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How to remove the low-flow restrictor on a tap

Updated November 21, 2016

Going green by renewing, recycling, and conserving resources is popular these days for both the good of the environment and the bank balance. One way to do this is through the conservation of water by using a tap with a low-flow restrictor included. Installed into the tap by the manufacturer, in conditions where water pressure is low, these may actually restrict the flow too much. Luckily, they are generally easy to remove from thetap.

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  1. Use pliers to carefully loosen the aerator at the flow end of the tap. Place a piece of cloth, tape or other insulating material around the end to protect the finish from direct contact with the pliers' teeth. Turn it counterclockwise to loosen it and start it along the threads.

  2. Remove the aerator after it is loose by turning it the rest of the way with your fingers. Check the aerator for damage on the outside, to the threads or to the fine screening inside. If it seems damaged at all, consider replacing it with a new one to match the tap. If it is still in good condition, set it aside.

  3. Reach a finger inside the tap and carefully pull out the rubber washer just inside the lip that helps hold the low-flow restrictor in place and reduce the risk of leaks around the aerator. If this is damaged, replace it. Otherwise set it aside as well. Pull the small plastic flow restrictor from the interior of the tap. In most cases this will look similar to a small thimble with many holes in it, but in others it will appear more like a flat screen.

  4. Push the rubber washer back into the tap. Try not to damage the washer when putting it back, but it may take a time or two to get it inserted properly. It will pop into place and be snug when it is in the right position.

  5. Carefully position the aerator under the bottom of the tap and begin screwing it clockwise onto the tap. When it is finger-tight, use the pliers to again tighten it completely.

  6. Tip

    Clean the aerator screen with a vinegar and water solution if it shows any signs of clogging. Some restrictors must be turned counterclockwise slightly to remove them.


    Putting the aerator back on crooked can damage both the aerator and tap threads, necessitating the replacement of the entire tap.

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Things You'll Need

  • Piece of cloth or tape
  • Pliers

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