Why Does My Shower Squeal? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

You had a good night’s sleep, and now it is time to take a bath in the morning. You turn on your shower, and you hear a squealing/high-pitched/whistling sound. While the sound may not be a bother, it is a telltale sign that your shower has a problem that needs urgent fixing.

There are many things that may cause your shower to squeal. Some of these causes include a clogged shower head, high water pressure, a faulty shower valve, too narrow pipes, and pipe leakages. Other potential culprits include a faulty water heater, a blocked shower cartridge, a worn-out diverter valve, and a too old plumbing system.

The following section covers a detailed look at these causes. Plus, this article will provide you with insights on how to address each cause. So take a dive and discover more about why your shower may squeal.

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Causes and Solutions of a Squealing Showerhead

The following are some of the causes of showerhead squealing and their solutions.

Clogged Showerhead

The water in your home carries minerals. As it flows through the showerhead pipe, the mineral gets deposited there. Over time, these deposits build up (this does happen), causing clogging in the pipe.

Clogging makes it difficult for water to flow through the shower system smoothly, affecting the showerhead nozzles. Therefore, the squealing sound you hear could result from water trying to force its way through the clogged, narrow shower head pipe and nozzles.

Thankfully, fixing a clogged shower head is as simple as ABCD. Simply unscrew the showerhead and clean the pipe. Use a toothbrush for this particular task.

As for the shower nozzles, soak the showerhead in a dash of white vinegar for a few minutes to remove the deposits. Don’t you have white vinegar? Don’t worry, as hot water could also work well.

You may also want to use a toothbrush on the nozzles just to ensure no stubborn deposits remain behind. Finally, if you can’t unclog your shower using these methods, simply replace it with a new one.

Tip: While cleaning the buildup is a good solution to a squealing shower, that’s only a short-term remedy. If you’re looking for a long-term solution, then install a water softening system.

A water softening system will ensure that only mineral-free, soft water passes through your plumbing system. This remedy, however, comes at an extra cost.

Faulty Shower Valve

When taking a shower, you always want water at the right temperature; it should not be too cold or too hot. That right temperature is the work of the shower valve.

Like any other item, the shower valve wears out over time, resulting in a squealing sound. A quick fix would be to replace the old shower valve with a new one.

While you may replace the valve yourself, it’s always a good idea to seek the help of a plumbing expert. That works well, especially if you don’t have experience in plumbing. Remember, you want to get it right without causing damage to your shower system.

Pipe Leakages

Leakages in your plumbing system are yet another problem that can cause your showerhead to squeal. One of the most common causes of pipe leakages is high water pressure.

To know if your plumbing system has leakages, check if your ground or walls where the pipes pass are getting wet. If leakages are not fixed, they can damage your plumbing system and your house as well. Besides, you may have to foot a huge utility bill because part of the water will go to waste.

The best way to fix a leaking plumbing system is to call a plumber. Remember, this can be a huge task, especially where a wall or ground has to be dug to replace the leaking pipe. However, once the leakage is detected and fixed, your shower should be okay. Check this out if your shower valve is leaking behind the wall.

Faulty Water Heater

A faulty water heater is still a potential cause of a squealing shower. Does your shower whistle only when hot water passes through it? If that’s the case, then there may be some defect in your water heater.

Try cleaning your water heater. If the problem persists, then it may be time to involve an expert. If the plumber doesn’t fix the issue, he may recommend replacing your water heater.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure is perhaps the last thing you may ever think of as far as causes of a squealing showerhead are concerned. But, nevertheless, expect it to cause shower problems.

Of course, water pressure in your home may change because someone tampered with your main pressure valves. That causes the pressure to be too high or to be too low. Too high water pressure will cause your shower to whistle because the water has to move out of the shower at a very high speed.

You can fix this problem by simply adjusting your water system’s main pressure valve. Do this by turning the knob clockwise. Just ensure you don’t tighten the knob too much, as this may shut down the water supply completely.

In trying to fix this problem, you may realize that the pressure valve is damaged. Unfortunately, that’s the time you will need to enlist the services of a plumber.

An alternative to pressure adjustment would be to install a pressure regulator. The regulator will keep the water pressure in your home in check at all times, no matter if someone tampers with your main pressure valve or not.

Too Narrow Pipes

The narrower the pipe, the higher the pressure and vice versa. This is simple physics. If the pipe that supplies water to your shower system is too narrow, then you should expect very high pressure in your shower system,

Narrow pipes may result in shower head squealing. If you suspect that this could be the culprit, you can simply call a plumber to replace the pipe that supplies water to your shower system.

If you’re using a half-inch pipe, for instance, you could replace that with a one-inch pipe. That should be able to put the problem to bed.

Blocked Shower Cartridge

Forget about the cartridges you see in printers; shower systems have cartridges. This part of the shower is responsible for regulating the water flow that comes out of the showerhead. Cartridge clogging can result from such things as water mineral deposits and the building up of debris.

Since a shower cartridge is located inside the shower valve, fixing this problem may be a huge task. As such, invoking the help of a plumbing expert may be inevitable. However, this will ensure that you don’t tamper with other parts of your shower system to fix the problem.

The plumber will remove the cartridge, clean and fix it back, or he will advise you to purchase a new cartridge. However, the latter fix is the best option, even though it may require you to spend more than you would if you were cleaning the cartridge. Find out how you can tell that your shower pan is leaking.

Damaged Diverter Valve

Do you have a shower that also serves as a bathtub? If the answer is yes, then it probably features a diverter valve. This diverter valve is a handle that you turn to switch between the showerhead and the tub faucet.

With time, the diverter valve may wear out, needing replacement. To find out if the valve is worn out, try to adjust the handle; you should be able to hear a squealing sound.

If that happens, the best remedy is to purchase a new converter valve and fix it. But, like many plumbing issues, this could be a tricky one, and you will need a plumber’s help.

Too Old Plumbing System

For instance, if you’re moving to an old house, the chances are that the house has an old plumbing system. You will find that such a system has pipes that have narrowed as a result of mineral deposits.

If that’s the case, then your shower is most likely to produce a squealing sound. This problem calls for a total overhaul of the entire plumbing system.

Related Questions

Why Does My Showerhead Squeal?

Your showerhead will squeal if there is too much pressure in the plumbing system. Other potential causes may be faults in the showerhead itself.

How Do I Fix My Squealing Showerhead?

The remedy you will apply for your squealing showerhead will depend on what is causing the problem. So find out the cause of the problem first and address that.

Do You Need to Hire a Plumber?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Final Thoughts

A squealing showerhead can be a nuisance. As such, you will want to fix the problem as quickly as possible. In trying to fix this problem, the first thing you want to do is to disconnect the water supply to the system. Then, you can either turn off the main valve or turn off the valve, which supplies water to your shower system.

Another important tip is taking advantage of a professional plumber. While there are fixes that don’t need previous plumbing experience, there are those that call for a plumbing expert. This expert will ensure not only effectiveness but also efficiency in addressing your shower problem.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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