How to Repair a Leaking Kohler Shower Faucet

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There's few things more annoying than a leaking shower head. The incessant dripping not only makes noise and wastes water, but depending on the severity and source of the leak, it can dramatically increase your water bill, and in certain situations the endless dripping and dribbling can promote the development of dry rot or mold in your bathroom. For these reasons, it's a good practice to try and stop the leak as soon as possible. If your bathroom has a Kohler shower head installed in it, this can be done in less than an hour once you've identified the problem and obtained the correct Kohler replacement parts for your shower system.

How to Repair a Leaking Kohler Shower Faucet
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Identifying the Source

The first order of business when dealing with a leaky shower head is to identify the source of the problem. This process can be started by asking a simple question: Is your shower head leaking by releasing a continuous flow of water or is it dripping by releasing a few drops of water with space between the drips? If your faucet is dripping, the problem may be residual water in the shower head. You can test this by removing the shower head from its arm and seeing if the drip stops. If it does, Kohler recommends cleaning the shower head with a solution of one part water and one part white vinegar, which may help reduce the amount of residual water. If it doesn't, you may need to replace the shower head to stop the problem for good. If removing the head does not stop the dripping or if your shower head and/or bath spout are leaking, the issue likely lies in the shower valve.

Kohler's Cartridge System

Many of Kohler's shower valves are notable for the cartridge system they use, which makes troubleshooting and servicing the valves an easier process. Essentially, the mixer and pressure-balancing systems that would normally be combined in a single control unit are instead two separate cartridges that can be swapped out individually if needed. If your Kohler shower faucet is leaking and the problem is not residual water, you will most likely need to replace the mixer cartridge. The mixer cartridge is easily obtained from Kohler or a third-party seller, but you will need to know your valve model to purchase the correct part. To find your valve's model, remove the trim, handle and decorative plate and then examine the valve. If you cannot see the model listed on the valve itself, Kohler has a guide available for visual identification that also lists replacement part numbers for each model. Order a replacement mixer valve and pressure-balancing unit kit.

Installing Kohler Replacement Parts

When your replacement Kohler faucet parts arrive, begin the installation process by shutting off the main water line. Remove the handle, trim, plate and adapter (if present) from the shower valve. Then, with a screwdriver remove the screws securing the cartridges to the rest of the valve. To solve a leaky faucet, it is likely that you will only need to replace the mixer cap, swapping the original for your new replacement part and securing it with the screws. However, if testing reveals that the leak is persisting, you will want to replace the pressure-balancing unit as well by following the same steps. The pressure-balancing unit is generally located behind the mixer cap. Replacing these parts should solve your leaking shower problem.


Blake Flournoy is a writer, reporter, and researcher based out of Baltimore, MD. As a handyman's apprentice operating out of the Atlanta suburbs, they made a name for themselves repairing appliances and installing home decor. They have never seen Seinfeld and are deathly scared of wasps.

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