If your shower is whistling after turning it on, then it’s a sign of problems with a supply pipe or fixture. The shower supply water flows through pipes, flow restrictors, and valves before going through the showerhead.
If your shower faucet is the cartridge type, you may need to replace it with a new one to solve the problem.
If the shower faucet is the washer type, then you’ll have to do a more complex repair. For this repair, you’ll need a Philips screwdriver, socket wrench, and any other necessary tool.
If you don’t have these tools, then you should hire a qualified plumber to do the necessary repairs. Before doing any repairs, make sure you completely shut off the water supply to the shower.
Shut off the water supply from the valve along the supply pipe or somewhere in your basement.
Copper shavings, plastic fragments, and mineral deposits can easily clog the water flow restrictor or the showerhead holes. The clogs can cause the whistling sound.
You’ll need to unscrew the showerhead from the supply pipe to check whether it’s clogged with debris. Once you unscrew it, pry out a small disk you’ll find in the showerhead.
The disk is made of plastic. You can use a thin pin to poke out the deposits blocking the plastic disk. You can as well soak the entire showerhead in white vinegar (warm) for some hours. Once you let it soak, scrub it with an old toothbrush. Next, rinse the disk and the showerhead.
Flush out any remaining debris by running water from a tap through the showerhead inlet. Once done, reattach the showerhead to the supply pipe.
If the shower faucet diverter valve has a worn out or loose washer, then it may cause the whistling noise. A washer may harden or stretch out after mineral accumulation or many years of tear and wear.
Hot water may also soften the washer over time. These issues cause whistling noises as hot water runs through the faucet. You can fix this problem by replacing the washer with a new one.
Start with removing the handle of the faucet. Then remove the escutcheon plate. Next, remove the stem. Once done, you’ll be able to locate the washer.
Remove the washer and carry it with you to a local hardware store and buy a matching replacement. If this seems quite challenging, hire a qualified plumber to assess the condition of the washer and replace it if necessary.
As water flows through narrow pipes, its pressure increases and flows faster. Buy a water pressure gauge from your local hardware outlet.
Use it to test the water pressure level at the supply pipe leading to your shower faucet. In case the pressure exceeds 70 psi, then you should lower the water pressure by installing a slightly wider pipe than the existing once.
For instance, if the pipe is ½ inch in diameter, replace it with a ¾ inch pipe. A wider pipe will reduce the water pressure and stop the whistling noise.
While whistling noises often occur when turning on a shower, the issue may also emanate from the home’s supply pipes. As water flows to the shower, worn-out washers or valves or mineral deposits along the pipes may produce whistling noises.
Such a deep-rooted problem may require the services of a qualified plumber. The plumber will replace the valves or washers, flush the pipes to reduce the buildup of mineral deposits, or relieve pressure from the water heater by installing an expansion hot water tank.
Insulating the pipe can also reduce noise from the supply pipes and enhance energy efficiency along the hot water supply pipes.