Faucet Aerators

Faucet aerators serve an important function in your home plumbing system. They’re very simple. But aggravating when they don’t work. As plumbers, they’re a pet peeve. It drives me nuts when I see a low kitchen faucet water flow or a crooked bathroom sink faucet stream. But what are they. And what do faucet aerators do?

What is a Faucet Aerator?

A faucet aerator is the threaded fitting on the tip of a faucet spout. If your kitchen faucet has a pull-out or pull-down sprayer it may be inside the sprayer. But it’s the last thing the water touches before leaving the faucet. And it really does serve an important purpose. It also needs regular maintenance.

faucet water flow
Faucet Aerator

What do Faucet Aerators do?

Faucet aerators are a marvel of engineering. Partly because of their simplicity. And also because of how many functions they actually serve. A few of those are discussed below.

Aerators in Faucets Conserve Water

Federal guidelines mandate that the maximum flow rate of a kitchen faucet or bathroom faucet be 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). This is based upon a home water pressure of 60 pounds per square inch (psi). Many faucets today restrict it even further. A shower valve is probably where you are most aware of it.

They also Soften the Faucet Water Stream

Aerators also prevent water from splashing on you when you put something in the stream. It makes washing your hands or dishes much less messy. The bubbles in the water softens the stream.

Faucet water flow
Faucet aerator parts

Aerators Give the Appearance of Greater Water Flow

Nobody enjoys less water coming out of their faucets. Restricting the faucet water flow doesn’t have to leave you with an unsatisfied feeling. With the injected air in the faucets stream you’re left with the impression of more water flow.

Aerators Clean Debris from Faucet Water

As highly filtered and chemically enhanced as city drinking water is, it still has some debris. Sand particles from recent water service repairs can get in the pipes. And the pipes themselves can be very old and have chunks of rusty iron or copper shavings in them. The faucet aerator screens filter all this out.

Kitchen faucet repair
Aerator Removal

Maintenance of Faucet Aerators

When I took my master plumbing test it was grueling. The first question on the test had nothing to do with the proper sizing of a water piping system or correct gas pipe fittings. It asked what the first thing was a person should check when there’s a faucet water flow restriction. The answer was the aerator. It’s the quickest thing to check. The simplest solution. And the most likely culprit. Aerators get clogged with water debris, rubber from plumbing seals upstream even construction materials. Removing the aerators and either cleaning or replacing them can save a visit from the plumber. A popular brand is Danco.

Faucet Repair in Lees Summit

Aerators in faucets are a pretty simple task. I wouldn’t hire a plumber for that. But if you find that you need a new kitchen faucet installation or have a leaking shower valve that needs repair call us. Advocate Master Plumbing will send a local master plumber to your home to address any home plumbing repair or installation you need.

Older Delta Faucet Repair

The single most common faucet repair Advocate Master Plumbing performs is the older Delta faucet repair. Our plumbers have had so many customers ask them about it that I’ve decided to write a specific post about it. I’ve written about this in the past but not to the extent that I am now. I’ll describe how this faucet repair is done by your local plumbers in Lees Summit. I’m going to begin with a video. Watch it first. And I’ll then give you the step by step diy faucet repair info.

Older single handle Delta faucet repair

I’m going to discuss the most common Delta single handle faucet design. It’s important to remember that the style doesn’t mean much here. It’s only the guts of the faucet that we’ll be worrying about. You’ll find different designs and finishes for the same faucet. And I’m going to discuss the way I do it. Faucet repairs are done in various ways by professional plumbers.

older delta faucet repair
Delta RP3614 faucet repair kit

Tools and parts you’ll need

  1. Delta faucet handle repair kit RP3614 & for kitchen faucets you’ll also need RP63136
  2. Plumbers grease -Heat proof grease – Waterproof grease. All the same stuff.
  3. Mesh sand cloth
  4. Long handle pliers. Channel locks are ok. Wilde brand are best.
  5. Multi-bit screwdriver

    Delta RP63136 faucet repair kit
    Delta RP63136 faucet repair kit
  6. Hook and pick set
  7. Needle nose pliers

Step by step instructions

This is dry reading. But read the whole thing first. Then begin your project. This is how we repair faucets near you.

  1. Shut the water off. If you don’t have faucet water shutoffs or you do and they’re scary looking, just shut the water off to your whole house.
  2. Plug the sink drain so no loose parts fall down the drain.
  3. Remove the single handle. If you have a crystal handle you’ll have to pry the index button out of the middle of the handle with your screwdriver. Then remove the handle screw and then the handle. If you have a brass lever handle use the allen wrench end of the Delta faucet wrench that comes in your RP3614 repair kit to remove the allen screw at the base of the handle and wiggle it off.
  4. Remove the bonnet nut. (The dome shaped cap.) You’ll use your pliers for this. If the bonnet nut is seized, very common problem, use penetrating oil, CLR, WD40 or just a lot of elbow grease to remove it. If you still can’t get it off I’ve gently sawed the cap at it’s base and popped it open with a flat head screwdriver. But it may be easier to just replace the faucet at this point.
  5. Remove the cam and packing and ball assembly.
  6. Using the slightly angled pick remove the rubber seats and springs inside the base of the faucet.
  7. If there are any hard water deposits use your sandcloth mesh to rubbed them off. Don’t use a pick or screwdriver. You can mar the housing making it impossible to seal correctly.
  8. Lubricate the inside of the faucet housing and threads with your plumbers grease.
  9. Lubricate the new rubber seats in your handle repair kit. This will prevent cracking and allow for a better seal.
  10. Put the smaller end of each conical spring inside each rubber seat. Then put your straight pick through the top of the rubber seat and spring. Using the pick as a guide, place the end of the pick inside each seat orifice inside the faucet and slide the seat and spring in place while pulling the pick out. You may need to work it in place with your finger until it pops in place.
  11. If the old ball assembly has a straight shaft then you’ll be using the triangular cam. If it has a triangular shaft you’ll use the cam with the straight groove. Just look at your old parts. If you’re reusing your old ball assembly gently scrub any hard water deposits off with your sandcloth mesh and lubricate it with your plumbers grease. Place the ball assembly into the housing being sure to match the groove in the side of the ball assembly with the little nub on the interior housing of the faucet.
  12. Lubricate the cam and packing with your plumbers grease. Put them together and place them on top of the ball assembly. Be sure to match up the nub on the outside of the cam with the groove on the edge of the faucet housing.
  13. Put one finger through the bonnet nut and use the same finger to push and hold down the cam and packing while threading the bonnet nut on with your other hand. Try it a couple of times. You’ll get it.
  14. Reassemble handle. Turn the water back on. Test for leaks. If the cam and packing leaks at all use the Delta wrench with the 2 prongs to thread the top of the cam clockwise a little.
Older Delta faucet repair
Delta kitchen faucet parts

Delta single handle kitchen faucet vegetable sprayer

If it’s a kitchen faucet you’re repairing you may find that the vegetable sprayer isn’t working correctly. It will often get jammed up with hard water or the the rubber seals will get stuck. For this repair we’ll just dive into the middle of the previous instructions.

Before beginning step 6 you’ll want to wiggle the whole kitchen spout off the faucet housing. You’ll need to rotate it back and forth while pulling up. You’ll see two o-rings around the exterior of the faucet housing. Using your angled pick remove them. Then you’ll see a round plastic stem near the base of the front of the faucet housing. This is the diverter valve. I use needle nose pliers or my pick set to remove the old one. If there’s any hard water deposits use your sandcloth mesh to remove them. Lubricate the opening with heat proof grease. Lubricate the new diverter valve (Delta RP63136 diverter valve) Press the new valve into the faucet. Lubricate the two large o-rings and install them in the appropriate spots on the shaft. Clean and lubricate the inside of the faucet spout housing and slide it back onto the faucet housing. Then proceed to step 6 above.


Older Delta Faucet Repair Near You

This sounds like a lot. If you feel overwhelmed or just want a professional to handle it feel free to call Advocate Master Plumbing. We’ve been repairing older Delta faucets for over 27 years. We have fair pricing and don’t send salesmen into your home.