In our mid-century-modern kitchen, we have a single-lever faucet that’s at least 15 years old. It’s nothing special; it’s a little leaky if I move the lever a certain way but it gets the j-o-b done. What really bothers me is that water shoots out the tap in a ‘split stream’ instead of a nicely aerated gush. Do I need a new faucet? Nope, I just need to spend about 15 minutes cleaning the hard water (a.k.a. calcium) deposits out of the aerator. Here’s how:

Supplies
• A dishtowel
• A crescent wrench (I grabbed one from the toolbox in the basement)
• An old toothbrush
• A dry paper towel (upon which to place the aerator parts)
• Your favorite de-liming solution (e.g., vinegar, Lime-Away, CLR, etc.)

Warning: Aerators are made of soft metal or plastic – use a wrench with great care to avoid marring or breaking the aerator.

Getting Started
1. Lay a dishtowel flat over the sink drain (in case parts are dropped during the process).

2. Remove the aerator from the faucet. Sometimes, aerators twist off easily by hand. Others require a crescent wrench to loosen. When the aerator is loosened, put down the wrench and remove the aerator by hand, taking care not to drop any parts down the drain.

Note: Take a close look at your aerator before laying on the wrench– some aerators have built-in “wrench notches” that aid in proper positioning of the wrench.

Tip: Place a soft cotton cloth between the wrench and the aerator to avoid damaging the aerator.

Cleaning the Aerator
3. Place the aerator onto the paper towel and carefully separate the parts (note the order of placement of the parts, so you can put it back together again). In the “Before” image below, the gunky buildup and calcium deposits (white flecks on the red cartridge) are clear. Note: some aerators include an o-ring; if yours has one, clean the o-ring along with other parts.

4. Using an old toothbrush (or other soft brush) and your de-liming solution of choice (a vinegar soak, CLR bathroom cleaner, Lime-Away, or similar water-deposit remover), gently clean the aerator parts. You can see the difference cleaning makes in the “After” image.

Re-Assembly
Once the cleaning is complete, re-assemble the aerator and re-attach it to your faucet. Tip: Apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the aerator threads to aid in re-assembly. Hand tighten until snug; tighten a bit further with the wrench if needed.

Water You Waiting For? Cleaning a faucet aerator is an easy DIY task that costs nearly nothing and does wonders for kitchen and bathroom morale. For more complicated plumbing needs, the professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter offer prompt, professional and courteous service – in most cases within 2 hours of our call. Use our coupons and receive 10% off the labor charge for any plumbing repair. Call today: 513-396-5300.

Dear Ray,
My garbage disposal is a Sears Kenmore 1HP model, circa 1988. It’s been reliable for years but in the past few weeks, the blades no longer rotate reliably when I flip the “on” switch. A well-placed broom handle usually loosens the motor and gets the blades going. After returning from a 2-week vacation however, the disposal has stopped working altogether. I’ve tried pushing the re-set button multiple times, but…nothing. Can it be repaired?

Sincerely, J_Dizzle65 in Dent, OH

Dear J_Dizzle65,
Congratulations on owning a Sears Kenmore disposal that lasted nearly 30 years, that’s practically unheard of. You certainly got your money’s worth out of it! Rather than repairing, however, I recommend a new model. Below are a few tips to consider.

Fitting a Disposal to Your Household Needs

When choosing a garbage disposal, there are typically four key elements to consider:

• Horsepower – Disposals, like muscle cars, require power to properly perform. The typical increments are 1, ¾, and ½ horsepower (HP). If you have a demanding household, we recommend the 1 HP models. If you enjoy grinding food waste into fine, drain-friendly particles, purchase the most horsepower you can afford. You won’t regret it.

• Grind Stages — According to a recent review of garbage disposal units by DownTheSink.com, “the more grind stages your disposer has, the finer the waste will be when it’s sent to your sewage system or septic tank.”

• Sound-deadening insulation – Look for well-insulated disposal units that minimize grinding noise.

• Price – Plan on spending anywhere from $75-315.00 (the more horsepower, the higher the price). Tip: Check prices on Amazon.com. A quick search of “garbage disposals” will return the top-selling WasteKing and InSinkErator models. The reviewers at DownTheSink.com voted the InSinkErator Evolution Excel as “Best Overall” and “will knock your socks off in terms of durability and power. Sure, it comes with an above average price tag, but you just won’t find anything better.”

Water You Waiting For? There are few things more frustrating that an kitchen appliance on the fritz, especially when it’s the garbage disposal. It’s hard to break the habit of washing food waste down the disposal drain when the disposal is broken. Next thing you know, you’ll have TWO problems: a clogged drain in addition to the non-functioning disposal. What a headache. Call the professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter today to schedule an installation for a new disposal. We’ll gladly install one that you’ve purchased elsewhere. (513) 396-5300.