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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 one of several components of your shower’s plumbing. The cartridge, shower valve, or diverter valve could be going bad. Water flow through the shower head pipe could be constricted. Or there could be something wrong with the shower head itself.

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 is clogged, 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 mineral build-up due to 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 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, 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 is almost certainly 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 diverter valve changes the noise, you can bet that is contributing to the problem.

When you need help with any plumbing-related problems, you can count on Mr. Rooter® Plumbing of Central Oregon for great service. Request an estimate online or call us at (541) 239-3826.