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How to Do Faucet Repairs

How to Silence a Noisy Faucet

Faucets can scream, whistle, or chatter when you turn them on or off. There are several possible causes for these ear-shattering phenomena. If your house is newly built, you may have pipes that are too small to allow the water to pass through them properly. Similarly, pipes in older homes can become restricted by the formation of scale, indicated by a noisy faucet. In either case, you must replace the pipes to get rid of the noise, which is not really a quick fix.

Most likely, however, your noisy faucet is caused by a washer that is either the wrong size or is not held securely to the stem. Turn off the water supply before starting on this or any other faucet repair job. Replacing the washer or tightening it should eliminate the noise. If the faucet still makes noise, check the washer seat. The seat can become partially closed with residue, and the restricted water flow can cause whistling or chattering. If this is the case, clean the seat.

A squealing noise heard when you turn the faucet handle means the metal threads of the stem are binding against the faucet's threads. Remove the stem, and coat both sets of threads with petroleum jelly. The lubrication should stop the noise and make the handle easier to turn. Of course, if the stem threads or faucet body threads have become worn, the resulting play between them causes vibration and noise in the faucet. In this case, you'll need more than just lubrication to quiet the faucet.

Install a new stem, and see if the noise stops. If not, the faucet body threads are worn, and the only solution is a completely new faucet. Fortunately, the stem usually wears first. But even if you must replace the entire faucet, the job is fairly easy. It's examined in detail in the next section.