Keurig Coffee Maker Problems

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Keurig coffee makers are some of the most popular coffee brewers on the market, with a reputation for convenience, ease of use, and affordability. Unfortunately, while these machines are simple to use, they do require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them functioning correctly. 

Users experience problems more often than you might think. Thankfully, most of the solutions are easy and don’t require complex skills to fix.

This article will go over 10 of the most common Keurig coffee maker problems and how to fix them, so you can keep caffeinated.

How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?

Understanding how a Keurig machine works is a requisite to help identify and solve problems that might pop up with your machine. A Keurig uses pre-packaged coffee pods, known as K-cups, to brew single cups of coffee. 

How To Brew With A Keurig Coffee Maker

  1. Fill the water reservoir with fresh, cold water
  2. Insert a K-Cup coffee pod into the holder and then shut the lid. The machine will pierce a hole in the top foil of the K-Cup to allow hot water to flow through the pod and extract coffee. Older models pierce with a single needle, while newer models have multi-stream technology and 5 needles to produce more even extraction. The bottom of the plastic cup is also punctured a single time to allow brewed coffee to drain out.
  3. Choose your brew size- most machines allow you to select from a range of sizes from 4-12 ounces. 
  4. Press the ‘brew’ button to start brewing. The machine pumps pressurized water from the reservoir, through heating elements, and through the K-Cup, producing a fresh cup of coffee in minutes. 

Some of the most common issues users face with their machines come down to:

  • Clogged or blocked needles- these can become blocked over time with the buildup of debris or excess coffee grounds, leading to slow or incomplete brewing or no brewing at all.
  • Scale Buildup: Keurig coffee makers need to be regularly descaled otherwise minerals can build up in the machine and cause issues.
  • Leaking: A Keurig can leak water if there is a problem with the reservoir or internal components.
  • Power Issues: If the machine doesn’t turn on it may indicate an issue with the power source or the internal electrical components.

Keurig Coffee Maker Problems

Below we have compiled a list of the most common problems users face with Keurig brewers and how to solve them. 

My Keurig Won’t Turn On

There is nothing more frustrating than going to make your morning coffee and finding your Keurig coffee maker won’t turn on. This is something you will need to resolve quickly to get that morning fix! This issue could be caused by one of three reasons:

  1. The machine is not plugged in correctly
  2. The power outlet isn’t working
  3. The power button hasn’t been pushed on correctly

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

  • First, ensure the coffee maker is plugged into the power outlet properly. If it is, and the machine is still not turning on, check if other appliances work in the same outlet. If other appliances have the same issue this is likely a problem with the power outlet rather than the Keurig. Try plugging in your brewer to another outlet and hopefully, the machine will turn on!
  • Second, ensure the power button is actually pushed on. If you have a Keurig Plus or Keurig 2.0 model, tap the power icon on the lower right of the LCD screen. 

If your Keurig coffee maker still isn’t turning on the next step is to contact Keurig customer support.

My Keurig Leaves Coffee Grounds In My Cup

If you brew a cup of coffee and find that there are coffee grounds or silt in the cup then it’s time to get cleaning! This problem could be caused by a couple of different things:

  1. The exit needle is clogged
  2. The machine needs to be descaled
  3. If you using a reusable K-Cup you may have the wrong grind size

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Clean The Exit Needle: The most likely cause of coffee grounds in your cup is that the exit needle is clogged so the first port of call is to clean this. You do this by inserting an unfolded paperclip into the tube at the bottom of the pod holder and moving it around to loosen up any residual coffee grinds. Run the pod holder under warm tap water to rinse and then dry. 
  • Once you have reassembled the pod holder, run a small cup water-brew and look for any residual grounds coming out. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.
  • If cleaning the exit needle doesn’t solve the problem, you could try descaling your brewer. Refer to the specific instructions for your brewer on how to do this.
  • If you are using a reusable My K-Cup, the other reason you could have grounds in your cup is that you are using the wrong grind size. The ground coffee should be a coarse-drip size, and the basket should only be filled to the bottom of the brown band (approximately 2.5 tbsp). 

My Keurig Turns On/Off On Its Own

Some Keurig owners are mystified to find their coffee maker turning on or off on its own. Thankfully there is usually an easy fix to this problem. It is normally caused by the ‘Energy Saver’ or ‘Auto On/Off’ feature being unknowingly enabled. 

  1. Energy Saving Feature- will turn the machine off after a set time to conserve power
  2. Auto On/Off Feature- will automatically turn the machine on or off at a set time

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

To solve this issue ensure these features are disabled. How you do this depends on the type of Keurig machine you have, as each machine is different. For example, the K-Cafe turns off automatically after two hours. To disable this feature you turn the brewer off then hold the STRONG and 10oz buttons for 3 seconds. In comparison, the K-Mini turns off automatically 90 seconds after the last brew and this cannot be disabled, the machine needs to be restarted.   

Once these features have been disabled the machine should revert back to normal operating.

My Keurig Is Leaking From The Bottom

A leaking coffee maker is a frustrating issue to deal with. The first thing you need to do is pinpoint where the leak is coming from. If the water appears to be leaking from the bottom of the Keurig even when the machine isn’t in use, the most likely culprit is the cold water reservoir.

To check if the cold water reservoir is leaking remove the reservoir and check for any water underneath. Hold the reservoir over the sink and see if you can spot any water leaking out. If the leak is coming from the reservoir there are two likely causes:

  1. A damaged or misaligned o-ring
  2. A damaged cold water reservoir

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Damaged O-ring: The o-ring is a small rubber band or gasket that prevents water from escaping by creating a tight seal. If the water appears to be leaking from the o-ring there is an easy fix- you just need to replace the o-ring. This is easy to do yourself, just make sure you get the correct size.
  • Damaged Water Reservoir: If you notice water leaking from a cracked or damaged reservoir the only solution is to order a replacement water tank from Keurig.

My Keurig Is Leaking When Preheating/ Brewing

The other issue with leaking that some users report is that their Keurig leaks when preheating or brewing. With this issue, leaking usually occurs at the top of the brewer rather than the bottom. This issue could be caused by a few reasons:

  1. An overfilled water tank
  2. Clogging
  3. A loose broken upper gasket
  4. A broken valve or hose inside the machine

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

How simple this problem is to fix will come down to the reason for the leak. So fingers crossed it’s simply an overfilled water tank!

  • Overfilled water tank: water leakage due to an overfilled water tank is a common issue, particularly with compact Keurig models, like the Keurig Mini. Here the solution is to simply ensure you don’t fill the reservoir past the max line.
  • Clogging: the other easy fix for a leaking Keurig is to give it a good clean. Sometimes parts in the machine, like the needles, get clogged with residual coffee grinds. A good clean can work wonders and remedy the issue. 
  • Loose or broken upper gasket- the upper gasket is a silicone part that forms a tight seal between the water pipe and the K-Cup. If this gasket becomes loose or breaks water can leak out the top of the brewer. Check to ensure that the gasket is intact and aligned correctly. If it looks damaged you can order a replacement.
  • Broken valve or hose- if all else fails, the leak is unfortunately likely of a more serious nature and will require expert help to fix. Contact Keurig customer service for a guide to the next steps you can take.

Keurig Lights Flashing (Blinking)

Seeing all the lights on your Keurig start flashing at you when you turn the machine in the morning can be alarming. The cause of this will depend on which Keurig model you have. If it is only the Add Water, Heat, and Medium Cup lights that are flashing there is likely an issue with the charcoal water filter.

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

Follow these steps to try and resolve the issue:

  • Step 1: Check that the cold water reservoir is positioned correctly
  • Step 2: Run a 6 or 8-oz water-only brew into a measuring cup and see if the expected volume of water is dispensed. If it is, the issue should be resolved and you can get back to brewing. Failing this, move on to step 3.
  • Step 3: If you are using a water filter remove this and run another water-only brew into a measuring cup. If the expected volume is dispensed, change the charcoal filter and replace the water filter. The lights should stop blinking.
  • Step 4: If Step 3 didn’t work perform three more water-only brews into a measuring cup. If by the last brew, the machine is dispensing the right amount of water the problem should be solved.

My Keurig Is Not Heating

If you find your Keurig is churning out cold coffees rather than steaming hot ones there is obviously something wrong. There could be several explanations for this:

  1. The heating system is malfunctioning
  2. The water pipes are clogged
  3. The water pump is broken

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

  • If the issue is with the heating system it is not necessarily broken. Sometimes it can malfunction or switch off for safety reasons. Try switching the machine off, leaving it for a few minutes, and then restarting it. This can help reset the heating mechanism.
  • If this does not help then it is time to clean and descale your Keurig machine to see if this fixes the problem. If the issue is caused by clogging, descaling will remove any calcium or coffee buildup.
  • Failing this, the issue may be caused by a malfunctioning water pump in which case you will need to replace this. 

My Keurig Only Brews Half A Cup

If you press the brew button and find your Keurig only delivers half a cup of coffee don’t panic! There is usually a simple solution. This issue is likely caused by a clogged Keurig. This could be a blockage in the entry or exit needles or the water line itself. Over time these parts can become blocked with debris and coffee grounds. When this happens only a small amount of water will be able to pass through in the allotted brew time. To prevent clogging it is a good idea to run a water-only cycle after each use of the machine, particularly if you are using a hot chocolate pod.

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Check there is enough water in the reservoir for the selected brew size.
  • Ensure that the reservoir is in the correct place and hasn’t moved during brewing.
  • Clean Needles: If your machine is doing this it could be a sign it needs a good clean. Start with cleaning the entry and exit needles with an unfolded paperclip and then run through a couple of water-only brew cycles to rinse out any remaining debris. If this doesn’t solve the problem then a deep clean may be necessary.
  • Descale Keurig: run a descaling cycle through to clear any calcium buildup inside the coffee maker. You can use a descaling solution or homemade vinegar solution to do this. Follow this with several rinse cycles to flush out any remaining chemicals.

My Keurig Shows ‘Add More Water’ But The Tank Is Full

If your Keurig coffee machine is displaying the message ‘add more water’ when the tank is already full there is an issue with the machine not detecting the water level. This could be caused by a few things:

  1. The reservoir isn’t positioned correctly
  2. The reservoir needs cleaning
  3. A clogged valve at the bottom of the water reservoir

Keurig Troubleshooting Tips:

  • The first thing to try is removing the water reservoir, refilling it, and then repositioning it correctly. Keurig machines use a magnet to detect the presence of the water reservoir, so if this is not aligned correctly, the machine thinks it isn’t there.
  • If this doesn’t work try cleaning the water reservoir. Remove the reservoir, empty it, and then clean it thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Scrub the inside with a damp cloth and then rinse well. While cleaning also check the valve at the bottom is not clogged. Following this reinstall the reservoir and fill to the max level.

My Keurig Coffee Tastes Bad

There are multiple reasons why your Keurig coffee tastes bad. If you have just invested in a new machine, many users complain that their Keurig coffee tastes like plastic. In this case, because the machine is brand new, you should run a few water-only brews through the machine, to flush it out before brewing coffee.

If the taste of your coffee has suddenly changed it is a good sign that your machine is due for a proper clean. The taste of your coffee can be negatively impacted by residual coffee grounds or a build-up of limescale in the machine. Clean and descale your Keurig, then make sure you rinse it well after.

Ironically, if you have recently cleaned your Keurig, this could also have caused the problem. Residue from the descaling or vinegar solution can linger in the machine and taint the coffee. If this is the case, refill the reservoir with fresh water and run through several water-only cycles to try and rinse out the machine. If you use a water filter and did not remove this when descaling, it could also be the problem. Replace the filter with a new one. 

If you are just experiencing weak, bitter, or lukewarm coffee from your Keurig try these coffee brewing tips:

  • Warm the machine up before brewing, it can also help to run a water-only cycle through the machine first.
  • Add a filter to the machine or use distilled or softened water rather than tap water
  • Use a darker roast for a stronger coffee
  • Choose a smaller cup size for a stronger brew
  • Try brewing with a reusable K-Cup and freshly ground coffee
  • Pull your mug out early before the last few watery drops

Keurig Coffee Maker Problems- In Summary

As you can see from above it is quite common for problems to pop up with your Keurig coffee maker. Thankfully most of the problems you encounter can be solved by resetting, cleaning, or descaling the machine. In the next section, we will summarize how to go about these three troubleshooting methods.

How To Reset A Keurig

If you encounter an issue with your Keurig, one of the first things you should try is to reset the machine. Follow the steps below to do this:

  1. Open and close the lever
  2. Push the power button to turn the machine off and unplug it from the wall for at least 30 seconds
  3. Remove the water reservoir
  4. Power the machine back on then replace the reservoir
  5. Open and close the lever

If resetting your Keurig doesn’t work, you could try cleaning or descaling your brewer.

How To Unclog A Keurig Coffee Brewer

As you may have gathered, many Keurig problems stem from a clogged Keurig. Over time, residual coffee grounds and debris accumulate in the machine and can block the puncture needle. Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your Keurig operating smoothly. If you suspect a clogged Keurig, follow the steps below to unclog and clean your machine. You will need a cup, paperclip, and access to a sink.

Step 1: Unplug your Keurig from the wall and leave for 5-10 minutes to cool

Step 2: Remove the water reservoir and drip tray and wash in hot soapy water, scrubbing any grime off with a damp cloth. Rinse under running tap water then dry.

Step 3: Open the brew head and remove the K cup holder and pull off the funnel at the bottom. Using a straightened paper clip, insert the tip through the base of the exit needle and clear out any coffee grinds. Wash the K Cup holder and funnel with warm, soapy water. Rinse then reassemble. 

Step 4: Locate the entrance needle under the brewer handle. Insert the paperclip into the holes in the entrance needle and wriggle it around to loosen any debris. Scrape out any built-up coffee grounds around the needle as well. 

Step 5: Turn the machine upside down over the sink and shake out to dislodge any debris. Tap the bottom of the machine a few times.

Step 6: Reassemble the machine and run two water-only brews using the largest cup size through the machine. 

How To Descale Your Keurig Coffee Maker

If all other troubleshooting methods fail, it might be time to descale your Keurig. Descaling removes calcium deposits and limescale that can build up in the machine over time. While the exact process you use for descaling varies depending on the Keurig model you have, the overall process is the same.

Step 1: Prepare the brewer by emptying the water reservoir and drip tray. If you use a filter, remove this from the reservoir before adding the descaling solution. 

Step 2: Fill the water reservoir with the descaling solution and replace it.

Step 3: Place a coffee cup on the drip tray beneath the brewer

Step 4: Run the descaling cycle as per your brewers manual. This usually involves running brew cycles into the empty cup, discarding the water, and replacing the mug. Then repeating the process until the reservoir is empty. 

Step 5: Clean the water reservoir with hot, soapy water and refill it with fresh water. 

Step 6: Rinse the machine out by repeating the process of running brew cycles and discarding the water until the machine indicates that the descaling cycle is complete.

Refer to the manual for your Keurig model for precise instructions.

Keurig Customer Service

If you are unable to resolve your Keurig problem with any of the troubleshooting tips the next step is to contact Keurig customer service. You can reach out to them online via their website here or call them toll-free at 1-866-901-2739, 7 days a week.

Final Thoughts

Keurig coffee makers are a convenient way to brew coffee. The Keurig system is simple to use and offers an extensive selection of K-cups to choose from. Unfortunately, these brewers are prone to breaking down which is frustrating. Most issues can be avoided with regular cleaning and maintenance. If you do have a problem and have no luck solving the issue with our guide, contact Keurig customer service. The other place you could look to is the Keurig community- there are many forums and guides to walk you through solutions. 

All the best!