small improvements: adding a faucet aerator.

July 15, 2021

In the world of old kitchens that have not been gutted or renovated in the recent past, or ever, old-fashioned faucets with taps that spill gallons of clean tap water with absolute abandon are still fairly commonplace. One tiny improvement to make is installing a faucet aerator. They help save water—an average of 700 gallons a year per family according to the EPA— without impacting water pressure, and depending on the make and model you choose, offer a bit of help in the washing up department.

When we moved in, our faucet had a typical hardware store variety faucet aerator attached to the tip. These aerators are inexpensive, widely available, and do a totally serviceable job of limiting water waste and splashing. They’re also, I think it’s fair to say, unattractive and not necessarily very advanced in terms of water conservation. The one on our faucet, for instance, merely made the faucet comply to the federal limit of a 2.2 gallons per minute flow rate, set in 1994.

So a month or two ago, we installed a new faucet aerator that better disappears into the background of our 1950s faucet and is more effective at saving water, with a flow rate of 1.8 GPM. Like the old chrome and black plastic aerator, this new one swivels, which means it helps the water reach the corners of the sink, and instead of needing to yank at the thing to change it from stream to spray, this one just requires a little twist.

Needless to say there are many, many options for faucet aerators and you would not be wrong to go in another direction entirely. Without a swivel option, a low-flow aerator can cost as little as a few dollars. The EPA’s WaterSense certification doesn’t currently expand to kitchen faucets, but it’s a good place to start your search and get an idea of possibilities (and there are definitely aerators with an even lower flow rate than the one we ended up with!).

In terms of installation, I’m not a plumber, but there’s no need to be one to understand the basics here. If there are threads at the end of your faucet, it’s most likely aerator ready. Standard faucets generally have either 15/16ths male threads or 55/64ths female threads at the tip. Knowing which you have is as easy as looking at your faucet and determining whether the threads are exposed (male!) or tucked up inside (female!). Once you’ve got an aerator with right threads, attaching it to the faucet is as simple as screwing it on.

And that’s that. $14 later and we’ve got less water wasting down the drain and a kitchen sink that’s a whole lot easier to look at.

Your turn!

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  • Reply Laurie July 16, 2021 at 12:04 am

    Hi Erin,
    In one of your photos there’s a can with silverware in it.
    1. Is that where you store all your silverware?
    2. If so, how did you make the can child safe? Did you just sand down the edge of the can where the top was cut off by the can opener? I’m asking because my can opener leaves a very sharp edge. It’s so sharp that even I have to be careful not to cut my fingers on it, nevermind my youngest soft fingers.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 16, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      Hi there! Yes: that’s where we store all our cutlery! We have a Kuhn Rikon can opener that makes a blunt cut so no sharp edges to worry about.

      • Reply Laurie July 17, 2021 at 12:37 am

        Hi Erin,
        My can opener is made by Zyliss.
        Where do you store your can filled with cutlery when it isn’t on the counter? Also, how about measuring cups, potato peelers, kitchen sissers, cork screws, mason jar openers, metals straws and other related kitchen equipment: where & how do you store them?

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 19, 2021 at 10:07 am

          we always store the can with cutlery on the counter! we have measuring cups hanging from a magnetic hook on the fridge. peeler and kitchen scissors are on our magnetic knife rack, also on the fridge; metal straws in a cup in a cabinet!

  • Reply Margaret July 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    I love my aerators when I rinse a dish or wash my hands, or take a shower, or look at my water bill.
    I hate them when I need to fill a dog bucket or a tea kettle. Feels like it must be coming drop by drop sometimes.

  • Reply Lauren July 18, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    I love these home improvement posts! Thanks!

  • Reply Swissrose July 19, 2021 at 4:52 am

    Amazing – here in Switzerland I have been using these for 30 years or more on our standard faucets… they are very commonplace.

  • Reply JP July 28, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    I have to thank you for this reco… I’ve only seen the typical plastic (pull down) that work but are ugly so I couldn’t bring myself to put one on my pretty simple faucet. But this is so slick and blends right in and omigosh I shouldn’t be so happy about things like washing dishes and rinsing fruit but it’s really made me happy! Thanks!

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