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Why Does the Shower Whistle?

Stop The Shower Squealing Once and For All

Does your shower shriek like a banshee that’s been banished? It’s quite a pitch and does not make for a relaxing shower experience, that’s for sure. Not the type of whistling that you do when you’re happy or working on a project. Instead, it’s more like a whining sound that makes you want to grab the towel and run in the opposite direction.

First, let’s unpack the very basics of how your shower functions, as that can be a clear indicator of why your shower seems so angry.

How a Shower Works

Behind the wall of your shower, pipes are leading up to the valve that you turn when you want the shower to turn on. A hot water pipe comes up into one side of the valve while a cold water pipe comes up into the other side to both meet in the middle of the valve.

The valve’s job is to mix the hot and cold water, so it comes out of the spout and/or showerhead at a comfortable temperature.

5 Reasons Your Shower is Whistling

There are several potential reasons you can’t enjoy a peaceful shower. Here are the most common causes and how you can address them.

  1. The Dreaded Clog

A solid place to start determining the source of your shower noise is by uncovering any clogs. Clogs are causing your water to push through smaller openings, creating more pressure, which can result in a whistling sound. Unfortunately, there are a few locations that can clog. Fortunately, we’ve got them broken down:

Shower Head

You might be able to spot the problem right off the bat by looking closer at the nozzles on the shower head where water pours out. Do you see a few that are plugged up? If so, that seemingly minor clog could be the culprit.

Solution: Hopefully, you’re not too attached to that specific shower head because it may be time to send it to retirement. If the clog is visible and minor, you can give it a clean to free up the nozzles, which might solve your problem. But if the shower head is old and has years of limescale buildup, it might not be possible to salvage.

Shower Pipes

In this type of situation, shower pipes are referring to the piece of the pipe you can see, which is attached to your shower head. If you’ve ruled out a clog in your shower head, remove the head and check for clogs within the pipe.

Solution: Use warm white vinegar to clean out as much of the pipe as you can. Carefully turn the pipe upside down (once the shower head is taken off), pour some vinegar into the pipe, and let it sit for a few hours before flipping it back over and flushing out any buildup.

  1. The Valves Wore Out

Clogs can be a weekend project for some homeowners to handle. But, if you’ve determined a clog isn’t your issue, the problem may be more significant.

There are three types of valves that showers can have: Handle valves, shower cartridges, and diverter valves. Naturally, over time, they wear out and require replacement. You’ll want to call in a plumber to handle the valve swap to avoid creating an expensive or dangerous mistake since this work happens behind the walls of your shower.

Handle Valve

Whether you have one or two handles in your shower, they have a valve that controls the amount of water released.

Shower Cartridge

A shower cartridge performs a function similar to the handle valve that controls water temperature. Cartridges can wear out with time and can become bogged down with sediment.

Diverter Valve

If you have a combination shower and bathtub, you will have a diverter valve. The diverter valve is the lever on your tub spout that you pull to let the water run from the shower head.

  1. Too Much Water Pressure

When water flows through a pipe, the size of the pipe dictates the amount of pressure that the water creates. A narrower pipe can cause the high pitch of noise you hear as you’re getting clean.

Solution: You can rid yourself of the noise by replacing your narrow pipe with one that’s a bit larger.

  1. A Washer Has Had Enough

Sometimes, all it takes is one old washer to wear out in the diverter valve to cause noise. Years of use typically cause mineral accumulation and stretch or harden the washer (typically made from rubber), lending to it not working as it should.

Another way for the washer to wear out is through the hot water side of your shower. The water temperature can soften a washer, also causing whistling sounds.

  1. Your Water Supply Line Needs Attention

Though you hear the noises from your shower while it’s running, the water flowing through the supply line across mineral deposits or worn components can also cause whistling sounds.

Solution: If you suspect that your problem is deep within your water supply line, you can have a professional plumber perform a thorough inspection to determine if this is the cause. The plumber may then present you with a few options such as:

  • Replacing washers and valves
  • Conducting an acid flush to remove buildup
  • Providing pipe insulation

You shouldn’t have to search for headache relief after every shower. Sometimes, the problem is a quick fix that you might feel comfortable tackling. If not, the professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Memphis are available to help put a stop to the squealing. Even if you don’t mind the noise too much, it’s important to address the situation upfront and avoid more problems in the future. Help is on the way when you call (901) 410-5706 for a whistling shower.