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Why Faucet Makes Whining Noise? How to Fix Indoor & Outdoor faucet?

Outdoor and indoor faucet makes whining noise
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Are you facing the issue of getting whining noise from the faucet? Does it irritate you?

You are not alone; many people might have experienced this issue in their homes at some point of time or other.

Getting rid of this annoying feeling by hook or crook is what comes to mind if the problem is profound.

If you are looking for ways to come out of this noise problem, you are at the right place!

Actually, there can be one or more solutions to the problem in question, finding the right one will help in fixing it.

What is Whining Noise From a Faucet?

Basically, any source of vibration in the water system causes whining noise. Something has to vibrate, for it to occur.

If the faucet makes whining noise only after turning ON, the problem might be there in the faucet itself, but if the faucet makes this noise even in turned OFF condition, then the problem may be due to high water pressure in the system.

Here we will discuss in detail about the various root cause of this whining noise and solutions to tackle it if you follow some easy sequence of steps.

Let’s check them out and see what works for you.

What Causes the Whining Noise in The Faucet and How To Fix It?

Fixing Outdoor Faucet

 Replace Worn-Out Washer

Actually, the solution to this problem maybe incredibly simple like just replacing the worn-out rubber washer of the faucet valve.

These washers are seated on the valve seat stem. Outdoor faucet is also called as a spigot.

If the faucet is pretty old, then there is a chance that, due to prolonged usage of a faucet, the rubber washer gets degraded and worn out.

If it does, it can get unseated and moves up and down from its secured position on stem when the water flows through it and causes vibration, which is what you hear as whining noise.

It’s easy to replace this washer with a new one. Once replaced, it will hold on to its position and the problem will vanish.

Faucet Worn-Out Washer Replacement

Steps To Replace The Worn-Out Washer

Below are some steps to replace the washer:

  1. Stop the main water supply valve
  2. Remove the retaining nut of the faucet by wrench tool.
  3. Remove the faucet handle and look for a washer and disassemble it from the stem and replace it with a new one.
  4. Reassemble the handle stem and check whether the noise problem is solved after opening the main water supply valve.

Rubber washers are usually available in all hardware stores, look for similar-looking ones.

If the faucet is not too old and the condition of washer seems ok, the washer may not be the issue.

Sometimes the washer is secured in place by a screw, check whether the screw is tight enough to keep the washer in its place, if not, tighten it gently, ensure you are not over-tightening it.

If required, you may apply thread locker or similar products to the screw threads to avoid the self-loosening of the screw.

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Suspect High Water Pressure for Whining Noise?

Why not? Have you got older pipes?

Then check the valve seat. The seat can become partially closed with residue and scaling due to the deposition of calcium and other minerals from water onto the valve seat.

This restricts water flow and increases the water pressure and create vibration which can cause a whining noise.

In such case, soak the valve seat thoroughly, maybe overnight with vinegar or CLR, but don’t soak the washer otherwise, it will disintegrate.

If the residue sediment particles are brown or red in color, the upstream pipes may be rusty, you may need to inspect and replace the pipes if required.

Noise Problem Can Originate From Upstream Fittings

1.Expansion Tank Problem

If you have got an expansion tank along with the water heater, the water logging in the outlet pipe would also cause vibration and noise. So, ensure that the expansion tank is not waterlogged & doesn’t need replacement.

2.Water Heater Problem

If you don’t have an expansion tank, the problem may lie at the check valve on your main water inlet. When the water is heated, it expands and puts pressure on the check valves. Opening and closing of worn-out check valves cause vibration and noise.

We will notice pressure surge when pressure relief valve on the water heater starts leaking. Supply pipes don’t expand much, so any little expansion of water increases the pressure drastically until somebody relieves it.

That is why you might have observed that the noise goes off, if somebody uses any other faucet in the home.

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3.Pressure Relief Valve Problem

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If you have a pressure relief valve attached to the outdoor faucet and if it’s dripping continuously, then it indicates either the pressure relief valve is worn out and damaged or high supply pressure in the water system.

What happens is that the pressure relief valve is opening and closing rapidly to relieve the pressure. When you open any valve in the home, you’ve provided an outlet, and the pressure drops enough so that that valve won’t open to relieve it.

If there is no other usage of water in the home, the pressure increases & pressure relief valve open & releases excess pressure.

That fluttering of the valve can make some irritating whining noise.

Replace the pressure relief valve with a pressure reduction valve, with that you can control and maintain the pressure and it also will help in preventing the water from getting wasted in case of pressure relief valve due to excess pressure.

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Have You Checked and Controlled Water Pressure?

Turn OFF the faucet and if you still get whining or squealing noise, then it is time to check the water pressure.

Turn off the main valve, attach a pressure gauge to one of faucets or outlet hose bib arrangement.

Different pressure gauges are available in the market, look for one which has 2 needles (red and black) one will show the max. pressure clocked in a particular time and the other shall show the real-time water pressure.

We can’t continuously monitor the pressure throughout the day. Isn’t it? need to consider the highest of the two readings.

If the pressure gauge reads higher than 80 psi, you need to turn it down to approximately 60 PSI. For that, you must have a pressure regulator valve (PRV), which helps in reducing the pressure as per need.

But if it is lower than 60 PSI, as long as you are ok to live with reduced pressure or water outflow, it should not be a problem.

If you have already got pressure reduction valve, then turn the adjusting nut clockwise to increase the pressure and anticlockwise to reduce the pressure.

Watts 0009257 LF25AUB-Z3 Water Pressure Reducing Valve, 3/4-Inch

If you have a well in the upstream, turn down the pressure on the jet pump.

Usually whining noise is the sign of probable future water hammer issue. If you feel that the pipes are vibrating and shaking, the problem could be that the pipe are not supported properly.

Ensure that the pipes are rigidly mounted at sufficient intervals, so that the pipe itself doesn’t vibrate due to high water pressure thereby preventing whining noise.

Also check whether the pipe holding straps are not loose, especially at the elbows or T-joint support locations, and ensure that the bolts are tightly fastened to the support.

If required, you can use rubber padding at the screwing points to damp the vibrations and the noise.

Vacuum Breaker in the Water System May Create Problem

Faucet Vacuum Breaker

Repair Or Replace Faucet Vacuum Breaker

The function of the vacuum breaker in the main water supply line is to prevent the back flow of water towards the main supply line.

It allows the water to flow in only one direction into your home but prevents flow in the reverse direction. It is generally installed after the intersection connection point for incoming water and the wastewater.

When the main water supply gets burst/break or when the fire hydrant is being used, the pressure drops in the main supply line.

This causes the water to flow in the reverse direction and if there is no vacuum breaker then supply to wastewater (like garden use (fertilizers, pesticides), soaps from dishwasher/sinks, human waste) will be reversed and opposite flow contaminates the main supply line.

After some period of use, because of the general wear & tear of parts, loosening happens on the poppet and its seat and clearances would increase between the sealing interface.

When that happens, it may vibrate. This could be the whining sound that you would be hearing. Ensure that you inspect and repair/replace the vacuum breaker assembly and lubricate the housing that the poppet is in.

This will help in getting rid of the whining noise. If you are deleting this part itself from the water system, then ensure that you just won’t be hooking up above mentioned wastes to the main water supply line, so you don’t run the chance of contaminating the water supply in the absence of vacuum breaker.

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Fixing Indoor Faucet

Here there are 2 cases to focus upon. One is indoor faucets usually has service valves underneath the sink and the second is faucet itself has inbuilt valves beneath the faucet handle.

Check the condition of the valve washer in both cases, as explained earlier, and replace it, if it seems worn-out.

 Check Out Service Valves

Looking for how to fix service valves, if you have got one? here we go!

Many times, we unknowingly disturb and keep the service valves settings in a partially closed condition, the restricted flow of the water creates vibration and causes whining noise. Ensure that the service valves are fully open for unrestricted water flow.

This more often happens in case of service valves, which has to be turned 4 to 5 no. of times to close. It is better to go for ball-type valve or quarter-turn valves which don’t require washers for its operation. Thus, avoiding one potential failure mode. Isn’t it?

Inspect Inbuilt Faucet Valves

The inbuilt valve in the faucet itself can be the culprit for creating whining noise. This valve is retained in its place by retaining nut.

If the retaining nut is found loose, all you need to do is simply tighten the nut, if the problem is not solved, then remove it and you can disassemble the entire valve assembly with washer O-ring.

Most of the time, these indoor faucets have provision for both hot and cold water. To confirm whether the problem lies in the faucet valve assembly or the washer attached to it, you may interchange the washer of the hot and cold-water valve assembly.

After exchanging, if the whining noise problem disappears, you have got it! The Problem is in the washer. If not, then go for the entire valve assembly replacement.

Normally in case of faucets with hot & cold-water provision, valves come in a pack of 2. Hence even if one of the valves has a problem, you may need to replace both depending upon the manufacturers offering or you need to replace faucet itself.

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Does The Faucet Aerator Whining/Whistling?

Maybe. Having aerators for water spray also restricts the water flow path & increases the water pressure resulting in whining noise. If you have one, try removing it or pick the one which has a larger diameter hole in it for easy flow of water.

Wrapping Up

Many a time we complicate the problem and look for an expensive solution like replacing the entire faucet assembly which makes noise.

Before you attempt one, it is worth to try hands-on above mentioned practice. More often the issue lies just in front of our naked eyes, but we don’t recognize it until we come across some hints and know-hows for solving the problem.

So next time, when you face faucet whining noise-related problems, don’t hesitate to fix the problem yourself with the learnings we had so far.

I am sure that you will spot the flaw and fix the nail on the forhead!




Image credit: Natalia Wilson