Troublesome drip on K-690 Kohler faucet in kitchen sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Ben E, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. Ben E

    Ben E New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Location:
    Bellevue WA
    I have a Kohler K690 kitchen faucet. Installed by prior homeowner, I believe 2003. Noticed a slow leak at base of the handle, so called Kohler for a new cartridge. After installing the new cartridge, I still had a drip. Called Kohler which said maybe new cartridge was faulty or improperly installed, so they sent me another new one, same problem.

    Drip is most noticeable when water flow is low (pushing the handle part-way for a light stream of water), and sometimes about 5 drips perhaps 10-20 seconds after turning off the sink. Suggestions? I did not apply plumber's grease to the cartridge or mounting nut. Certainly could. I tightened mounting nut to hand-tight plus a quarter turn with a wrench as instructed. What else could it be? Some tiny debris inside the faucet preventing the cartridge from seating properly?

    Many thanks!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2020
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    DOes the spout swivel? If so, it sounds like maybe the O-ring seals in the swivel are worn.

    With the cartridge removed, does it have an O-ring? If the fit is tight, and there's no lubrication on the O-ring, it's possible that it gets rolled or twisted out of position. So, pick up a little tub of silicon plumber's grease, take the cartridge out, coat the O-ring and maybe the socket where the cartridge slides in, and try again after verifying that the O-ring is not damaged. If it rolled out of position, it could have been damaged when the nut was installed, so look at it carefuly.
     
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  4. Ben E

    Ben E New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Location:
    Bellevue WA
    Still struggling with this!

    The Kohler GP1016515 cartridge has a seal on the bottom, a red piece with irregular shape (sort of three O rings connected to each other). Looks like rubber That comes straight from the factory as part of the new cartridge, so I hadn't lubricated it at all. Put plumber's grease over the entire seal, then reinstalled, but no change.

    Drip occurs in the following circumstances:

    1) During usage of the faucet, when the faucet is on low pressure (handle moved to low/intermediate position). Roughly one drop per second.

    2) About ~5 big drops about 10-20 seconds after usage at high pressure.

    Drips seem to come out of the weep hole just below the handle.

    jadnashua, you asked about spout swivel. It does swivel. I hadn't thought that's related, because the drips happen the same whether I keep the faucet stationary versus swivel it during or after use. Also this sprayer is on a retractable hose, so I don't think the water flows through a pipe up the swivel, but rather in the hose, which I think is a single continuous piece of hose that runs continuously through the swivel joint.

    I inspected the seat of the cartridge (the faucet side) for a damaged O ring. The O ring inside the seat was set back in a way that seemed a bit odd to me, but ultimately I take the entire seal to come from the red irregularly-shaped rubber piece on the bottom of the cartridge. The Kohler parts diagram, embedded above, shows no serviceable seals or other serviceable parts in the faucet itself. Seems like Kohler's concept is that replacing the cartridge is supposed to fix everything.

    As to kitchen faucets leaking below the handle, Kohler advises "Continuous leak while faucet is on: While the faucet is on, water will also leak from under the handle area. With this issue, dirt or debris have collected on the seals/o-rings which prevents a proper seal inside the faucet body." But I can't find a part number for a replacement O ring at the seat. Above, I pasted Kohler's parts sheet for this faucet. Notice no indication of any serviceable parts (or, really, any parts at all) within the housing where the cartridge sits.


    I haven't had great luck talking to Kohler tech support about this -- they want to send out replacement cartridges, free of charge which is generous, but doesn't seem to be on track to solve the problem.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2020
  5. Ben E

    Ben E New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Location:
    Bellevue WA
    Michael, thanks for thinking about this. I'm certainly open to Teflon tape. But where? My understanding is the watertight seal is supposed to take place between the cartridge and the seat. Water isn't supposed to be able to leak past that seal. There is threading on the bonnet that holds the cartridge in place, of course. (That's part 1009945 in the diagram above.) But there's a weep hole where any water that makes it past the seal can drip out the bottom of the bonnet. And that's exactly what's happening to me. Seems like my problem is the cartridge's seal, where cartridge's rubber washer touches seat's metal base. No place to put teflon tape there.
     
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