Are Aerators Universal? (Let’s Find Out!)

Are you struggling to find the correct aerator for your faucet?

Finding the correct aerator can be frustrating, especially if you’re unsure if they are universal.

Fortunately, we have the answer to your question. The direct answer is no, aerators are not universal, but there are several factors to consider when choosing the right one for your faucet.

In this article, we will provide more details on aerators, including their types, sizes, and compatibility, to help you make an informed decision.

How Do I Know What Size Aerator I Need?

Usually, there are three types of faucet aerators- junior, regular, and Tom Thumb. The junior is either 13/16 inches male or ¾ inches female, the standard is 15/16 inches male or 55/64 inches female, and Tom Thumb is either M18 male or M16 female. 

To know the size of your aerator, measure it with coins. If the tap circumference is the size of a quarter, you need a regular aerator. A faucet circumference similar to a nickel needs a junior-sized aerator. On the other hand, the faucet mouth equal to the size of a dime is a Tom Thumb. 

A male aerator is recommended for a tap with threads inside, whereas a female aerator should be used on a faucet with threads on the outside. 

It sounds a little complicated, but here is a video to make sense of it all!

A video tutorial to figure out the faucet aerator that you need for your faucet

Faucet Aerator Size Chart (for Bathroom, Kitchen, and Yard)

Below is a simple chart to understand the gender and measurements of your typical household tap aerator:

Regular15/16 inches 55/64 inches 
Junior13/16 inches ¾ inches 
Tom ThumbM18 M16 

How Does a Faucet Aerator Work?

A faucet aerator is a miniature magical tool attached to the end or inside of the faucet that minimizes the amount of water that gushes out by splitting the water flow into very tiny streams. 

The result is less water flow from the tap due to adding air without changing the water pressure. Therefore, you can save up to 60% on water usage and utility costs by having this baby fitted into your taps! 

Aerators can be attached to showerheads, hose pipes, tubs, pond pumps, and taps in the bathroom and kitchen. In addition to saving money, tap aerators also

  1. prevent whistling and gurgling noise during streaming,
  2. improves water pressure if you live in homes with ancient plumbing systems,
  3. filters minerals and dirt in the water (including lead),  
  4. goes easy on your skin, and 
  5. prevent splashing.

How Much Water Do Faucet Aerators Save?

A little investment in faucet aerators can lower your average household water usage from 15 to 6 liters per minute. Moreover, advanced aerators can reduce the water flow rate from 2.2 to 0.5 gallons per minute! 

You save about 700 gallons of water a year, like taking full-blown 45 showers! 

There are different tap aerators in the market- 0.25 GPM aerators save extremely, whereas the 1.5 GPM aerators do the job moderately. A reasonable flow rate is typically around 0.5 or 1.5 GPM. (GPM = Gallons per Minute)

How Do I Remove My Faucet Aerator?

You can remove a faucet aerator for adjusting, replacing, or cleaning. An aerator may be hidden, housed, or tamper-proof. 

Hidden aerators are recessed and can be removed with a key, while housed aerators are encased in a metal housing and will need a wrench. 

On the contrary, tamper-proof aerators are designed differently as their external housing can rotate independently. They require a unique key, precision flathead screwdrivers, or two-pronged forks to unscrew. All you have to do is push your choice of tool up the aerator and twist anticlockwise to remove it.

Tap aerators must be cleaned at least once a year to remove residue and to keep the water streaming beautifully. That being said, let’s get to the step-by-step guide.

Required Tools:

  • A pair of pliers
  • A small towel or rag
  • A rubber wench
  • White vinegar
  • Penetrating oil 

Step 1: Cover the Drain

Faucet aerators include small parts like the casing, rubber wash, and a small screen. If you lose these small parts, you may not be able to fit the aerator back in place. Therefore, use a stopper, towel, or rag to cover the drain before you remove the aerator. 

Step 2: Unscrew by Hand or Pliers

Unscrew the aerator counterclockwise until it comes off. It may not be easy to do this simple job because of mineral buildups. In this situation, get a pair of pliers to get a better grip and unscrew. Use a towel to avoid scratching or denting. 

Step 3: If That Doesn’t Work.

If your hand and the pliers are useless to unscrew the faucet aerator, use rubber wenches for an even tighter grip. They won’t slip off, so grip and tow counterclockwise. Then keep trying until the aerator comes off. 

Step 4: Soak in Vinegar

If the rubber wenches have failed you, too, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, so do not worry!

The only explanation for an aerator refusing to come off is dirt buildup and rust. So, to get rid of the dirt, pour some white vinegar into a small bag, and tie that bag around the spout, allowing the buildups to dissolve. 

After an hour or so, remove the vinegar bag and run the faucet to clean out the debris. Afterward, try to remove the aerator again. It should work!

Step 5: Apply Penetrating Oil

The last straw in unscrewing the aerator is the penetrating oil, also known as WD 40. Since it is a toxic substance that can cause nausea, headache, respiratory irritation, skin irritation, and dizziness, wear thick gloves and a face mask beforehand. Also, open all the doors and windows for ventilation. 

Spray the oil onto the nozzle of the aerator for about 5 seconds. After letting it sit for about 5 minutes, attempt to unscrew it with the pliers. 

Step 6: Heat Up the Area

Another unique way to undo the aerator is to heat the mouth with a hair dryer or candle. Heat for 30 seconds to break up the sediment inside. However, don’t heat it for too long as some parts of the aerator may be made of plastic. 

Once the debris is separated, unscrewing the faucet aerator from the tap will be easier. Don’t touch the faucet until it’s cool enough; use a towel. 

To End This Journey

Since you have reached the end of this article, you must know by now that the world of faucet aerators is not as small as you thought! There are distinct categories of aerators in size, shape, and gender. 

Some aerators can save water, whereas others save less. Either way, getting a state-of-the-art faucet aerator will help you save significant cash every month. 

So, are faucet aerators universal? Yes, with unique traits. 

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