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Why Does My Shower Whistle?

Did you open your shower one day to a loud, high-pitched whistling sound? If so, your first reaction may have been fright or confusion. After the initial shock subsides, you’re probably wondering why your plumbing fixture is making this strange noise.
Our experts at MT Drains and Plumbing are here to set the record straight and help answer the question, “Why does my shower whistle?”. Let’s go over the potential causes of this plumbing phenomenon.

Water Pressure Imbalance

One common reason for a whistling shower is water pressure imbalance. If you feel the pressure throughout your entire system has increased, you may need to replace or install a water pressure regulator. This device helps keep the pressure at safe and consistent levels, preventing damage to your plumbing fixtures.

The average tankless water heater supplies a few liters of water per minute. That is enough water for a shower or bath for one person.

Faulty Showerhead

Even the most durable showerheads can eventually succumb to wear and tear. Over time, the holes or channels that release water from the showerhead can become blocked or restricted. When this happens, it causes the water to build up pressure before being released, resulting in a whistling noise.
In most cases, you can clean the fixture with white vinegar to remove any mineral deposits causing the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to remove the showerhead entirely and get a replacement.

Supply Pipe Issues

If you’re thinking, “Why does my shower whistle?” it’s also worth considering whether there are any issues with your plumbing supply pipes. These connections bring water into your home from the municipal water system.

Over time, these pipes can become loosened, damaged, or blocked, which can cause several problems, including low water pressure and strange noises like whistling or banging. Call a professional plumber to have them checked out if you think your plumbing supply pipes might be the issue.

pipe mostly blocked due to limescale buildup

Limescale Buildup

Sadly, mineral deposits or limescale buildup doesn’t just clog up your showerhead. It can also accumulate inside the valves, pipes, and other areas of your plumbing system. This can create several issues, including poor water pressure and a high-pitched whistling noise.

If you see white, chalky deposits on your shower fixtures, it’s a good indication that you have limescale buildup. It’s crucial to have a professional plumber remove it as soon as possible. Otherwise, it could cause severe damage to your system over time.

To help prevent future issues and save money in the long run, we recommend investing in these long-term solutions:
  • Ion exchange water softeners. Water softeners employ a process called “ion exchange” to remove minerals from your water. This helps prevent limescale buildup and keeps your plumbing system running smoothly.
  • Water filtration systems. While filtration systems don’t change your water’s mineral content, they trap contaminants like dirt, sand, and rust to limit potential damage to your plumbing fixtures.
  • Reverse osmosis systems. Reverse osmosis treatments force water through a semipermeable membrane, removing minerals, contaminants, and impurities. This results in clean, safe water for your home.
To learn more about limescale buildup Click Here.
shower head and faucet

Worn-Out Faucet Handle Valve

When our clients ask us, “Why does my shower whistle?” one of the first things we check is the faucet handle valve. Over time, the washer (a small rubber or metal disc) inside the valve can become worn out.
This component controls the amount of hot and cold water that flows into your shower to match the set temperature. When it’s not functioning correctly, it can create a whistling noise.
Unless you’re an expert in plumbing, we recommend calling a professional to handle the issue for you. Our experts can determine whether to replace the washer inside the valve or replace the whole fixture.

Old Diverter Valve

Does your shower double as a bathtub? If so, it likely comes with a diverter valve. This component controls the water flow, redirecting it from the tub spout to the showerhead.
Like any other plumbing part, this valve can become worn out or damaged over time. You can tell that it needs replacing if you hear a loud squeal whenever you adjust its handle.
To learn how to replace a shower diverter Click Here.
A gas tankless water heater is more powerful than an electric heater.

Hot Water Squealing

When you’re wondering, “Why does my shower whistle?” hot water is another potential culprit. This issue can manifest in different ways, including:
  • Faulty hot water pipes or faucets. Does the sound only occur when you use hot water? The problem might stem from a loosened hot water valve or lodged pipe.
  • Pipe stretch. Whenever hot water travels through your pipes, it causes them to expand slightly. If there’s not enough room for this expansion, it can cause a loud squealing noise.
  • Ill-maintained water heater. When you turn on your shower, the water heater kicks into gear to heat the water. If the water heater doesn’t receive regular upkeep, it can start to malfunction and make strange noises.

Clogged Shower Cartridge

Most modern showers have a shower cartridge, a replaceable component that regulates water flow. When this part becomes clogged, it can cause low water pressure and a high-pitched noise.
If you suspect your shower cartridge is the problem, you can remove it and clean it with white vinegar. Keep in mind that this part lies inside the wall behind your shower, and even the most minor mistakes can lead to serious leaks. We recommend calling our professionals to handle the repairs to avoid costly water damage down the road.

Need Some Professional Assistance?

A squealing shower might seem like a minor annoyance, but it could point to a more pressing issue with your plumbing. If you can’t figure out the source of the noise, or if DIY solutions don’t work, get in touch with our experts at MT Drains and Plumbing. We have the experience and knowledge to solve the problem and provide an effective solution.
In some cases, we might need to replace a faulty component or part of your plumbing system. In others, a simple repair might do the trick. Either way, we’ll make sure your shower is back to working order in no time.

We hope that we’ve answered your question, “Why does my shower whistle?”. Our team always puts our customers first, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need more help. Call us at (905) 761-5551 to schedule your service in Vaughan, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Markham, Newmarket, Etobicoke, ON, and nearby areas.


Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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