Aerators are essential fixtures fitted at the tip of sink faucets. They allow air to mix with the water, thereby reducing the amount of water flowing out. As a result, you're able to save on your water bill. Research says, aerators save approximately 16 gallons of water every day.
Unfortunately, the aerator can become faulty or dirty, requiring you to remove it for cleaning or replacement.
At times, the aerator sticks and becomes challenging to get it out. If you've got a faucet with an aerator, it's essential to know how to remove a stuck aerator.
Aerator maintenance is crucial. It prevents the accumulation of dirt or mineral deposits that make the aerator stuck when removing it. Ensure you clean the aerator frequently and replace it at least once per year for optimal results.
Before we look into the removal guide, let's find out what makes an aerator get stuck.
Reasons for a Stuck Aerator:
An aerator can get stuck because of several reasons. They include the following;
Aerators become weak with time, affecting their fitting and efficiency. If you don't replace it in time, lime or scale deposits may also accumulate, making it even harder to remove.
You will need to replace your aerator regularly if your water has minerals. If the water is soft, ensure you install a new aerator once a year.
Also, investigate whether your aerator was made with quality materials to avoid corrosion and wearing out quickly. Such an aerator should be replaced within a short time, and with a quality one.
Dirt and Debris
It doesn't matter whether an aerator is new or old. Dirt and debris will make it stick. It is the reason you are supposed to clean your aerator regularly. Debris and dirt usually block the aerator's female fitting, making it hard to remove.
Some aerators come with a material that rusts. If not cleaned regularly, the rust may accumulate, covering every part of the aerator. To remove such an aerator is like an uphill task. It also blocks the water flow entirely or partially, causing inconveniences.
If you discover your faucet's aerator can rust or has corroded, clean it with vinegar.
Hard water contains minerals like calcium that accumulate within and around the aerator. If not cleaned on time, the limescale will block the aerator and make it stuck when removing it.
Know the kind of water that flows through your faucet. If it's hard water, replace your faucet's aerator regularly. Or you can use the best bathroom faucet for hard water.
The above reasons will cause any aerator to get stuck when taking it out. But what could be the reason for removing your aerator? Homeowners remove their aerators due to the following;
Why Remove an Aerator?
If your aerator is blocked, you will need to remove it for cleaning or replacement. The blockage could be a result of dirt, debris, corrosion, or limescale.
When an aerator ages, it becomes inefficient. The wise thing to do is to replace it with a new one. It could also not work efficiently due to its design. You could decide to take the aerator out and replace it with a design that works better or suits your preference.
You can also install a new aerator if the existing one is spoilt.
When an aerator corrodes, the rust covers the aerator's passage, making it block. It interrupts the flow of the water. You will have no option but to remove the aerator for cleaning or replacement in such a case.
- Mineral Accumulation
The minerals found in hard water accumulates in the aerator with time if not regularly maintained. In return, the aerator gets blocked, restricting proper water flow from the aerator.
Any foreign matter to the aerator like rust, dirt, mineral deposits, and debris may cause the aerator to;
- Flow water in a low pressure
- Remove water from one side
- Block the water flow entirely
If your aerator is displaying any of the above signs, you will have no option but to remove it. If it gets stuck, use the following guide to take it out.
Steps to Remove a Stuck Faucet Aerator:
If your faucet's aerator gets stuck while removing it, you need not worry. It is a common problem. What's impressive is that there exist ways of removing a stubborn aerator. The methods include using;
- Your hands
- Rubber wrench
Step 1: Collect the Required Items and Materials
There exist tools that make it easy and fast to remove a challenging faucet aerator. It would help if you assembled them first. They include;
- Cache aerator key
- White distilled vinegar
- Adjustable and rubber-coated pliers
- Rubber wrench
- Soft, clean towel
- Hairdryer/heat gun
Step 2: Cover Your Sink's Drain
Aerators come with tiny parts that can easily fall down the drain. Retrieving them can be tricky. Save yourself such trouble by covering the drain. First, plug the drain hole. Then cover the entire sink's surface with a clean, soft towel.
The towel will also protect your sink's surface from any damage resulting from the falling parts or unnecessary pressure. Any dirt falling during the removal process will fall on the towel, preventing your sink from getting soiled.
Step 3: Use Your Hand to Take Out the Aerator
A stuck aerator can be removed using bare hands. You only need to have them and the faucet dry. Then hold the aerator firmly. Ensure you achieve a firm grip.
Proceed to unscrew it in the anticlockwise direction. If faced with resistance, try using a reliable rubber gripper pad and apply more strength. If it doesn't come out, proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Use Pliers
If your bare hands cannot remove the stuck faucet, try a pair of pliers. A tiny tongue-and-grip plier will do the trick.
Cover the aerator first with a masking-tape or clean cloth before gripping it with the pliers. It will prevent scratching or damaging the aerator. But if you are taking the aerator out to install a new one, there's no need to cover it.
Grab the aerator within the screw section using the pliers. Then turn anticlockwise. Try adjusting the pliers. It will help loosen the tight aerator.
An aerator gets made with thin metal. It can easily bend when grabbed too tightly. Be careful while using the pliers to avoid damaging the aerator. In case you aren't successful with the pliers, proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Use a Rubber Wrench
A grip from a rubber wrench is tighter compared to that of pliers. A rubber wrench also does not slide off easily. While holding the aerator tightly with the rubber wrench, twist it in one direction. If it does not move, try turning it in the other direction.
Mostly, a rubber wrench will work out. If not, go to the next step.
Step 6: Try Removing the Aerator Using Heat
The heat will help in loosening the aerator's tight metal. Apply it gently using a hairdryer or heat gun. Then use pliers or a rubber wrench again to remove it. If the metal has loosened properly, the aerator will come out quickly.
Remember, not all aerators are made with metal. Some come made with plastic or other synthetic materials that can melt when subjected to heat.
Before applying heat, check whether the aerator is made with a heat resistant material.
Step 7: Add Vinegar
If the aerator doesn't come out after applying heat, add some vinegar. Debris, corrosion, and mineral deposits accumulate around the aerator with time, causing it to get stuck.
Vinegar will help loosen them. Put some white vinegar in a ziplock bag and submerge the entire aerator. Allow it to soak for several hours.
Then open the faucet to help flush all corrosion, limescale, debris, and other particles settling within and around the aerator. After all the dirt is out, pick your pliers or rubber wrench and try turning the aerator again. It should work. If not, proceed to the last step.
Step 8: Use WD-40 to Remove
If all the above methods have failed, use WD-40 to remove the aerator. Ensure you ventilate the room properly before use. WD-40 comes with an irritating smell and can be allergic to some people.
Spray it directly on to the aerator screw for approximately 3 – 5 seconds. Give it some time to get absorbed by the aerator's metal. Then pick your pliers or rubber wrench and twist out the aerator.
You may have your stuck aerator out within one of the above steps. But sometimes, even applying the WD-40 does not help. In such a case, the aerator may be severely damaged either by corrosion or mineral deposits. The only solution is to call a professional plumber.
Some cases are critical to the extent of replacing the entire faucet. When it's so, it goes beyond a DIY fix. Only an expert can handle it.
As illustrated above, faucet aerators save on our water bills and allow water to flow with the correct water pressure. But these small fixtures can be inconveniencing when blocked or malfunctioning. In such scenarios, you need to remove the aerator for repair, cleaning, or replacement.
The process of removing an aerator is straightforward and quick. But as explained above, it can get stuck, making the removing process a nightmare. Fortunately, as discussed above, there are many ways of taking out a stuck faucet aerator. Follow them to the latter to have your stubborn faucet out.