How To Repair Screeching Faucet Problems

faucet-problemsDo you have a water faucet that whines, screeches or squeals when you turn it on?

There are a few reasons why this annoying little problem occurs.

By the way, I love that my son is such a willing participant in front of and behind the camera. The photo you see is him, while the angle and expression were all his idea. Got to love him!

Is this a DIY fix-it project for able-bodied homeowners? It most certainly is, so pay attention, y’all.


My Kitchen Faucet Problem

There are several possible reasons why your plumbing is talking to you when it should be a silent servant.

First and foremost, I’m talking about pipes that whine, screech or squeal. I’m not talking about banging pipes… that is a different set of problems altogether.

Why am I talking about screeching pipes?

Because my hot water faucet (and sometimes the cold faucet) in the kitchen has been begging for attention lately and I find myself faced with yet another DIY project. I think my problem will be fairly easy to fix compared to most, though, because the noise being made is localized to my kitchen faucet.

I currently have separate hot and cold water faucet knobs on my kitchen sink and it only squeals when the hot, or cold, water is turned on at very low pressure. All that is required to silence the racket is to turn up the water pressure via the knob.

My problem will likely be solved by replacing the cartridge or stem that is located inside of the faucet handle itself. I have an older Price Pfister faucet that is original to my 23-year-old house. I guess you could say I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it, eh?


DIY Repairs For Faucet Problems

I consulted a few different websites for answers to my faucet problem and found several different reasons for the noise and some possible solutions.

Here are the top 2 things that I think might be the problem:

  • My top choice for the problem is the need to replace washers and or a valve stem. I’ve never replaced or repaired, anything on my kitchen faucet so the washers/valve stem seem likely. Washers become more flimsy over time and, therefore, do not have the same control over the water flowing by them. The water tends to control them rather than the other way around.  If the sound is occurring at the faucet, repairing this problem is a matter of shutting off the water just below the sink and let the remaining water run out by turning on the water. If the screeching is coming from inside of your wall, you will have to turn off the water that comes into the house. There should be a valve where the pipe enters the house in your basement or crawl space. Next, you’ll want to remove the decorative “H” or “C” cover, if you have them. use a Phillips screwdriver or allen wrench to unscrew the set screw. Pop off the handle. Now grab your bath socket wrench to remove the stem by unscrewing it. Remove the remaining nuts with a regular wrench. Replace all old parts with new ones.
  • If replacing the washers/stem doesn’t work, my next choice is to check the water pressure. It’s been a few years since I had a new pressure regulating valve installed (where the water enters the house located right after the whole house on/off valve). You’ll need to go to your local hardware store and pick up a pressure gauge. It should be somewhere 50-90 lbs. Mine should less than that since the valve has a tag on it that states 25-75 lbs. In order to change the pressure, all you need is an adjustable wrench. Loosen the nut on the regulating valve and tighten the bolt. Now tighten the nut down and make slight adjustments, as deemed necessary.

The other 3 things that cause screeching pipes are:

  • Air in the pipes – If you suspect this is the problem, turn your faucet on and turn off the shut off valve in your house until it runs dry. Turn your faucet off and turn the main valve back on. Did it work? If not, try one of the other remedies.
  • Sediment in the water line – This is not likely your problem but it wouldn’t hurt to remove the aerator and let the water run for a couple of minutes. Clean the screen on the aerator while you’re at it.
  • Kinks in the water line – You won’t likely hear a whining noise at your spigot if this is the problem. It will be located somewhere near the kink. Inspect the entire length of your water line and correct any problems that you may come across.

It’s fairly obvious to me what the problem is and you may find yourself in a similar situation. If not, try some of the other fixes that I’ve described. If you still have screeching pipes, delve deper into some of the sources that I’ve noted below.

You could likely save yourself some major bucks by trying these fairly simple solutions before you call a plumber, and we all know the type of rates that they charge.


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Randy Boerstler

Randy Boerstler

Writing a home building blog that chronicles new homes during different phases of construction from a consumers' point-of-view is rather unique and loads of fun. Basically, my tips are a collection of checklists for what I think should (and should not) go into building a quality home. So let's have fun seeing what's new in the housing market these days!

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  • davemorris1270

    Very interesting! 

  • Randy

    Update: My faucet fix was a 5 minute operation for both valve stems. I replaced both of them with ease as I described in the post. The only difference was that I didn’t need a bath socket wrench, but rather, a regular wrench and Philips screwdriver were all that were necessary to replace both valve stems. A very easy fix.