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Why Is My Shower Whistling?

Turning on the shower and hearing a whistling noise coming out can be a little disconcerting. A noisy shower is anything but relaxing and, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with your plumbing system.

If you notice that your shower is playing a little tune when you turn the water on, these are some of the possible explanations:

  • Clog. If the shower head pipe – that comes out of the wall and has the shower head screwed onto it, is clogged then when water tries to get through the pipe it has a smaller hole to move through and will cause a whistling noise. This clog could be caused by a build-up of hard water, and can be cleared by disconnecting the shower head and cleaning out the shower head pipe.
  • Shower cartridge. You may need to have a professional plumber come out and replace the shower cartridge in the shower valve. Sometimes rocks and other hardware can interfere with the shower head cartridge and cause the whistling noise.
  • Shower valve. If there is anything wrong with the shower valve itself you could have a noisy shower. The shower valve works to regulate the temperature and the pressure of the water, but if it has become damaged in some way – from time and use – it could cause a noise when water passes through. This is also a job for a professional plumber.
  • Shower head. If your shower head is old, you might consider replacing it. It could just be a matter of a shower head that has broken or clogged nozzles and replacing the shower head itself will eliminate the problem. When you are shopping for new shower heads, consider those that are eco-friendly and low-flow so you also save on your monthly water bill.
  • Diverter valve. The diverter valve is the pull handle that you lift or engage to move the water from the bathtub nozzle to the shower head. If you notice a change in the sound or pitch of the whistling when you move the diverter valve, this could be the culprit.

Before you worry too much about a major problem, try to clean out your shower head pipe and replace the shower head if it is older. Also, if the divert valve changes the noise, you can bet that is contributing to the problem.