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Why Does My Faucet Make Noise When I Turn It On?

why does my faucet make noise when i turn it on

If you’ve ever turned on your faucet only to be greeted by an unexpected and unpleasant noise, you’re not alone.

Noisy faucets are a common issue in many households, and while the sounds can range from annoying to alarming, they often point to underlying problems that should be addressed promptly.

Understanding the causes of these noises is crucial for effective troubleshooting and repair, as Calgary Plumbers we have the expertise to help you!

Common Causes of Faucet Noise

Water Hammer

Water hammer is a prevalent cause of noisy faucets.

This phenomenon occurs when a valve is abruptly shut off, causing a sudden stop in the water flow. The kinetic energy of the moving water then creates a shockwave, leading to a loud banging noise in the pipes​.

Water hammer is often exacerbated by high water pressure and can cause significant damage to plumbing if not addressed.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure is another frequent culprit behind noisy faucets.

When the water pressure exceeds the recommended levels, it can cause various noises, including a high-pitched whine or whistle.

Most faucets are designed to operate at water pressures of 40-60 psi (pounds per square inch). Pressures higher than this range can strain the faucet components and lead to noise​.

Loose or Damaged Washers

Washers play a crucial role in sealing the faucet and preventing leaks. However, if a washer is loose or improperly sized, it can flutter as water rushes past, creating a squealing or screeching noise. Over time, washers can also become worn out, contributing to the noise issue​​.

Worn-out Faucet Stems

The faucet stem is a vital component that helps control the flow of water.

If the stem is damaged or worn out, it can cause various noises. A common symptom of a faulty stem is a squealing sound when the faucet handle is turned.

This noise results from the stem threads binding against the faucet body threads​.

Trapped Air in Pipes

Air trapped in the plumbing system can lead to various noises, including banging, humming, or gurgling sounds. This issue typically arises from air bubbles getting trapped in the pipes, which disrupts the smooth flow of water. Identifying and releasing the trapped air can often resolve these noises​ .

Residue Build-up

Mineral deposits and residue build-up within the faucet or pipes can restrict water flow and create noise.

68628623 – hard water calcium deposit on chrome tap

Hard water is a common cause of this problem, leading to the accumulation of limescale and other minerals. Regular cleaning of the aerator and faucet components can help mitigate this issue​​.

Diagnosing the Problem

Proper diagnosis is essential for addressing noisy faucets effectively. Start by determining whether the noise originates from the faucet itself or the pipes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you diagnose the problem:

  1. Turn off the water supply: Always start by shutting off the main water supply to avoid any water damage during inspection and repair.
  2. Inspect the faucet components: Check the washers, stems, and other internal parts for any signs of wear or damage.
  3. Check the water pressure: Use a pressure gauge to measure the water pressure in your system. Adjust the pressure if it exceeds the recommended levels.
  4. Flush the pipes: If you suspect trapped air, turn on all the faucets in your home and let the water run for several minutes to release any air bubbles.
  5. Clean the aerator and cartridge: Remove and clean these components to eliminate any mineral deposits or residue build-up.

By following these steps, you can identify the root cause of the noise and take appropriate action to fix it. Always prioritize safety by turning off the water supply before starting any repair work​

Adjusting Water Pressure

High water pressure is another frequent cause of faucet noise. To ensure your water pressure is within the recommended range (40-60 psi), follow these steps:

  1. Check the water pressure: Use a water pressure gauge, which can be attached to an outdoor faucet or hose bib. Turn on the faucet and read the pressure on the gauge.
  2. Adjust the pressure: If the pressure is too high, adjust it using a pressure-reducing valve (PRV). This valve is usually located near the main water line entry point in your home.
    • Turn off the main water supply: Before making any adjustments, ensure the water supply is turned off.
    • Adjust the PRV: Use a wrench to turn the screw on the PRV. Turning it clockwise will increase the pressure, while counterclockwise will decrease it. Aim for a pressure within the 40-60 psi range​​.

Properly adjusting your water pressure not only reduces noise but also prolongs the lifespan of your plumbing fixtures.

Repairing or Replacing Washers

Loose or damaged washers are a common source of squealing or whistling noises in faucets. Here’s how to address this issue:

  1. Turn off the water supply: Shut off the water supply to the faucet you are repairing.
  2. Disassemble the faucet: Use a screwdriver to remove the handle and access the internal components.
  3. Inspect the washers: Check the washers for signs of wear or damage. Loose washers often flutter when water passes through, causing noise.
  4. Replace or reseat the washers: If the washers are damaged, replace them with new ones of the correct size. Ensure they are seated properly to prevent any movement​​.

By replacing worn-out washers, you can eliminate the noise and ensure a smooth flow of water through your faucet.

Dealing with Worn-out Stems

Worn-out stems can cause a high-pitched squealing noise when the faucet is operated. Here’s a guide to fixing this issue:

  1. Turn off the water supply: Ensure the water supply is turned off before starting any repair work.
  2. Remove the faucet handle: Use a screwdriver to remove the handle and access the stem.
  3. Inspect the stem: Check for signs of wear or damage. If the threads are worn out, they may cause noise by rubbing against the faucet body.
  4. Lubricate or replace the stem: Apply petroleum jelly to the threads for lubrication. If the stem is severely worn, replace it with a new one​​.

Replacing a worn-out stem can resolve the noise issue and make the faucet operation smoother.

Flushing Out Trapped Air

Air trapped in the pipes can cause various noises, including banging and gurgling. To flush out trapped air:

  1. Turn off the main water supply: Shut off the main water valve.
  2. Open all faucets: Starting from the lowest point in your home, open all the faucets to drain the water and release trapped air.
  3. Turn the water supply back on: Slowly turn on the main water supply and let the water flow through the faucets. This process helps to push out any remaining air bubbles.
  4. Close the faucets: Once the air is expelled, close the faucets starting from the highest point in your home​​.

This method effectively removes trapped air, reducing the noise in your plumbing system.

Cleaning Residue Build-up

Mineral deposits and residue build-up can restrict water flow and create noise. Regular cleaning of the aerator and faucet components can help:

  1. Remove the aerator: Unscrew the aerator from the faucet spout.
  2. Soak in vinegar: Place the aerator in a bowl of vinegar for several hours to dissolve mineral deposits.
  3. Clean the cartridge: If your faucet has a cartridge, remove it and clean it with vinegar or a commercial descaler.
  4. Reassemble the faucet: Rinse the cleaned parts and reassemble the faucet​​.

By following these solutions, you can effectively address and resolve the various causes of noisy faucets, ensuring a quieter and more efficient plumbing system.

George Pinel
George Pinel

Master Plumber

I have been involved in this family owned business for 33 years now.

It has always been and will continue to be the core focus of Instant Plumbing & Heating to provide a long lasting relationship with our customers based on trust and integrity of our service and products.

This achieved by using the best quality materials. I as a business owner continue to mentor and treat my staff with the highest regard and respect, this interns helps them deliver to the client great quality workmanship and service.

It is our professional goal to leave a situation better than when we arrived both in how we do our work and in how you feel for having chosen us to do your work, we are in the anxiety reduction business using plumbing and heating service work to do it.

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