What Causes a Water Faucet Squeal?

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A squealing faucet is an uncomfortable sound.
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A water faucet squeal is a very loud, screeching sound that is unmistakable but not difficult to understand or fix. The squealing sound is usually caused by loose or warn parts. For the experienced handyman, this problem only takes about an hour to fix if the parts are on hand.


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Some causes of a water faucet squealing noise are loose or improperly sized washers, damaged stems and high water pressure.

Loose Faucet Washers

A loose washer or an improperly sized washer inside the faucet often causes a screeching or squealing sound, according to HowStuffWorks. The noise occurs when water rushes past the washer making it flutter or flap in the water stream. The flapping creates a vibration that is very fast and sounds like a squeal. This same problem also sounds like a horn or a wailing sound in some faucets depending on how loose the washer is and what other parts the washer comes in contact with.


If your faucet has a washer-less stem, check the seat washer. This part may become clogged with debris, or the seat washer (or the seat itself) may need replacing.

Worn-Out Faucet Stems

The stem is the part inside the handle of the faucet containing the valve to shut off or turn on the water. A worn-out stem often leads to several problems including a loose washer or other loose internal parts that will flap around when water pushes through the stem. In either case, the loose parts scrape against metal inside the handle and cause a squealing sound that is ear piercing at times.


You may be able to stop the faucet squealing noise by removing the stem and and coating the stem threads and the faucet threads with petroleum jelly. If this doesn't work, you'll have to replace the entire stem with a brand new part. This job requires a ball socket wrench and a replacement stem for your faucet. Don't forget to turn off the water underneath the sink before replacing the stem.


High Water Pressure

Advanced Plumbing and Rooter Service notes that high water pressure will cause squealing sounds inside of faucets along with a host of other noises. The faucet is only designed to withstand and work within a certain range of water pressure. Increased pressure forces water through the inlets and spout at a faster rate than normal, causing compression sounds similar to squealing and screeching. If debris is lodged in the pipes or faucet, water rushing over the debris also causes squealing when water pressure is high.


Hot Water Squealing

If the squealing sound only occurs during the use of hot water, the issue is probably associated only with your hot water pipes or faucet parts. Either the stem valve or washer on the hot water side is loose, or something is lodged inside of the hot water pipe.


Another possibility is pipe stretch. When the hot water enters the pipes, it causes expansion due to the temperature increase, and metal pipes stretch against their brackets, which causes a short squealing sound to occur. Replacing your pipe brackets and supports or pipes is the only way to resolve this issue.