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If you’re reading this, you probably just tried to start your day with the promise of a perfect cup of coffee, only to be met with a stubborn Keurig coffee maker that has other plans.
In this article, we address 17 common Keurig coffee maker problems and provide you with practical solutions to get your coffee brewing routine back on track.
From rebellious water pumps to grumpy K-Cup dilemmas, we've got the solutions that will have your Keurig back to brewing perfection faster than you can say “venti, extra-shot, caramel macchiato” at the Starbucks down the street.
Troubleshooting: Common Causes of Keurig Coffee Maker Problems
Dealing with a malfunctioning Keurig coffee maker can be a source of morning frustration. You paid all this money to have a name-brand machine to make a consistent cup of coffee each day, specifically so you don’t have to think about anything in the morning. Just pop in a K-Cup, press a button, and you have your coffee.
Except, not today. It should work, but it’s not.
Among the most frequent culprits behind these problems are issues stemming from neglect and wear. Keurig machines plagued by heavy scaling can lead to diminished water flow, while clogged or blocked needles can hamper the puncturing of K-Cups.
Leaks might emerge from damaged seals or improperly closed components, while power irregularities might be traced back to faulty connections.In some cases, the issue might be forgetting to fill the water reservoir adequately or failing to secure the K-Cup chamber properly.
Understanding these common problems can empower you to proactively prevent and troubleshoot them.
So, let’s get into each issue and have you enjoying your coffee again ASAP.
1. My Keurig Is Not Brewing Coffee But I Hear the Pump Working
If your Keurig is stubbornly refusing to brew that much-needed cup of coffee, there could be a few underlying factors causing the disruption.
Assuming the pump is working properly, one common culprit is the presence of air bubbles or debris trapped within the intricate components of the machine. These obstructions can impede the flow of water and disrupt the coffee brewing process.
Another issue could be limescale buildup inside the machine due to not descaling your Keurig regularly. Don’t worry - both issues aren’t too hard to fix.
How to Fix
Flush the System: The easiest solution to try first is to flush water through the machine to clean out any excess debris or gunk that may be stuck. Simply brew a few times without using a K-Cup. Hot water will hopefully run through the system and clear out any remaining sludge.
Clean and Descale: Nobody likes to clean and descale, but it’s essential to make sure your Keurig continues to function properly. If flushing didn’t work, descale your machine.
Shake and tap your Keurig: This might sound ridiculous, but this could help get rid of any air bubbles trapped in the components. Make sure you disconnect the machine and remove the water tank and drip tray before turning it upside down, tapping it, and shaking it.
2. My Keurig is Dispensing Too Much Coffee
Does your Keurig seem to be on a mission to flood your cup with more coffee than you bargained for? One possible reason for excessive coffee dispensing is a misalignment of the cold water reservoir, brew head, or K-Cup holder.
How to Fix
Check that everything is aligned: This is easy. Just make sure that the water reservoir is seated properly. Then take a look at the brew head and K-Cup holder and make sure they are aligned and centered. Sometimes they can get knocked around and out of position.
Check the brew size setting: Some Keurig coffee makers come with an adjustable brew size setting, depending on how much coffee you want to drink and which style of coffee pod you are using. Make sure the size you want is selected, then start a brew cycle with just water - without K-Cup. Measure the volume of the “drink” produced and compare it with your setting. If it does not match, you will need to contact customer service.
3. My Keurig Is Dispensing Too Little Coffee
If your Keurig is being stingy with its coffee output, leaving you with a less-than-satisfying cup, there are a couple of potential culprits to consider.
One likely reason for inadequate coffee dispensing is a clogged or partially blocked needle that punctures the K-Cup. This obstruction can hinder the proper flow of water and result in a weaker brew. Another possibility is a low water level in the reservoir.
How to Fix
Flush the system: Run a brew cycle with just water and no K-Cup. The exit needle is likely clogged with excess coffee grounds, and hot water will hopefully set the sludge free.
Clean the needles: Insert a paper clip through your machine’s needles located at the bottom of the pod holder. Be careful not to pierce yourself, not to state the obvious but the needles are sharp!
Clean and descale: If flushing doesn’t work, descale your machine (see instructions below).
Shake and tap your Keurig: We are not kidding here. Shaking your Keurig can help get rid of any air bubbles trapped inside the components. Disconnect the machine and remove the water tank and drip tray before turning it upside down, tapping it, and shaking it.
Fill the water reservoir: We all make dumb mistakes sometimes, and this may be one of them. After all, you haven’t had your coffee yet, so you aren’t thinking straight! Does the cold water reservoir have enough water in it? Don’t forget to top it off every now and then.
4. My Keurig’s Coffee Tastes Bad
Suddenly, your 'world-renowned' Keurig coffee tastes bad. Oh no! If you’re sure the flavor has only recently turned bad it could be due to a few factors.
One potential reason for the flavor change is a dirty and heavily scaled machine. Another one is the quality of the coffee you are using. All jokes aside, if you use K-Cups with low-quality coffee beans and your Keurig coffee tastes bad, try switching to another pod.
So, how do you turn your coffee experience from “meh” to “mmm?”
How to Fix
Flush the system: As discussed above, running hot water through the entirety of your machine is a quick way to solve lots of issues. Sometimes that dirtiness that’s clogging your machine and giving off flavors to your coffee just needs a few water-only brew cycles to make it come loose.
Clean and descale: If your coffee still tastes bad after flushing the coffee maker, it may be time for a deep clean and descale.
Opt for high-quality coffee: Not all K-Cups are created equally. Some use high-quality coffee beans, while others opt for the cheapest option. If your coffee consistently tastes subpar, it may be time to change brands. You could also use a reusable K-Cup and pick your own beans to grind.
5. My Keurig is Leaking from the Bottom
Discovering a leak from the bottom of your Keurig can certainly put a damper on your morning routine, quite literally.
Overfilling the water tank can lead to excess water finding its way out, while a damaged water tank or o-ring can result in unwanted leaks. If internal components such as piping are compromised, they can also contribute to the issue. A clogged machine or needles, as well as a loose upper gasket, can cause water to escape where it's not supposed to.
How to Fix
Check the water reservoir: If it appears that water is leaking from the bottom of the Keurig coffee maker even when the machine isn’t being used, it’s likely the issue is with the water reservoir. Remove the water reservoir and check for any water underneath. Raise it over the sink and see if there are any drops falling.
If there are cracks in the actual plastic of the reservoir, you will need to order a replacement. If the issue is with the o-ring, a small rubber gasket that keeps water from leaking by forming a tight seal, then you will just need to order a replacement o-ring and swap it out. Check this video to learn how to replace the o-ring.
Don’t overfill the water tank: Some models, like the Keurig Mini, are extra sensitive to overfilling the reservoir past the “max” line. Water could be leaking due to simply adding too much water to the reservoir.
Check for broken valves or hoses: If your Keurig still leaks from the bottom after trying the above fixes, you may need to contact Keurig customer service. A representative can walk you through the next steps, as a broken valve or hose is a more serious issue that can’t be quickly solved at home.
6. My Keurig is Leaking When Preheating or Brewing
Encountering leaks during the preheating or coffee brewing phases of your Keurig can be an unfortunate morning surprise. Several potential culprits might be behind this soggy situation.
A clogged machine or needles may be the culprit. A loose upper gasket might also allow water to escape where it shouldn’t. Some models have an overflow tray under the K-Cup holder which can get clogged and overflow. Let’s tackle these and restore your Keurig’s pre-brewing composure.
How to Fix
Check the needles and K-Cup holder: First things first. Check that brewing head needles and K-Cup holder don’t have any accumulated debris or coffee grounds on them. Use an unfolded paper clip to remove any obstructions. Again, be careful, nobody wants a bloody coffee!
Look for a damaged upper gasket: There is a silicone gasket that forms a seal between the K-Cup and the water pipe. With time and usage, it may become loose or break, allowing water to leak out the top of the Keurig. Make sure this upper gasket is in good shape. If not, order a replacement. Check the link below if you need a replacement!
Check the overflow tray: Some Keurig models have an overflow tray that hides under the cup holder. Remove the cup holder, and then the overflow tray. If it’s full of water, this is the cause of the leaking. Thoroughly clean the overflow tray and place it into your machine.
Check for Broken Valves or Hoses: If your Keurig still leaks from the bottom after trying the above fixes, you may need to contact Keurig customer service. A representative can walk you through the next steps, as a broken valve or hose is a more serious issue that can’t be quickly solved at home.
7. My Keurig Says to ADD MORE WATER But the Tank is Full
Encountering a Keurig that insists on more water despite a brimming tank can be a puzzling conundrum. While you're left scratching your head, a few underlying factors might be at play.
One possible reason is a misaligned or malfunctioning water level sensor, causing it to inaccurately gauge the water level in the tank. Another possibility is a sensor blocked by debris or mineral buildup, which can hinder its proper functioning. Additionally, a disconnected or damaged sensor can lead to incorrect readings, prompting the "ADD MORE WATER" message.
How to Fix
Fill the reservoir: Is the error message not actually wrong? Sometimes my eyes don’t open quite fully until my morning cup. Maybe the tank isn’t actually full. 😅
Reposition the reservoir: Remove the water reservoir, refill it, and put it back on the coffee maker. Make sure it seats correctly on the unit. Keurig coffee makers use magnets to help detect that the water reservoir is installed. If it’s not on correctly, your unit might think it’s not there at all.
Clean the water tank: Remove the reservoir, empty any water, and use warm water and dish soap to give the inside a nice scrub. Make sure the opening at the base is clean without any debris. Dry it off and reinstall.
Replace the water sensor: Nothing above solved your problem? Your water sensor is possibly broken or faulty. Give Keurig’s customer service a call and they can help you troubleshoot further.
8. My Keurig Automatically Turns On or Off
Does your Keurig seem to have a mind of its own, turning on or off without your command?
For starters, it’s probably not haunted.
Its strange behavior could be due to faulty wiring, a broken control board, or other major electrical issues… but that’s pretty rare. Most likely, there are certain modes in higher-end models like “energy saver” and “automated brewing” modes that may need to be changed.
How to Fix
Turn off the automated brewing feature: If your Keurig is turning on by itself, it’s probably because you accidentally activated the automated brewing mode. This setting is for people who like their coffee maker to automatically turn on and brew a cup of coffee at the same time each day. If that’s not you, simply toggle it off.
Turn off energy saver mode: If your Keurig is turning off by itself, it’s probably because the energy saver setting is activated in order to conserve power. Turn this mode off and check for any other “auto on/off” features on your machine that you will want to disable.
9. My Keurig Will Not Turn On
Finding your Keurig unresponsive and unwilling to power up can be a frustrating start to your day. The simplest explanation, of course, is a loose plug or an unplugged machine. However, if you've checked this box, other culprits might be at play. Blown fuses, bad connections, damaged electrical cords, and damaged outlets could be the reasons why your coffee maker won’t turn on.
If there are signs of smoke or unusual smells, it could indicate a serious issue like an electrical arc, requiring immediate disconnection. If everything else appears normal, a failed capacitor might be the cause.
How to Fix
Plug in your Keurig to an outlet: Yes, this happens to the best of us, especially before our first morning coffee.
Try a different outlet: Try an outlet that you know works!
Check For Blown Fuses: Did you blow a fuse? Check your electrical panel, and avoid plugging in too many appliances to the same circuit to avoid any issues!
Check for damaged electrical cords: If the electrical cord is damaged then immediately disconnect your machine and contact Keurig customer service.
If the above steps fail: This could mean your machine’s circuitry is damaged and needs to be repaired by a professional. Contact Keurig customer service for the next steps.
10. My Keurig Keeps On Turning Off When I’m Using It
If your Keurig seems to have a habit of shutting down unexpectedly, there are a few potential explanations.
One possible reason could be related to the alignment of the water tank magnets. If these magnets aren't properly positioned, your Keurig might interpret it as the water tank being removed and initiate a shut-down sequence.
Other more unfortunate reasons include potential overheating or damaged internal circuitry.
How to Fix
Check the water tank magnets: Remove the water reservoir and reposition it back on the machine so that it is seated properly. This makes sure that the magnets are aligned.
Contact Keurig Customer Service: If your beloved Keurig coffee machine keeps on turning off when you’re using it, and you checked the water tank magnets, then it could be internally damaged. You most likely will need to send for repair or replacement.
11. My Keurig is Not Heating Up
Is your Keurig just lukewarm when it should be piping hot?
A damaged pump or heating system could lead to inadequate heat generation, resulting in tepid brews. Clogged piping within the coffee maker can restrict the flow of water, also contributing to the heating issue.
How to Fix
Clean and descale: Obstructions cause your machine’s pump to malfunction. If it malfunctions, the heating element will deactivate to prevent overheating. So run a descale cycle to ensure your machine is squeaky clean and the pump is running as it should.
Order a new pump: If thorough cleaning of the machine didn’t fix the issue, you probably need a new water pump. Contact Keurig customer service to order a replacement.
12. My Keurig Dispenses Coffee Grounds Into My Cup
If your Keurig leaves coffee grounds in your cup, one likely reason could be a damaged or incorrectly placed K-Cup, causing coffee grounds to escape from the sides.
Another possibility is a malfunctioning needle that punctures the K-Cup, leading to a messy rupture and the presence of grounds in your cup.
Last but not least… your grind size could be the problem (that is if you use whole coffee beans with a reusable K-Cup).
How to Fix
Flush the system: Run a brew cycle without a K-Cup. Let hot water get rid of any substances potentially clogging your needles.
Clean the exit needle: Put an unfolded paperclip into the bottom of the exit needle and wiggle it around. This will help loosen up any remaining coffee grounds stuck in the needle. Just don’t pierce your skin.
Change your grind size: If you are using a reusable K-Cup, you may be grinding too fine. Try a coarser grind size to make sure the coffee grounds don’t “slip through the cracks” into your brew.
13. My Keurig Lights Are Blinking
If your Keurig's lights are blinking like a disco party gone awry, don't panic just yet. From indicating the need for descaling to addressing issues with the reset light, the flashing lights can signal various scenarios.
The most likely cause of the blinking lights is an improperly completed descale cycle. Make sure you don’t skip any steps and read Keurig’s instruction manuals carefully!
Properly descale your machine: Most people miss the last few rinsing steps at the end. After your machine has used up the descaling solution, it will prompt you to run the rinsing cycle several times. Keep on rinsing until the descale light turns off.
Re-run the descale cycle: If you have neglected to descale your machine, it could be heavily scaled. This means one single descaling cycle might not be enough to dislodge any mineral build-up. The machine will sense this and will keep the descale light on. So descale your machine several times before giving up!
14. My Keurig Makes a Mess While Brewing
Is your Keurig turning your brewing process into a splashy spectacle?
One common reason could be a clogged or misaligned needle, causing improper puncturing of the K-Cup and resulting in coffee splatters. Additionally, a damaged seal or improperly closed components might lead to leaks during brewing.
How to Fix
Clean the brewing needles: You can do this by flushing your Keurig machine with water and/or descaling it. You can also take an unfolded paperclip and poke it into the brewing needle to force out any stuck coffee grounds.
Close everything properly: Make sure everything is closed properly, aligned, and correctly seated. Double-check that the K-Cup holder is closed and that the needle is puncturing the K-Cup in the middle.
15. My Keurig’s Frother Is Not Working
Is your coffee lacking that delightful foam? Your Keurig’s milk frother must not be working as it should. If you haven’t used a milk frother before, you should know that not all kinds of milk create the same type of foam.
Whole milk tends to be the best dairy option, while barista-level oat milk tends to be the best non-dairy option. Skim milk or almond milk might result in a less-than-stellar foam, and that’s not your frother’s fault.
Using the right milk? If so, your machine’s frother might need some love.
How to Fix
Clean the milk frother: If the frother is dirty on the inside, this gunk could be prohibiting a proper foam. Run some hot water through it by steaming it a few times. If that doesn’t work, a deep clean and descale may be needed.
If you have a Keurig K-Duo Carafe, this may be a problem for you. One likely reason is an issue with the Keurig coffee pot lid's seal, which could be compromised or improperly aligned, allowing liquid to escape. If the spout is damaged, it could also lead to leaks during pouring.
How to Fix
Check for alignment and damage: Make sure everything is attached and aligned as it should be. If the spout of the coffee pot is damaged, you may need to order a replacement.
Use Sandpaper: There is a ridge left by the plastic mold for the carafe spout. It’s a common problem that many people have fixed by gently sanding the ridge down with sandpaper.
17. My Keurig’s Coffee Tastes Like Plastic
If your machine is brand new, your first few brews might taste like plastic.
Most people forget that they should run a few brew cycles with only water before making any coffee. This helps flush out the entire machine and get rid of that “new plastic” taste.
How to Fix
Rinse your machine with hot water: Don’t fret - just run some hot water through your new shiny toy and you’ll be good!
How to Reset a Keurig Machine
Resetting a Keurig machine can help resolve various issues and restore it to its default settings. Newer models often feature a straightforward reset option, while older models like the K-Slim might require a slightly more intricate process.
For Newer Models with Touch Screens:
Touch and hold the “small” and “medium” brew size buttons at the same time for 3 seconds. Then release.
Immediately touch the “menu” button 3 times, and the clock should read “6:09.”
Press “menu” again and the display should read “Brew 0:00.”
Press the “medium” button.
With one finger still on the “medium” button, press and release the “menu” button.
With the “medium” button still pressed, press the “small” button.
Unplug and plug in your Keurig several times.
Then plug in your Keurig and leave it.
For Older Models (e.g., K-Slim):
Turn off and unplug your Keurig machine.
Take out the water reservoir and empty any remaining water.
Allow the Keurig to sit unplugged for around 5 minutes.
Power on the Keurig.
Put the water reservoir back in place with fresh water.
Open and close the brewer lid.
How to Unclog a Keurig Machine
Dealing with a clogged Keurig can be frustrating, but there are effective methods to clear the blockage. The process might vary slightly between different models, but here are some general steps.
Ensure the Keurig is turned off and unplugged for safety.
Take out the K-Cup holder and remove the drip tray.
Examine the exit needle for any clogs. Use an unfolded paperclip to gently clear any debris.
Wash the K-Cup holder and funnel with warm, soapy water to remove any coffee grounds.
Fill the water reservoir with water, turn on the machine, and run a few brewing cycles without a K-Cup to flush out any remaining debris.
If rinsing does not work, run a descaling solution through your Keurig to remove mineral buildup that might contribute to clogs.
Preventing Keurig Coffee Maker Problems
When it comes to keeping your Keurig humming smoothly, prevention is key.
The majority of issues stem from neglecting regular maintenance. By adopting a proactive approach, you can spare yourself the hassle of troubleshooting down the line.
Keep Your Machine Clean
Maintaining a clean Keurig is paramount to its performance. Regularly cleaning all components in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions is a simple yet effective way to prevent issues.
Wipe down surfaces, remove and clean the drip tray and water reservoir, and pay attention to any areas where coffee grounds might accumulate. A little cleaning effort goes a long way in preserving your Keurig's reliability.
Don’t Skip Descaling Cycles
Descaling is more than just a chore – it's a vital step in ensuring your Keurig operates optimally. Heavy scaling, caused by mineral buildup from water, can lead to clogged tubing, affecting water flow and taste.
Check the picture below; this is how your Keurig machine will look inside if you ignore the descaling cycle prompts.
Descaling helps prevent these issues and keeps your coffee tasting fresh.
How to Descale Your Keurig
The descaling steps below are general guidance and they can change depending on the machine model. Check the machine’s manual or check our posts with descaling instructions for specific Keurig models.
Pour an entire bottle of Keurig Descale Solution into an empty water reservoir.
Fill the empty bottle with water and pour into the water reservoir.
Do not insert a K-Cup.
Place a large mug on the drip tray.
Activate the descale mode (will vary depending on the model) and start the brewing process.
Pour liquid into the sink.
Empty the water reservoir and refill it to the max fill line with fresh water.
Run various brew cycles until the Descale notification turns off.
This error message means that the machine is too cold. To fix this, bring your Keurig Duo into a warmer environment and give it 30 minutes to adjust to room temperature. Some guess that “FR” may be short for “frozen.”
How long do Keurig coffee makers last?
Keurig coffee makers typically last around 7-10 years, depending on usage and maintenance. If you take good care of your machine, expect it to last a long time.
What should you do with your Keurig coffee machine prior to going on vacation?
Before vacation, it's wise to empty and clean the water reservoir of your Keurig coffee brewer. Ensure the machine is unplugged, and store it in a safe, dry place.
What is the most common problem with Keurig?
The most common problem with Keurig is clogging, often caused by mineral buildup from water, which can affect water flow and brewing quality. This is why regular maintenance and descaling is important.
How do I know if my Keurig is clogged?
If your Keurig is clogged, you might notice slower water flow, uneven brewing, or partial cups. It's recommended to descale and clean the machine to resolve the issue.
Alright, that’s everything you need to know on how to fix the most common Keurig coffee maker problems.
Hopefully, you are now back to enjoying your coffee with a working machine. From fixing leaks to descaling your Keurig, you now know how to do it all. Consider yourself an expert, should any future problems arise!
And if other coffee maker problems not covered come up, let us know and we will update this post!
Alex DeCapri is a curious coffee writer and specialty coffee roaster. Currently, he is slowly making his way from the United States to Brazil in his camper van, visiting as many coffee farms as possible!
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