Why Does My Kitchen Faucet Squeal? (Causes & Fixes)

Does your kitchen faucet is making a squealing noise every time you turn it on or off? Well, a noisy faucet can really be irritating.

But don’t worry, the good news is, you can easily solve this problem without calling a plumber. The problem will usually take as little as an hour to fix it.

So, if your kitchen faucet is making a squealing noise then the reason could be a loose or worn-out washer, faucet stem, clogged aerator, and high water pressure.

In this article, we explained the causes of a squealing kitchen faucet and also gave the solution.

What Causes A Kitchen Faucet To Make A Squealing Noise

Loose Or Worn Out Washers

Washers are found below the faucet stem and due to regular use of the faucet they become worn out.

So if your faucet is making a squealing noise, the reason could be a worn-out washer or if the size of the washer is not correct then also it will create a noise.

So whenever you turn on your faucet the water passing through the washer will cause it to vibrate or flap against the seat. These vibrations are so fast that it produces a squealing noise.

To fix it, you’ll have to replace the washer with a new one.

But make sure that, while purchasing the new washer buy the exact size or else it will create a squealing noise.

If your kitchen faucet has a washer-less stem, check the seat washer. They can become partially closed with residue, due to which the flow of water will create noises.

If this is the case, then clean the seat washer to fix the problem. Although, if cleaning doesn’t work replace the seat washer with a new one.

Faucet Stem

If you are hearing the squealing noise after turning on the faucet handle, the faucet stem is the main cause of the problem.

When metal threads of stem scrape against faucet threads, it leads to ear-piercing noise.

To fix the problem you will have to coat both the threads of the faucet and stem with petroleum jelly. The lubrication will help to stop the noise and make the handle easier to turn.

To apply petroleum jelly you will have to remove the stem from the faucet. So, follow the steps given below.

First, turn off the water supply valve which is located below the kitchen sink. Turn both valves in the clockwise direction.

If there is no supply valve in your kitchen then turn off the main supply for the entire house. It is normally located below the water meter. At last turn on the faucet to remove the remaining water inside the pipes.

Now, cover the sink with a stopper or a towel so that you don’t lose any parts in the drain.

After that, start removing the faucet handle. To do that, you will have to remove the decorative cap with the help of a flathead screwdriver (or a knife). The cap is normally located at the side of the faucet handle.

Once the cap is removed, you will be able to see the set screw, remove it with the help of an Allen wrench by inserting it and turning it in the anticlockwise direction.

If there’s an index button at the top of your faucet handle, then there will be a normal screw behind it, remove the screw with the help of a screwdriver. Now, remove the faucet handle from the faucet.

Once the handle is removed, you will be able to see the faucet stem. Now, remove the stem from the faucet and apply petroleum jelly on both the threads of the faucet stem as well as faucet body.

If there is a cartridge in your faucet instead of faucet stem then do the same with it.

At last reinstall all the parts of the faucet and check if there is still noise coming from the faucet or not.

If there is still noise coming then the threads of your faucet stem are worn out and you need to replace the stem with a new one.

Clogged Aerator

If you are living in an area where water is hard then chances are your aerator can become clogged easily.

Once the aerator gets clogged, it restricts the water flow and causes a high-pitched or squealing noise whenever the faucet is turned on.

To solve the problem you will have to unclog your kitchen faucet aerator. To do that, follow the steps below.

First, cover the sink with a drain stopper or towel to prevent any small parts from falling into the drain. Now, remove the aerator with your hand by turning it in the anticlockwise direction.

If the aerator is tight and you are not able to remove it with your hand then take the help of pliers.

But make sure to cover the pliers’ teeth with plumbing tape to avoid scratches and bent. Then grip the aerator with pliers’ teeth and turn it in the anticlockwise direction.

If the aerator is rusted and not coming out then use WD-40 spray. But make sure to keep all the windows open before spraying.

Wait for a few minutes and then with the help of pliers turn it in the anticlockwise direction.

In case, you are not able to find the aerator then it could be hidden inside the faucet spout. To remove the hidden aerator, you will need a special tool known as a key wrench.

Insert the key wrench into the notch of the aerator and turn it in an anticlockwise direction till the aerator comes out from the faucet.

Now disassemble the aerator parts with the help of a needle or toothpick and arrange them in the order you took them off.

After that, note down the sequence in which you are removing or click photos of it because it will help you to reinstall the parts in the same order.

Take a small bowl and fill white vinegar in it. Then leave all the parts in the vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes. The vinegar will break down the sediments and debris and it will become easier to remove.

If the aerator parts are fully gunked up, leave the parts overnight in the vinegar solution.

After that, take out the parts from the vinegar and if you see any remaining debris then scrub them with the help of a toothbrush. While using a toothbrush, make sure to use it gently or else the parts will get damaged.

Now rinse all the parts with water so that all the dirt gets flushed out and then assemble the parts in the same sequence.

At last, reattach the aerator to the faucet spout by turning it in a clockwise direction.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure causes vibrations inside the pipe and these vibrations produce squealing or humming noise.

That’s why first you need to measure water pressure in your house to understand whether it is high or low.

To measure the water pressure you will need a tool which is called a water pressure gauge. You can buy it online from home depot or from any hardware store near you. It will cost you around $10.

Before measuring the pressure, make sure that no one is using any tap inside or outside the house. Because it may give false readings or low readings if water is being used anywhere.

That’s why to get accurate reading; you need to turn off washing machines, dishwashers, sprinklers, refrigerators with ice makers, or anything that uses water.

Now, to use the pressure gauge you will have to connect it to any male threaded faucet in your house.

A few examples of male threaded faucets are hose bibs, washing machine shut-off valves, hot water heater drain valves, laundry tubs, etc. Connect to any of them and turn on the water.

Water pressure between 40 to 60 PSI is considered normal for a plumbing system. But in most areas, it is suggested that water pressure should not be more than 80 PSI.

So, if the water pressure in your house is above 80 PSI then you need to lower the pressure. To lower the pressure, you will have to use the water pressure regulator (also known as a pressure regulating valve).

You can find the pressure regulating valve right after the pipe where the water meter enters the house. If you already have one installed, try to adjust it.

Follow the steps given below to adjust the water pressure on pressure regulating valve

Step 1: Locate The Valve

To locate the valve you need to find the supply line that enters your house. Once you find the supply line, you will be able to see the water meter right there.

That’s where the pressure regulating valve is located right after the pipe where the water meter is situated.

The regulating valve is bell-shaped in the middle and has a screw & locknut at the tip of the bell which is made of brass.

Step 2: Adjust The Water Pressure

The pressure valves contain a screw and locking nut system. The screw is your adjuster and it can be moved only by loosening the locknut.

That’s why you have to first loosen the locknut with a wrench and then only you will be able to adjust the screw.

Tightening the screw will increase the water pressure and loosening will decrease the pressure.

Step 3: Turn The Screw Slowly

Don’t be in a hurry while turning the screw. Turn it little by little, in slow increments.

Remember that, tightening too much will increase the water pressure, which can damage your plumbing system, so be careful while doing it.

Step 4: Recheck The Pressure

After every turn, make sure to check the water pressure on the pressure gauge. Keep it between 40 to 60 PSI.

Step 5: Tighten The Lock Nut

Once the pressure is adjusted, tighten the locknut with the help of a wrench so that the adjustment screw does not move.