Keurig Troubleshooting: How To Fix Keurig Coffee Maker Problems

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Rather than review any one particular model in their coffee maker line-up, today’s Keurig troubleshooting discussion will be centered on current Keurig models and where Keurig could stand to improve its product line.

User feedback plays a large role in building such a list of Keurig Coffee Maker problems, because it’s only out in the wild – at work, at home, etcetera, where the true tests play out in everyday usage.

Keurig Troubleshooting : Problems & Fixes

>>> Please note that some fixes may void your warranty. <<<

Keurig coffee makers are generally quite durable and dependable, but they can develop odd quirks that can leave a coffee-dependent person in a challenging spot.

Regular maintenance can greatly reduce the risk of having to do without your coffeemaker. The first step to any involved repair is to unplug the machine and let it cool down.

Keurig Issues

How To Fix

Keurig Not Brewing CoffeeClean & descale, check other issues listed to troubleshoot further
Power Button Not Working – Keurig Won’t Turn On?Check plug, outlet, hold power button, reconnect reservoir
Keurig Keeps Shutting OffCheck reservoir magnet, disable timer or auto-shut feature off if applicable
Keurig Won’t Heat Or Not Hot EnoughUnplug machine, re-seat parts, clean & descale, burp machine
Keurig Stuck On Preheating ModeClean water nozzle, hot water in reservoir
Keurig Not Brewing A Full CupClean & descale, clean needle
Keurig Coffee Grounds In Cup ProblemClean needle, check pod is puncturing properly (you may need to puncture well to release pressure before brewing), try newer pods, don’t overfill reusable pods and use a coarse grind
Keurig Weak Coffee ProblemSee grounds in cup issue, for reusable cups try using a finer grind or darker roast instead
Keurig Coffee Doesn’t Taste Good AnymoreEmpty internal reservoir, replace water filter if applicable, brew straight water until good
Keurig Says Add Water, But It Is FullAvoid distilled water, check float magnet in water reservoir, burp the machine gently
Keurig Says Brewing But Nothing Comes OutUnplug the machine for several minutes, brew cleaning pod, burp, clean and descale
Keurig Won’t Stop Pumping WaterClean needle and descale the entire machine
Keurig Leaking Water After BrewingDon’t overfill past the max line, re-seat water reservoir, empty internal reservoir
Keurig Making Noise When Drawing WaterThese machines are noisy when brewing, check that the unit is clean to prevent the pump working too hard
Keurig Says Prime – How To Prime A KeurigRe-seat parts, remove filter, refill and retry, gentle burping to move along any trapped air bubbles
Keurig 2.0 Carafe Problems – Carafe Not WorkingRemove the drip tray to seat the carafe properly, use appropriate machine with carafe pods (only 2.0 Keurigs)
Keurig Says Descale But Won’t BrewWhen cool, burp or spank the machine gently. Do water only cycles, once water starts moving clean and descale.

Keurig Not Brewing Coffee

There are a couple of possible reasons for your Keurig not brewing a full cup or not brewing the best tasting coffee at all.

Here are the top 5 Keurig brewing problems:

  1. Depending on the type of water that you use, there may be scaling build-up or other debris clogging the line.
  2. Air bubbles in the lines.
  3. All the pieces of the machine aren’t in the proper place or properly seated.
  4. Not enough warm-up time.
  5. It’s just not working no matter what I do.

Let’s dive further into all the problems that we have discovered from our own tests and your feedback.

Power Button Not Working – Keurig Won’t Turn On?

Whether you’re setting up a new machine or trying to power up an existing machine, the correction for a Keurig that won’t turn on is fairly consistent:

  1. Check to make sure the machine is plugged in.
  2. Confirm that the outlet is working properly by plugging in something else.
  3. Press and hold the power button until your Keurig lights up; some display screens may include the word “welcome” on the display screen.
  4. Make sure your water reservoir is properly seated. There are magnetic contacts between the reservoir and the body of your Keurig. If the reservoir isn’t settled into place, the machine may power down.
  5. If these fail, unplug the machine from the wall socket and check to make sure the cord is securely affixed to the body of the coffeemaker. If you notice any looseness in the connection, contact customer service.

Keurig Keeps Shutting Off

This failure generally stems from a failure of the existing contacts in the machine.

keurig water reservoir problem

For example, the water reservoir, if removed, has to be returned to the machine so the magnetic contacts on the reservoir connect with the contacts on the machine; if not, the Keurig will power down as it doesn’t sense there’s any fresh water available.

Related | How Long Can You Leave Water In A Keurig?

It’s critical to review the placement of these magnets when you set up your machine. If you remove your reservoir each time you fill your Keurig, it can be easy to accidentally move the magnets around in the handling.

It’s also important to note that some Keurigs have an auto-shutoff timer feature.

You can review this setting by referring to your manual and scrolling through the display menu on your machine until you can confirm the auto-timer is set to “off.”

Keurig Won’t Heat Or Not Hot Enough

If your Keurig won’t heat, the heating mechanism and pump may detect a problem and require you to descale the machine or have it repaired. Sometimes a simple hold of the brew button for 5 seconds can clear any errors and begin heating your water again.

Each Keurig contains multiple features that have to work in a specific order to provide you with a cup of coffee.

First, the water in the reservoir has to heat, then it has to pump. If your pump is working before the water heats up, something inside the machine is turning off the heating mechanism for safety’s sake.

To let your water heating mechanism know that everything is OK, try the following:

  1. Unplug and replug the machine.
  2. Power it down and back up again.
  3. Reset the water reservoir.
  4. Hold down the brew button for at least five seconds to get the machine to purge the water inside the reservoir.
  5. Clean and descale the machine (further instructions below.)
  6. Burp or spank the machine. Unplug your Keurig and remove the water reservoir and drip tray. Over the sink, turn your Keurig over to pour out as much water as possible. Firmly slap the bottom of the Keurig at least ten times to dislodge any coffee grounds or other beverage residues that may have clogged up the machine. Re-fill the water reservoir, plug in, and try again.

Keurig Stuck On Preheating Mode

Your Keurig goes into preheating mode when you add new water to the reservoir.

Keurig paper clip trick

It can get stuck in preheating mode if there is an obstruction in the water nozzle, which you can access by opening the top as though you were adding a new pod and applying the paper clip trick.

To clear this, many Keurigs include a needle cleaning tool. Be aware that the water inside your Keurig may still be very hot; you will probably want to power down the machine and let the water cool.

There is a repair suggestion that includes using a straw to try sucking or blowing obstructions out of the needle configuration which should only be attempted as a last resort and after the machine has cooled for several hours.

Another option is to simply override the preheating process by adding very hot water to the reservoir as described in this video:

This fix may be temporary.

Keurig Not Brewing A Full Cup

The needles that puncture the foil lid of your K-Cup can get clogged with coffee grounds or flavoring from other beverages. In addition, over time the minerals in your drinking water can gum up your coffeemaker.

A thorough cleaning with vinegar and hot water can save you a lot of Keurig hassles. So can using bottled or filtered water to make your coffee.

Wash all removable parts with warm water and soap, and be sure to pull all internal filters and replace them after the cleaning.

Once you’ve cleaned your machine with vinegar, run several pots of hot water through the Keurig.

It’s important to note that your machine has an internal water reservoir; you may need to let the machine cool and manually dump it before running plain water through it.

SEE ALSO: How To Get Water Out Of Keurig

Keurig Coffee Grounds In Cup Problem

If coffee grounds are getting into your cup it means that your needles are probably clogged. Per the cleaning instructions, with caution, remove the needle and clean it with the needle cleaning tool if available.

Coffee with grounds can come from several sources, but most commonly from clogged needles. These needles both puncture the foil lid and send water through to the contents of the pod. Should they get clogged with grounds or sweetener from hot cocoa or cider, you’ll get grounds in your coffee.

Other possible reasons for grounds getting into your cup include a K-Cup pod failure if the foil lid glue is not secure, puncturing will not occur and then the grounds will go everywhere. If you’re using a reusable K-cup, be sure to use coarse ground coffee.

Per authorities with Keurig, you should also take care not to overfill your reusable K-cup.

Keurig Weak Coffee Problem

If you’re trying to use your favorite drip coffee in a reusable K-cup, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Both grind size and volume are critically important in the K-cup, so your standard drip coffee may not work well in this new application.

keurig weak coffee problem

It’s also important to note that the target brewing temperature for a Keurig machine is 192°F (89°C).

Many coffee drinkers hold fast to 195°F – 205°F (90°C – 96°C).

For fans of strong coffee, neither the flavor nor the temperature of their favorite coffee made in a Keurig may satisfy after switching.

Consider investing in a darker roast and be sure to use a coarse grind in your personal K-cup to avoid grounds in your cup.

Another common complaint here is that the reusable filter is not easy to clean. For an environmentally-conscious coffee drinker, it’s easy to see why this could be considered a problem. Recycling options need to grow when using this system.

Keurig Coffee Doesn’t Taste Good Anymore

Many users find that after descaling their machine, their favorite K-Cup coffee has an unpleasant vinegar taste. This can be tied to several factors:

  • A filter was left in the machine during the descaling and is full of vinegar.
  • The internal reservoir is still tainted with vinegar.
  • The plastic parts of the machine have absorbed a vinegar aroma and are still releasing this into your coffee as it brews.

For item 1, refer to your manual and make sure you’ve removed and replaced all the filters for your machine.

To correct item 2, unplug the machine and let it cool completely, then dump out all the water in the machine and refill.

To correct item 3, once the machine is completely empty, fill it with hot filtered water rather than cool and run several cups to clear away the vinegar aroma.

Keurig Says Add Water But It Is Full

If giving the machine a gentle tap doesn’t work when your Keurig says to add water but it is full, try removing and emptying the water reservoir, then try to brew again after replacing the reservoir and filling it with water. A gentle tap or shake should help fix any sensor or float issues.

There are two primary issues that can cause this problem: either you’re using the wrong type of water or your water reservoir is sending the wrong signals to the coffeemaker.

Keurig 2.0 machines don’t care for distilled water. While it is true that you should use filtered water to cut down on scale damage, you don’t want to use distilled water.

Your water reservoir has a float that rides on top of the water in the reservoir. If this float gets jammed at the bottom of the reservoir, your machine will not get a correct reading on the amount of water currently in the machine.

Per the following video, some gentle shaking and tapping are all you need to get your reservoir float released and your Keurig working again.

Keurig Says Brewing But Nothing Comes Out

When your Keurig says brewing but nothing comes out, you may need to unplug and restart the machine, clean a clogged needle, descale your brewer, or reseat the water reservoir to make sure it is seated correctly.

The source of this problem is either mechanical or electric. As the electric side is the easiest to fix, start by unplugging the machine. Let it sit for at least a minute, then plug it back in. Sometimes this simple reset is all it takes to get your Keurig working normally.

If this doesn’t fix the problem, water isn’t flowing somewhere. Try running the machine with no pod on the top to see how much water, if any, is actually moving.

Remove and clean the needle mechanism from the cover of the machine to make sure there’s no debris in the puncture needle.

Descale the machine to make sure the needle and water drawing tubes are completely clear. The burp or slap maneuver may also be helpful in this situation.

Keurig Won’t Stop Pumping Water

If your Keurig won’t stop pumping water, you can try this fix to solve the problem by unplugging the machine, removing the water reservoir, needle mechanism, and then cleaning everything. Turning the machine upside down and tapping the bottom usually isn’t enough to clear any clogs.

As debris can clog a water line or needle, debris can also get into valves and tubes and block things open, leading to a continuous stream of water.

If this is caused by scale, you may need to manually clear the debris and then descale your Keurig coffee machine.

Unplug the unit and let it cool down. If you’re desperate for a cup of coffee, getting burned probably won’t help your problem-solving skills.

Once it’s cool, remove and clean the water reservoir. Discard the pod if it is still in the machine and remove the needle mechanism. Clean this with the needle tool that came with your pot, a paperclip, or a fine brush.

Dump out all the liquid, remove the filters and descale the machine. See notes above on cleaning your Keurig.

Keurig Leaking Water After Brewing

This leaking could be caused by debris in the needle or by using the wrong-sized pod on the top of the machine.

While there are plenty of instructions provided on how to work around Keurig pod size restrictions, it’s important to follow the manufacturer-recommended guidelines to make sure that you don’t wind up damaging your coffeemaker.

Another reason your Keurig may be leaking is that it’s simply been over-filled. It’s particularly easy to do this on the K15/Mini.

To clear the machine after it’s been over-filled, empty the drip tray and place a cup under the water dispenser.

Power down the machine, then turn it back on and press and hold the Brew button. This should clear the internal reservoir.

Add only the recommended amount of water to the reservoir and, without adding a pod, brew a cup of hot water. If the machine continues to leak after this, contact customer service.

Water Capacity

Due to the design of these units, the water canister is part of the visual aesthetic and balances out the appearance of the machine.

Consequently, the amount of water available on some units tends to be less than what you might expect.

Keurig water reservoir

Some users have acknowledged that a larger canister would make the unit look unbalanced.

The unit’s tendency to alert the user to low water levels only after they have begun to brew a cup has caused some to give Keurig a bad review. This is definitely something the company should look into improving on future models.

Design flow has also been called into question by those who prefer the deft action of swiftly mounting the canister with their right hand while preparing to hit the start button with their left hand.

This may seem inconsequential to some, but as there are more right-hand users than left-hand in society, this would appear to be a design flow mistake.

Keurig Making Noise When Drawing Water

Even fresh from the box, Keurigs are not known for being quiet machines. If you find that your Keurig is making more noise than when you bought it, start by descaling the machine.

Any mineral or coffee ground clogs in the water lines are going to force it to work harder and thus make more noise.

It’s important to point out that using filtered water in your Keurig is critical. There are many points inside the machine that are sensitive to mineral build-up, or scale.

If your tap water is high in iron, you’ll want to filter it before you add it to the machine. Of course, never add anything called “mineral water” to your Keurig.

Keurig Says Prime

When your Keurig says prime, the “prime” error message comes up when water isn’t moving from the external reservoir into the internal reservoir of the machine. You may need to remove and reseat the water reservoir, or there may be debris in the port that needs cleaning.

  1. If re-seating the reservoir doesn’t work, remove and wash the external reservoir. Give it a thorough rinse to remove any soap and pay extra attention to the exit port to give that opening a thorough rinse to get rid of any sediment. Let this portion of the machine air dry.
  2. Change any filters between the external reservoir and the internal hot water reservoir.
  3. Refill the external reservoir with filtered water and run several “water only” cycles to make sure the water is moving freely from the external reservoir to the internal hot water reservoir.

SEE ALSO: How To Use A Keurig

Keurig 2.0 Carafe Problems – Carafe Not Working

The Keurig 2.0 carafe is specifically designed to align with the 2.0 coffeemaker, and if it’s not properly aligned the machine won’t brew. You’ll need to remove the drip tray to get the carafe to fit properly.

You’ll also need to use the proper sized K-cup to brew coffee into your carafe. There are 3rd party reusable carafe filter pods available.

Just remember that your favorite coffee might not taste quite the same because of the grind and amount of coffee you use per pod.

The settings of the coffeemaker are extremely specific in this case; the pod has to be suited to carafe brewing, and the carafe needs to be properly aligned.

Can you hack this? Probably. Will many hacks put you at risk to void your warranty? Very likely. You can buy many K-cup pods for the price of a new Keurig so avoid using hacks until you have nothing left to lose.

Keurig Says Descale But Won’t Brew

If you’re trying to descale and water simply won’t move through the Keurig, it may be time to try the spanking method described above or see why your Keurig descale light stays on.

Please note that your Keurig has an internal water reservoir and that this water is quite hot.

Spanking requires turning the machine upside-down. While you’re doing this, you might as well remove and wash the external reservoir.

Unplug the machine so it can cool completely, remove and wash the drip tray and reservoir, and invert the machine over the sink to give it a couple of good whacks on the bottom.

Turn it right-side up, add the recommended amount of water to the reservoir, and run several hot water cycles. Once water is moving, do a vinegar descale as described above.

Related | How To Clean A Keurig

Keurig Replacement Parts

When you’ve tried just about everything, and unable to get a replacement unit under warranty, sometimes a specific part needs to be replaced to get you brewing again.

Keurig parts

We have listed options below for common replacement parts for the 400 and 500 series Keurig coffee makers.

  • K400/450 Water Reservoir
  • K500 Series Water Reservoir
  • Keurig 2.0 Needle Cleaning Tool
  • Drip Trays for K400 & 500 Series
  • Replacement Charcoal Water Filters
  • Reusable K-Cup Coffee Filters (Keurig 2.0)
  • Reusable Carafe (Keurig 2.0)

You may be able to find parts for older models, but if you have been using the same machine for a couple of years it might be worth it to purchase a new one. Plastic parts, pumps, tubing all wear over time and can stop working effectively causing an assortment of issues.

It’s possible that if you replace one part this week, that the following week you may need to replace another.

For example, if you replaced the water pump, the new pressure might cause a weakened tube to finally spring a leak.

If you’re in the market for a new machine, we would recommend the K55 or the Keurig 575.

Keurig K575

Keurig K575 Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer, Programmable Brewer, Platinum
  • Touch screen
  • Programmable, Strength Control
  • K-Cup Pods & Carafe Pods 80 oz. Reservoir

Keurig K55

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer, 6 to 10 Oz. Brew Sizes, Black
  • Single serve Programmable
  • K-Cup Pods
  • Water Filter 48 oz. Reservoir

The K55 is a step up from their smallest brewer. It’s quite basic but it has a removable water reservoir, buttons with lights, and an easy-to-use interface.

This unit may be ideal for 1-3 adults who are itching to get a single cup of coffee in the morning at the same time. It only brews single cups at a time, but once heated it only takes a couple of minutes.

The K575 has all the bells and whistles including a large reservoir, carafe to make a pot of coffee for families or for heavy drinkers.

The screen display includes many options to control your brew a little more compared to the K55. If you have a small army of drinkers in the morning, this may be the better option.

Keurig Warranty

Always keep your dated receipt! Your machine should include a warranty card in the box; follow instructions and register your machine as instructed.

Avoid activities that will void your warranty, such as trying to hack the 2.0 pods or refilling disposable K-cups.

If you’re upgrading your coffee experience with a Keurig, consider hanging onto your old brewer just in case.

While Keurigs are quite a durable machine, Keurig customer service can only work so fast, and you’ll need some source of coffee while your Keurig is repaired.

While most of the above problems tend to be more user-preference than how the machine is built, this last item is of greatest concern.

People who have had to make use of the Keurig 12 month warranty are discovering that Keurig doesn’t make it easy to get a replacement.

Those unfortunate enough to have their machine break down barely over the 12-month period will be told to buy another one.

This is bothersome to those who began using Keurig machines when they first came out, as they have grown to love them and are now dismayed at this turn of events.

Customer Service Contact Information

Get In Touch ByContact
PhoneToll-free, 7 days a week
7 am – 12 am EST
E-MailE-Mail Us Page
Regular MailKeurig Green Mountain, Inc.
53 South Avenue
Burlington, MA 01803

Recalled Keurigs

The largest recall of Keurig machines was the K10 Mini.

It’s important to note that while over six million of these were sold, 90 people were burned.

Keurig’s attention to customer safety and satisfaction is well-documented. They have since released a newer model, the K-Mini K15, which hasn’t run into the same issues.

Final Thoughts

The Keurig line of coffeemakers is well-known and has a dedicated following. The ability to brew coffee, tea, and hot cocoa is especially helpful in satisfying everyone in need of a hot beverage.

Be aware that a Keurig coffee maker requires maintenance and you should avoid working on it while it’s hot and follow the instructions offered in the manual.

Quality of workmanship could be improved. Tech support and warranty service should continue to be improved to reflect the impression that the company wants of its products.

Overall, the problems with Keurig coffee makers are not so bad that it makes the convenience of a quick cup of delicious coffee, more trouble than it’s worth.