Kitchen Faucets Squeals When Turned On

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Do you have a kitchen faucet that makes an annoying whistling noise every time you turn it on? Well, a noisy faucet can really be annoying. The good news is that this problem can be easily fixed without having to call a plumber.

There are several reasons why your kitchen faucet may be making a squeaking or squealing noise when you turn it on. It could be due to low water pressure, mineral deposits buildup, or a loose washer. For the experienced handyman, it can only take you one hour to fix this squealing noise in your faucet.

Let's take a closer look at each of these potential causes and fixes:

Causes of a Squealing Noise in the Kitchen Faucet

Loose Faucet Washers

A loose washer or improperly sized washer inside the faucet handle is the most common cause of a squealing noise. The water pressure inside the handle forces the washer against the seat, and if it is loose, it will rattle and squeal each time you turn on the faucet.

This same problem also sounds like a horn or a wailing sound in some faucets, depending on how loose the washer is and what other parts the washer comes in contact with. If your faucet has a washerless stem, check the washer seat. This part may become clogged with debris, or the washer seat itself may need replacing.

Worn Out Faucet Stems

Worn Out Faucet Stems
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If you have an older style faucet with a washer, the problem may be with the faucet stem. Over time, the washer will wear down and become misshapen. This can cause it to leak or not seal properly against the seat, leading to a squealing noise when you turn on the water.

The loose parts scrape against metal inside the handle and cause a whistling sound that is ear piercing at times. You may be able to stop the faucet squealing noise by removing the stem and coating the stem threads with petroleum jelly.

If this doesn't work, you'll have to replace the entire stem with a brand new part. You'll require a ball socket wrench and a replacement stem for your faucet. Ensure you turn off the water underneath the sink before replacing the stem.

High Water Pressure

If you have high water pressure in your home, this could be the reason for your whistling kitchen faucet when turned on. High water pressure leads to a condition called a water hammer. The sudden change in direction and speed of the water creates a shock wave that causes pipes to bang and shake.

Check the plumbing in your home with a pressure gauge. If the reading is higher than 80psi, then you have a problem.

This banging can be so severe that it damages the pipes. If your home has high water pressure, you'll need to have a pressure regulator installed. This will help keep the water pressure at a safe level and reduce the risk of damage to your pipes.

Hot Water Squealing

If the squealing sound only occurs during the use of hot water, the issue is probably associated only with your hot water pipes or faucet parts. Either the stem valve or washer on the hot water side is loose, or something is logged inside the hot water.

Another possibility is pipe stretch. When the hot water enters the pipes, it causes expansion due to the temperature increase, and metal pipes stretch against their brackets, which causes a short squealing noise to occur. You can resolve this by replacing your pipe brackets with ones that have a little give, such as those made of rubber.

Clogged Aerator

Clogged Aerator
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If your water pressure has always been low or it decreases gradually over time, you probably have a clogged aerator. The kitchen faucet aerator is the little screen at the tip of your tap that mixes air into the water stream. Over time, mineral deposits can build up in the tiny holes of your faucet's aerator, which restrict water flow and cause a high-pitched sound when turned on.

Calcium deposits can also cause the water pressure to rise, causing the internal washer to vibrate. The shut off valve may cut off water to the entire home, so make sure the household knows beforehand so nobody is left stranded in the shower.

When unscrewing the aerator, use a rubber glove to get traction to grasp the aerator and remove it. If you can't unscrew it with your hands, use adjustable pliers to remove it.

To clean your aerator, unscrew it from the tap and soak it in vinegar overnight. In the morning, brush away any remaining mineral deposits and reattach them to the tap. Make sure you turn off the faucet's water supply before removing the aerator or washer.

Issues With Valves

If the aerator or washer is not the issue, then the valves might be causing the whistling sound. If the noise is isolated to one of the handles, such as the hot water or cold water handle, then start there. This means that the hot or cold valve is the culprit, not both.

To fix this problem, you'll need an Allen wrench or locking pliers, a screwdriver, replacement for rubber parts, and replacement for gasket springs, and vinegar. Make sure you have turned off the water supply to the faucet before disassembling.

Use the wrench or locking pliers to remove the valve retaining nut. If the nut is loose, then it could be the cause of the issue and needs to be tightened. If the nut isn't the issue, the rubber gaskets within the water inlet holes in the valve housing are likely the cause. Use the screwdriver to remove the valve.

Replace the gaskets, o rings, or any other worn rubber parts you may find. If the valve has been overtaken by mineral deposits, soak it in vinegar water before putting it back together.

Problems With the Pipes

Problems With the Pipes
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Another possible cause of a whistling noise from your kitchen faucet may be an issue with the pipes. If they have retained a buildup of scale and rust, which is a common issue with galvanized pipes, the water pressure may be affected, causing the sound.

The water pressure should fall between 50 and 60 psi or pounds per square inch. If the water pressure is too high, you may need to replace the pipes or adjust the pressure regulator. To fix the pipes problem, you'll need a pressure gauge and replacement pipe and parts.

Start by checking the water pressure with the pressure gauge. You can buy affordable pressure gauges at most hardware stores. To check the water pressure, screw the gauge onto one of your outdoor spigots.

If water pressure exceeds the normal range, you need to adjust the regulator or lower the pressure pump's cut off pressure. If you're not comfortable fixing issues surrounding the pipes and pressure pumps, call a professional plumber to fix them before the problems become more severe.

If your faucet is not facing any of these problems, yet you still hear a squealing sound, then your faucet handle or the faucet itself could be at fault. When you turn the faucet handle, it may make a high pitched, squealing whistle. If this happens, the main cause of the problem might be with the metal threads of the faucet assembly.

If this is the case, just lather both threads with petroleum jelly. This will give the right amount of lubrication to prevent the surfaces from binding. If it’s the faucet, then remove the entire faucet and replace it with some of the best faucet brands on the market. Going for the best kitchen faucet with a sprayer can give you more time with your faucet, so why not invest in one?

FAQs on Why Your Kitchen Faucet May Squeal When Turned On

Kitchen faucets make noise when the toilet flushes. Why?

The water pressure in your home may be too high. This can cause the pipes to vibrate and make noise, especially when a big load is placed on the system, like when the toilet is flushed. Your water pipes can also make noise when you’re flushing the toilet because of this high pressure.

What causes kitchen faucets to make noises?

There are several causes of noise in your kitchen faucet, including high water pressure, problems with the valves and pipes, and the problem with the aerator or washer.

Final Thought on Why Your Kitchen Faucet May Squeal when Turned on

Having a kitchen faucet in your home is a great convenience, bringing a lot of value to your property. But, as with anything else in your home, it requires some maintenance from time to time to keep it running smoothly. If you're having trouble with your kitchen faucet squealing when turned on, be sure to check the causes above and take care of the problem as soon as possible.




Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is an expert DIY home remodeler and mom to three. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her working on new home improvement projects or writing about her favorite kitchen appliances or DIY projects on Kitchen Infinity blog.

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