators simply screw onto the faucet head, usually after removing the existing screen. That's it.

You can buy them at most hardware stores, home improvement centers, online, or at energy-conservation outlets. They typically cost between $0.50 and $3.00. You'd be hard pressed to find a wiser three-dollar investment.

[IMAGE: Aerators take 2 minutes to install]

This is easy. Child's play, almost.

  1. Determine the flow rate of your faucet. Time how long it takes to fill up a one-quart container. If it takes less than five seconds to fill it up, your faucet uses more than three gallons per minute. If it takes ten seconds to fill up, your faucet uses 1.5 gallons per minute.

  2. Analyze the findings. If your faucet uses more than 3 gallons per minute, run to the store to get the aerator, because time (and money) is a-wasting. Even if it takes 6 to 9 seconds to fill your one-quart container, you should still make the trip (but in this case you can walk to the store).

  3. Look at your faucet. Oh, before you go...make sure your faucet has threads on the head that allow an aerator to be installed. You might need to unscrew the current head/filter/aerator to see them. Also pay attention to the color so you can match it. If there are no threads, consider investing in a new faucet, especially if it uses more than 3.0 gallons per minute.

  4. Purchase. Find an aerator with the lowest rated flow rate. If it costs a dollar or two more than other options, remember that it will pay you back. For almost all faucets, choose a 1.5 or 1.0 gallon per minute aerator. In your kitchen, where you fill pots with water, you will probably want a 2.0 or 2.5 gallon per minute aerator.

  5. Install. Twist the aerator into place. Avoid using a wrench that could scratch the new aerator.

  6. Have a feel-good moment. You eliminated a small but steady drain on your wallet, and you're saving water, too. How cool of you.

Content updated on 7/3/2006

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