Dripping From Showerhead or Bath Spout - Rite Temp Valve
Kohler shower valves occasionally require service. The first step in correcting a dripping or leaking valve is to identify the valve installed in your home. Assistance identifying the valve can be found in the "Identify a Single Control Bath/Shower Valve" article. The information presented on this document is specific to single-control valves only.
The following information will assist with identification and repair of the most common sources of Rite-Temp valve malfunctions. Please move through the document to locate the most appropriate description of the problem.
Leak or Drip
One important distinction to understand is the difference between a leak and a drip. A leak is a continuous flow of water. A drip is a “raindrop” of water, followed by additional individual drips. There is “space” in-between each drip, whereas there is no “space” during a leak.
Residual Water Leak
If only a showerhead is installed, and a valve leak has been identified, replace the proper Mixer Cap and Pressure Balancing Unit (PBU) kit. If a tub spout and showerhead are installed, remove the showerhead from the shower arm, does the drip/leak continue or stop?
- Drip or leak stops: The issue is residual water draining from the showerhead. Showerheads can experience residual water drips/leaks for up to 90 seconds after the valve is turned off. Changes in water pressure throughout the home may also cause water to drip or leak for a short period of time. Cleaning the showerhead with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water might reduce the amount of residual water in the showerhead.
- Drip or leak continues: The issue could be an internal seal or tear. Replace the Mixer Cap and PBU kit.
Water Flows From Showerhead & Tub Spout Simultaneously
Please review the "Important Information" notes of the installation instructions. Only 1/2" copper pipe can be used to connect the valve and the tub spout. Using materials other than recommended will cause back-pressure and cause water to flow from the showerhead and tub spout simultaneously. This is commonly referred to as shower rise. Additionally, any blockage such as flux, solder chips or foreign matter lodged in the outlet ports can contribute to this type of problem.
- The Rite-Temp valves are not equipped with a positive shut-off diverter system. There is a small, permissible, amount of water that may drip from the tub spout when the water is diverted to the showerhead. ANSI standards allow for .1 to .3 gallons per minute to flow from the spout when diverted to the showerhead. However, water flowing from the showerhead while filling the bath from the spout, not diverted, is not permissible.
- Another common installation mistake is specifically related to the K-305 valve. The bottom port on the K-305 valve can only be connected to a tub spout. If the valve is connected to a handshower or other device with restricted flow, the water will back up and leak out of the showerhead. This is called shower rise. The K-305 valve was discontinued June 2010 and replaced by the K-11748 valve.
- Excessive inlet pressure can also contribute to a leak or drip issue. If suspected, turn the pressure by adjusting the stops or installing a pressure reducing valve in the supply system.
- The most common installation related error is a valve that has been installed upside-down. This is particularly a problem with back-to-back installations. The holes inside the brass body should face you horizontally, and an additional "drill-out" hole should be at the 6 o'clock position. If the holes are vertical, or the drill out hole is not located at 6 o'clock, the valve is not installed correctly and will not function as designed (Fig. 1).
No Water Output
- Rite-Temp valves feature a pressure-balancing unit (PBU). The PBU requires pressure from the hot and cold inlets simultaneously. If only cold or hot water is applied, the diaphragm inside of the valve will block the outlet and prevent any water from flowing to the outlet. Kohler Rite-Temp valves require a minimum of 45 PSI on both the hot and cold supplies.
- Please verify that the stops are open. Many Kohler Rite-Temp valves feature integrated screwdriver stops. If the stops are closed water is not allowed to pass through the inlet of the valve.
- After checking water pressure and stops, check the internal components for damage and proper installation. The Installation Instructions require the removal of the pressure balancing unit and mixer cap prior to soldering to prevent damage to the internal components of the valve.
Hot Water First
Kohler Rite-Temp valves feature a mixer cap that is designed for a hot water inlet from the right and cold water from the left. The brass valve body will have the word “HOT” embossed onto the hot side. If for any reason the inlets are reversed, please follow these instructions to rotate the mixer cap.
Water Temperature Fluctuations
Inspect the pressure of the water coming into the valve. A pressure balancing unit is designed to react to the pressure it has been provided. A pressure differential of greater than 5 psi will cause fluctuations in water temperature for the user. A plumber can measure the psi of the incoming water pressure with a water pressure gauge.
Kohler Rite-Temp valves require 1/2" copper pipe to connect the valve and the tub spout. If PEX is installed, a delayed flow of water may occur. The PEX will expand (thermal expansion) causing a slight delay in the flow of water getting to the tub spout or showerhead. When the valve is turned off, the PEX cools and contracts, causing the column of water to see the path of least resistance, usually the tub spout.
Water pressure differences on the hot and cold sides greater than 5 psi will cause this problem. This issue can be solved by installing pressure regulators on each side (H/C) of the valve. Installation Instructions and Specification Sheets do state that if there is a large differential, pressure regulating valves may be required.
A high-pitched squeal or whistling noise may occur if the showerhead nozzles are clogged. Remove and clean the showerhead with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water.
Leak After New Service Kit Installed
The Rite-Temp repair kit includes a variety of o-rings. Those o-rings must be in perfect condition and installed exactly as instructed. In addition, when installing the repair kit, ensure that the metal collar is installed in front of the mixer cap, not in-between the cap and the pbu. If the metal collar is mistakenly placed between the pbu and the cap, the cap will not seal against the pbu and will cause leaking to occur. The picture below displays the correct placement of the metal collar (Fig. 2).
Springs Fell Out of Cap Assembly
Kohler changed the design of the Rite-Temp mixer cap in 2005 to prevent frustrations of the 'boots and springs' falling out of the valve. The previous version of the mixer cap had a removable section. If that section separated, the boots and springs could fall out of the valve causing mixing and leaking problems. The boots and springs are not service parts however, the mixer cap can be easily replaced.