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My upstairs shower is causing a high-pitched whistling sound when it's running and there is a showerhead attached. If I remove the showerhead, but keep the water flowing, the whistling noise stops. It might have something to do with the faucet handles, but I'm not sure. This has happened with different types of showerheads. Also, when the shower is running and I turn the sink on and off (which is next to the shower), the whistling noise will change pitch.

Any ideas?

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2 Answers 2

Water pressure:

This could be caused by higher than normal water pressure, that's why the noise changes when you turn on the sink (you reduce the flow to the shower).

You could adjust the Pressure Reducing Valve for the whole house (if you have one), or install one on the line to the shower.

Reducing Washer:

In most newer shower heads, there is a washer that reduces the water flow to save water.

Removing this washer and replacing it with a normal one should fix the problem (but then you'll be "wasting" water).


This might also be caused by the diverter (the mechanism that diverts the water to the shower head, rather than the tub spout), if the valve is not functioning properly it could cause noise as the water passes through it. This may be accompanied by a small amount of water still flowing from the tub spout when the shower is on (basically it could be creating a "water whistle", similar to how a flute works but with water instead of air).

Replace the diverter.

Loose Pipes:

The noise could be increased by improperly secured plumbing, as the pipes are allowed to resonate freely.

Properly fastening the pipes using clamps, may reduce the sound.

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I'll pop out the washer in the shower head and see if that helps. I should mention that my water pressure is actually lower than normal, due to massive water main problems in Houston because of the drought. –  AgDrumma07 Sep 6 '11 at 17:35
Does it make noise when the pressure is not low? –  Tester101 Sep 6 '11 at 17:40
Yes, though not as much. My water pressure has been fluctuating a lot lately. –  AgDrumma07 Sep 6 '11 at 17:52
I removed a rubber washer and smaller, plastic washer from the shower head and no more whistling! I guess the shower head didn't get along with the plumbing. Thanks for the tip! –  AgDrumma07 Sep 8 '11 at 19:32

The high pitched squeal is coming from the diverter valve inside the tub spout. A new one is about $12 at home depot. There are a couple of types of spouts so take off the old one first and see which kind of pipe it fits on.

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-1 because this doesn't add anything that wasn't already mentioned in the previous answer, and because you specify that it "is" a specific problem rather than "could be" a problem and how to test it. –  BMitch Feb 13 '13 at 12:04

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