How to Install a Flow Control Valve to Quiet Noisy Pipes

Stop high-pitched water noise with a simple add-on valve

Stop the high-pitched squeal from water pipes by replacing the shower head or adding a flow control valve. Or simply replace faucet parts with a rebuild kit.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Solutions for squealing pipes

Puzzled by a high-pitched squeal when you turn on your shower or other faucet? This is what's going on. Water flow at certain pressures can create harmonic vibrations in pipes, making the high-pitched sound you hear. If the problem only occurs when you turn on the shower, begin there. Worn water passages or parts in the shower head or valve (washers, O-rings, etc.) sometimes allow air to mix into the water stream or create a pressure imbalance. First try the easiest fixes. Replace the shower head or add a flow control device (about $10 at plumbing specialty stores) on the shower arm to see if that stops the sound. If not, replace the wear parts in the shower valve or diverter. Most valves have replacement kits that supply all the needed parts.

If these solutions don't work, call your local water utility and ask about the water pressure in your area. High water pressure sometimes causes the pipe noise. If your water pressure is high, you can hire a plumber to install a whole-house pressure-reducing valve.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Pipe wrench
  • Pliers

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • New shower head
  • Flow control valve
  • Teflon tape