Hot to Stop a Kohler Toilet from Weeping

If your bathroom features a fixture with a bold look, and the toilet seems to randomly whoosh with a refill on its own every now and again, you may be tempted to replace the inner workings. But wait: you may not have to!

Most toilets feature a flap-style flusher. You pull the handle, a chain lifts the flap at the bottom of the tank, and skadoosh, there’s your flush.

A float mechanism is attached to the valve that lets the water into the tank. When the float reaches the correct height, it shuts off the water.

Kohler uses an interesting floating column system. When you pull the handle, the float column lifts up and makes the skadoosh. When the water’s gone, the column drops back down over the hole at the bottom, using its weight to form a watertight seal.

What actually makes the seal is a 2mm thick gasket at the very bottom of the column.

If that thin little gasket gets lumpy or damaged, it can leak just a tiny bit. The miniscule amount of water that seeps through the damaged spot will eventually trigger the float and open the refill valve. That’s the occasional whooshing refill that you hear.

Is not a lot of water, but it’s wasted water all the same. And it’s annoying.

Before you run to the home improvement store to buy a replacement float assembly, you might try this.

Turn off the water supply valve down there at the wall. Turn it counterclockwise, or lefty-loosey.

Flush the toilet to get the water out.

Disconnect the chain that runs from the flush handle to the float column.

Gently turn the top of the float columns central shaft 90 degrees counterclockwiseto disconnect it from the toilet. Lift out the whole float column assembly.

Turn the assembly upside down and gently remove the rubber-hose-red gasket from the bottom of the column. BE CAREFUL! It’s not super thin, but you’ll have to find a replacement if you break it.

The gasket should be a consistent pinkish color. If there is any gray, or white, or green, or really any color other than pink on it, that’s your leak. Of course, it it’s broken, THAT’S your leak!

Use the edge of a sharp knife as a scraper to gently remove the discoloration.  Don’t slice it, but move the blade along the length of the gasket to drag off the discoloration. Be careful not to damage the surface of the gasket. Just scrape off the yucky stuff.

What is that stuff? Algae. It likes to grow in little colonies where there’s a good supply of water and minerals.

Once you’ve removed the colonial invasion from one side, flip the gasket over and clean up the other side.

Take a look at the groove in which the gasket sits at the bottom of the column. Use the tip of the blade to gently pry out any algae you see in there.

When everything is clean, gently slip the gasket back into the groove – which side doesn’t matter – and wipe it down once more with a paper towel.

Reconnect the chain between the flush handle and the float column.

Gently lower the column into the tank. Align the little pin at the bottom with the elliptical hole in the plastic fairing at the bottom of the tank. Push the center shaft gently down, driving g the pin through the hole.

Turn the float column’s center shaft 90 degrees clockwise until you feel it lock into place.

Now turn on the water supply down there at the wall. You’ll immediately get the whoosh of water refilling the tank.

But then? Blessed silence. No seeping, no whooshing, just simple, watertight peace.

Please Note: Do not use this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it does not seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability from your usage of it.


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Published by John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as

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