Why Is My Bathtub Faucet So Loud?

Perhaps you’ve noticed your bathtub faucet is becoming noisier every time you turn it on, or maybe it suddenly started making loud noises when you’re using it. Since many folks use showers and bathing to wind down at the end of the day, your bathtub faucet’s noisy serenade is probably unwelcome. 

Key Points:

  • Loud noises coming from a bathtub faucet may be caused by mineral deposits, decaying valves, clogged pipes, and/or loose valves.
  • Common methods of fixing the noise are to dissolve deposits with vinegar or a hard water cleanser and to replace/tighten faulty parts.
  • Replacing the faucet or showerhead altogether may resolve the problem if all else fails.

Multiple things can cause a noisy bathtub faucet, some easier to correct than others. But before you call in a professional, read through this guide. Some problems are painfully easy to correct, so it doesn’t hurt to see if you can repair the problem first. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the most common culprits of noisy bathtub faucets and how to fix them.

Why Is My Bathtub Faucet So Loud?

American Standard 8888026.002 Bath Slip-On Diverter Tub Spout, 4 in, Polished Chrome (For 1/2" copper water tube)

The noise emanating from your bathtub is disconcerting at best. The faucet might make loud, abrupt noises, or it might even make shrill, whistling sounds. Either way, these sounds aren’t normal. So, you’ll need to do some sleuthing to isolate and fix the problem accordingly. 

Here are a few of the most common reasons for a noisy bathtub faucet:

Mineral Deposits

If you have hard water in your home, the culprit behind your noisy bathtub faucet might be mineral deposits. Over time, mineral deposits can build up inside your tap, eventually causing a reduced and noisy water flow. Generally, mineral deposits are made up of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, so eliminating them is reasonably straightforward. 

How To Fix It

To eliminate the noisy problem, you’ll need to dissolve the deposits. Vinegar works perfectly for this, but you can also use a different hard water cleanser of your choice. Generally, this involves disassembling the faucet and checking the system’s valves. 

In some cases, you might need to replace the valve altogether. 

Decaying Valve

After a while, the valves inside your tub spout might begin to wear out. While high-quality faucets can experience this issue, it’s a common problem with inexpensive and poor-quality valves. When the valve starts to decay, it can lead to loose pieces of the valve rattling around in the faucet, causing excessive noise. 

How To Fix It

If the valve in your bathtub faucet is decaying, you’ll need to replace it. It might make more sense to replace the entire faucet, especially if it’s ancient and worn out. After replacing the valve, be sure to flush out any remaining debris, or the problem will persist.

Clogged Pipes

The water that comes out of your showerheads and tub spouts comes through a pipe running through the wall. As it travels to the showerhead or tub spout, it needs to pass through a small hole. Sometimes, small particles from the tank or mineral deposits clog this pipe. 

As water tries to squeeze through the small opening, it can generate a whistling noise.

How To Fix It

If your shower or tub whistles at you as it runs, there’s a good chance the pipes are clogged. You’ll need to remove the showerhead and clean the pipe behind it to remedy the problem. In some cases, you might need to replace the entire showerhead. 

Worn Diverter

In some scenarios, the noise emanating from your bathtub faucet is due to a faulty mixing valve cartridge or diverter. The mixing valve regulates the hot and cold water flow, whereas the diverter redirects water to the tub spout or showerhead.

When this is the case, there are often loose parts inside the mechanism vibrating under the water flow, causing the noise. 

How To Fix It

If you think the diverter or mixing valve is the problem, you’ll likely need to replace the entire valve or tub spout. For older tub spouts, replacing the whole assembly might make more sense instead of one part at a time. 

Loose Valve

Inside the shower wall, various parts contribute to water flow and temperature regulation. In some cases, these parts can become loose (such as a valve or washer), allowing them to rattle around and cause vibration. 

How To Fix It

To repair this issue, you’ll need to tighten the loose part. In some scenarios, the piece might be damaged, so a replacement part might be necessary. Examine each part before tightening it to ensure there isn’t damage that could be causing the noise. 

Excessive Water Pressure

If your bathtub faucet makes loud, abrupt noises, it could be due to high water pressure. When the water pressure abruptly changes, it can cause something called water hammer. This occurs when water travels rapidly through a pipe before abruptly stopping, causing a loud noise that emanates through the line. 

In some scenarios, water hammer is the result of an elbow or partially closed valve. 

How To Fix It

To address this problem, you need to check a few areas. First, ensure the water valve is completely open. If you recently finished a plumbing project that required you to turn off the water, you might’ve forgotten to open the valve all the way. 

Next, check the water pressure. You’ll need to lower the pressure to correct the issue if it’s too high. Many homes have water pressure regulators, so if yours doesn’t and regularly has above-normal water pressure, you’ll need to have a plumber install this system. 

How Do You Fix A Noisy Bathtub?

The correct repair for your noisy bathtub hinges on the problem. If mineral deposits are causing the issue, it’s as simple as dissolving them with vinegar. Or, if the pipe is clogged with debris, flush it out with fresh water and replace the decaying part. 

However, while some problems are easily fixed with a quick DIY solution, some aren’t as simple. For instance, if your home experiences high water pressure, you’ll likely need to have a plumber install a pressure regulator to avoid damage throughout your home (it can wreak havoc on appliances throughout your home, such as your hot water heater). 

Most homeowners can handle easy, simple repairs without a hitch, but the more complex problems often require the assistance of a professional. Contact a licensed plumber if you think there might be a more serious problem or cannot pinpoint the issue. 

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