The hot water tap in my kitchen whistles quite loudly when it is in a certain pressure range -- at very low and high pressures it is fine, but within the sweet spot it whistles away.

It also seems to have a mind of its own, where it will turn itself anti/counter-clockwise (to higher pressure) without me touching it. It can become quite annoying (and dangerous!) when washing dishes as suddenly the water will become hotter because the hot water tap has turned itself to a higher pressure.

The cold water tap is unaffected by this.

I recently had my hot water system replaced because it was leaking, but this didn't make a lot of difference to the behaviour.

Other than getting a plumber out, is there any way I can figure out why this is happening?

1 Answer 1


Per Tester101's answer a bit more information

There are two main types of valves - washer and cartridge. In the washer type, the stem of the valve (the part topped by the handle) moves up and down on a thread. It has a washer at the bottom that, when closed, presses agaisnt the seat of the valve stopping the water. The higher the stem raises the washer, the more water that flows.

In a cartridge type faucet, the stem twists without rising. The water flows through holes in the cartidge and the body of the valve. The more the holes are aligned, the more water flows.

It sounds like you have a washer type. The tension on the stem, which controls how easy it is to turn, is usually controlled by a large nutlike cap that fits over most of the stem. The thin shaft of the stem comes through a hole in the center of this cap. The cap can usually be adjusted by tightening and this should make the stem slightly harder to turn. It should also prevent the stem from turning on its own due to water pressure. Tighten the cap by turning it clockwise a very small amount.

Occasionally water temperature can change as the washer heats up or cools down. This is usually found on much older washers and faucets, but can often be fixed by opening the stem and changing to a modern washer.

  • 1
    +1 with a caveat, when washers in hot water valves heat up, they tend to reduce the hot water flow, not increase it.
    – BMitch
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 13:16
  • Like BMitch says.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 13:21
  • 1
    Whistling is caused by some slightly loose part vibrating as water flows past. Replacing the washer and/or tightening the stem packing could resolve this symptom as well.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 23:11

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