Keurig coffee machines are among the most popular options for domestic brewers, and it’s easy to see why. After all, they offer an extensive range of drink options, are incredibly easy to use, and produce excellent results.
However, sometimes Keurigs experience problems ranging from messy to maddening. More often than not, there’s a relatively easy fix for the issue. This article examines the most common Keurig problems, offering solutions to remove the guesswork when your Keurig hits a glitch, so you can quickly continue enjoying a great cup of coffee.
How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?
Every Keurig coffee maker uses K-Cups to brew single cups of coffee. You place your K-Cup into the machine’s pod holder, then shut the lid.
In older models, the lid has a single needle that pierces a hole into the k-cup pod. However, there are five needles in newer Keurig coffee makers with multistream technology to provide a more even extraction.
The water pumps from the water reservoir through the heating elements before reaching the coffee grounds in the K-Cup. The water extracts the coffee, which then drips into your cup via the exit needle located beneath the cup holder.
It’s important to understand how Keurig machines work to help you identify a problem more easily and solve it. After all, Keurigs only use a few parts in the brewing process – the water reservoir, needles, cup holder, and internal components.
Therefore, the chances are any issue you have will relate to one or more of those four components. However, if the internal electronic parts are damaged, you may need to contact Keurig customer care to have them fixed.
15 Common Keurig Problems And Solutions
1. Keurig Is Not Turning On/Won’t Turn On
Imagine you press the power button to fire up your trusty Keurig, and… nothing happens! Of course, you can experience this with many electrical appliances at some point, but when your morning coffee’s at stake, it’s an issue worth fixing sooner rather than later.
It is likely the cause is down to one of three reasons, not all of them to do with the coffee machine. Firstly, it could be that the machine is not plugged in correctly. Secondly, the power outlet might not be working. Lastly, your power button might not be pushed in correctly.
Check you’ve plugged the machine into the power outlet correctly. If you did and it still won’t turn on, check other appliances in the same power outlet. If they don’t work, the issue is with the power outlet, not your Keurig. If you plug the Keurig into a different power outlet, this should solve the issue.
Another potential reason your Keurig won’t turn on could be the power button isn’t pushed in. Keep in mind that if you have the Keurig Plus or Keurig 2.0 Series, you’ll need to tap the power icon on the lower right of the LCD.
2. Keurig Won’t Brew
Sometimes, you might find your Keurig is not brewing after your press the brew button. There could be several reasons, including:
- The attachment and alignment of your Keurig’s parts.
- A clogged needle.
- A clogged filter.
- Trapped air bubbles in the water lines.
- The coffee maker needs descaling.
Again, there are some simple solutions when no coffee coming out from the brew head:
One or more parts of your Keurig coffee brewer may be aligned or positioned incorrectly. Check the cup holder, water tank, K-Cup, lid, and handle are all attached correctly. Also, ensure you’ve filled the water tank.
Check the needle isn’t clogged. If it is, use a paper clip to clean it.
The base of the Keurig water reservoir houses a filter. If it’s clogged, it will prevent the water from pumping from the tank. Give it a clean, then run a brewing cycle using fresh water. If your Keurig can dispense water smoothly, the pump should work. Also, use filtered water rather than tap water.
One possible issue is air bubbles in the water lines prevent the machine from pumping water from the tank. Unplug the machine, then gently tap it to release them.
Finally, using descaling solution, descale your Keurig to remove the scale build-up.
3. Keurig Turns On/Off On Its Own
Perhaps the most disconcerting problem you can encounter with your Keurig is if it turns on or off, seemingly at random. However, there are some reasons for this, usually concerning the “Energy Saver” or “Auto On/Off” feature or the positioning of the water reservoir’s magnet.
Some Keurigs have an “Energy Saver” feature, meaning the machine will turn off after a certain time. Similarly, if your machine has an Auto On/Off feature for automated brewing and it’s enabled, it may switch on or off unexpectedly. Again, you can solve the issue by ensuring the feature is disabled.
Each machine is different. For example, the K-Cafe and K-Class turn off automatically after two hours. Hold the “Strong” and 8oz buttons for three seconds to disable the feature. However, the Keurig Mini shuts off automatically after 90 seconds, while the auto-off feature can’t be turned off. Instead, you’ll need to restart the machine.
Finally, it’s important to ensure the magnetic contacts in the water reservoir are in contact with the ones on the machine. If they’re not, the machine will shut down.
4. Keurig Shows “Add Water,” But The Tank Is Full
Occasionally, you may have everything ready to go, including a full water tank of fresh water, but the display shows the error message: “Add More Water.” There are several possible reasons for this, including a clogged filter, the positioning of the water reservoir, and that the reservoir needs cleaning.
The first thing to try is refilling the water reservoir and ensuring you reposition it correctly. Remember, the reservoir’s magnetic contacts need to contact those on the machine.
If this doesn’t work, consider cleaning the reservoir and filter. Using warm water and some washing-up liquid, give the reservoir a gentle wipe with a damp cloth. Also, check the filter and ensure it’s not clogged.
If these solutions don’t work, try resetting the machine.
5. Coffee Grounds In The Cup
If your Keurig leaves coffee grounds in the cup, it’s easy to fix. Periodically your Keurig might brew coffee with this (unwanted) extra.
Possible causes of this issue are a clogged exit needle and your Keurig needing descaling. Also, if you’re using a reusable filter, you have to ensure you’re using the correct grind size. So let’s examine each fix.
Often, it’s a simple case of too many coffee grounds gathering in the exit needle. So first, remove and gently clean the exit needle. Next, run a small-cup water-only brew and watch for any grounds coming out. Repeat the process until the cycles are clear of grounds. If this isn’t the issue, the machine may need descaling.
Also, if you’re using a reusable filter, ensure you use a coarse drip. Meanwhile, only fill the basket to the bottom of the brown band.
6. Keurig Leaks From The Bottom
One of the most frustrating (and messy) issues you may encounter is water leaking from the bottom of the Keurig, even when it’s not in use. But what causes it?
Usually, it’s a damaged o-ring or a damaged water reservoir. However, another cause is overfilling the water reservoir. Finally, the cause could stem from the internal hot water tank. Let’s go over the solutions.
- The o-ring is at the bottom of the water reservoir. If it is damaged, replace it.
- Never overfill the water reservoir. The excess water will fall into the drip tray if you fill beyond the max water line.
- Ensure water is coming out of the cold water reservoir. Remove the water reservoir and check if any water is sitting underneath. Hold the reservoir over the sink and check for leakages.
If the o-ring isn’t damaged, you haven’t overfilled the tank, and the cold water reservoir is not leaking, try emptying the internal hot water tank. Here’s how:
Step one: Place a mug on the drip tray.
Step two: Empty the internal hot water tank
- Power off the machine but keep it plugged in.
- Lower the cold water reservoir lid.
- Press the “brew button” until all the water is in the mug. Wait between three and five seconds for the water to begin dispensing.
Step three: Wipe the water from beneath the machine and empty the drip tray
Step four: Pour 6-8oz of water into the cold water reservoir. Perform a water-only brew (without a pod).
7. Keurig Leaks Water While Heating
If your Keurig leaks water while brewing, there are several potential reasons. For example, you may have overfilled the water reservoir, or the coffee maker could be clogged. There could also be a broken upper gasket or debris accumulating in the puncture needle.
If the reservoir is too full, ensure you only fill to the max line. Meanwhile, if the coffee maker needs a clean, follow the instructions to ensure you do so correctly. If the gasket is loose, it will need tightening. However, if it has a break, you’ll need to order a replacement.
Finally, check the puncture needle and remove any debris or grounds.
8. Keurig Dispenses Too Much Coffee
What’s even messier than a leaky Keurig? A Keurig that dispenses too much coffee! If this happens, there are some tricks to overcome the issue.
The first thing to do is lean the puncture needle with a paperclip, which may solve the issue.
If that doesn’t work, try the Keurig burp! Here’s what to do:
- Unplug the machine and take out the water tank.
- Take the machine to the sink and turn it upside down.
- Using an open palm, slap the base of the machine several times to dislodge and remove any debris.
- Reassemble the machine and run a water-only cycle.
Hopefully, your Keurig will brew the correct amount of coffee. However, if you’re still facing issues, some Keurig owners shared the following solution: Washing all the parts, running a descaling cycle, and then running several more water-only brew cycles.
9. Keurig Only Brews Half A Cup
A Keurig machine brewing too much coffee can be messy, but what if it doesn’t brew a full cup of coffee? This problem may not make a mess of your countertop, but it’s hardly ideal to have a fraction of the coffee you were hoping for.
The most likely problem is a clogged Keurig. Firstly, clean the entrance and exit needles, then run a few water-only brew cycles.
If the machine still isn’t dispensing water correctly, descale your Keurig to remove any build-up in the water line.
Hopefully, these quick fixes will solve the problem. However, if they don’t, a deep clean may be necessary.
Tip: To prevent build-up, run a water-only brew cycle after each use, particularly after using a hot chocolate or cocoa pod.
10. Keurig Is Not Heating
As a domestic brewer, it’s one thing to set out to make cold coffee, but it’s quite another when you expect a steaming hot coffee and get a cold one instead.
If your Keurig isn’t heating, there are several possible explanations:
- It may fail to pump water from the water tank.
- The heating system is malfunctioning because of issues with the water pump.
- Either coffee grounds or calcium are clogging your Keurig.
You may need to order a replacement part in the first two instances. However, before you do this, clean and descale your Keurig to ensure you remove any unwanted grounds or calcium build-ups are removed. Then run a water-only cycle to check whether the Keurig’s heating system is working.
As this article has proved, sometimes your Keurig may act as though it has a mind of its own. However, seeing all the lights blink at once is one of the most alarming.
Depending on the model, you can solve the issue in a few ways. If you have a Keurig Classic, try holding down the “auto-off,” “small cup,” and “large cup” buttons simultaneously.
If only the “Add Water,” “Heat,” and “Medium Cup” lights are flashing, try the following steps:
- Ensure you position the cold water reservoir correctly.
- Run a 6oz or 8oz water-only brew into a measuring cup. If the expected volume of water dispenses, the issue should be solved. If not…
- If you’re using a water filter, run a water-only brew and if it’s a success, change the charcoal filter and place the water filter back in the brewer. If that doesn’t work…
- Perform three more 6oz or 8oz water-only brews. If the last brew dispenses the correct volume of water, the problem should be solved.
One reason the lights may flash is to indicate the machine needs to “prime”, this may happen to your Keurig Elite or Classic. Similarly, some platinum and special edition brewers have a Prime indicator on the display screen. If this happens, follow the steps in this video tutorial.
12. All The Keurig’s Lights Are On
If you have an older Keurig, you may find all the lights turning on unexpectedly. If this happens, try the following steps:
- Unplug your machine, leave it for a few seconds, then plug it back in.
- Press and hold the power button with the lid open.
- Press the cup size buttons from small, medium, to large several times.
- Close the lid and repeat the button-pressing sequence outlined above.
Hopefully, this will reset the machine, leaving only the power button light on.
13. Add Water Indicator Not Flashing
If you own a K-Mini, K-Mini Plus, or K-15, and have descaled the machine, sometimes the “add water” light may not flash, even if the reservoir is empty. Thankfully, there’s a straightforward potential fix.
- Ensure the machine has power.
- Raise the handle to release any water from the reservoir into the brewer.
- If the light still doesn’t flash, turn the machine off and place a mug on the drip tray.
- Hold the “Brew” button, and don’t release it until all the water is in the mug.
14. Keurig Is Stuck In Preheating Mode
If you have an older Keurig coffee maker, like the Keurig 2.0 K400, it may become stuck in preheating mode.
If this happens, switch off the Keurig and unplug the coffee maker. Then, plug the Keurig back in and switch the power on, and it could resolve the issue.
If there’s still a problem, there could be a loose wire inside the machine near the lid. Over time, you’ll inevitably open and shut the lid many times, which can leave the wire detached from the microswitch.
If your Keurig is no longer in warranty, you can try removing the plastic cover at the top of the machine to reach the wires, then reattach the loose white wire to the microswitch.
15. Keurig Coffee Tastes Bad Or Burnt
Aside from any technical glitches, occasionally, you may find the coffee Keurig brews doesn’t taste good. This happens for several reasons, and usually, the problem is easy to overcome:
- Over time, coffee and scale build-up in your Keurig machine, so ensure you regularly clean and descale your Keurig. If you descale using vinegar, ensure you rinse the machine thoroughly to remove the unpleasant vinegar taste. Better still, use the official descaling solution.
- Ensure you use filtered water instead of tap water.
- Brand new Keurig coffee machines often produce coffee with a plastic taste. Follow the necessary steps to remove plastic taste from a Keurig.
- Try using reusable K-Cups with fresh grounds or try high-quality K-Cup brands.
As you can see, you can solve most problems encountered by your Keurig by resetting, cleaning, or descaling the machine. Let’s examine ways to fix the most common problems.
How To Reset Keurig
If you have a high-end Keurig coffee maker, the chances are there is a factory reset option in the display menu, making resetting your machine straightforward. However, many less expensive models, including the K-Mini and K-Slim, don’t have that option.
Nevertheless, you can reset cheaper machines using the following steps:
- Remove the water tank, then turn your Keurig off and unplug it.
- Leave the Keurig coffee maker unplugged for several minutes to a few hours, leaving the reservoir unattached.
- Plug your Keurig back in.
- Turn the machine on and reattach the water reservoir, ensuring it’s correctly positioned.
Following the steps outlined above should ensure that your Keurig is now properly reset.
How To Descale Your Keurig Coffee Maker
Depending on your Keurig model, precise instructions for descaling your machine can vary. Therefore, we suggest consulting your machine’s user manual for step-by-step instructions.
Nevertheless, there are several steps common to descaling most coffee makers.
- Empty your water reservoir and drip tray, then remove the pods and filter.
- Place a coffee cup on the drip tray beneath the brewer.
- Add a 1:1 ratio of descaling solution and water to the water tank.
- Run the descaling cycle following the instructions applicable to your model.
- Run a few water-only rinsing cycles.
The following official Keurig video tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for descaling one of its machines, the K-Supreme Plus. Keurig offers some of the most popular coffee makers so it’s easy to find step by step descaling tutorials even if you lost your manual.
How To Unclog A Keurig Coffee Maker
From time to time, your Keurig may become clogged. How can you tell? Quite simply, the stream flowing from your machine will be thinner, or it’ll stop brewing coffee altogether. Another indication that you have at least a partially clogged machine is the appearance of grounds in your cup.
Let’s go over the steps needed to unclog your machine.
- Remove the k-cup holder.
- Remove the funnel from the pod holder and clean it.
- Remove any excess coffee grounds from the entrance and exit needles using a paper clip.
- Clean your water reservoir and remove build-ups and debris from the filter screen.
The video tutorial below details how to correctly clean your machine’s entrance and exit needles.
Keurig coffee makers are among the most convenient and easy to use on the market. Not only that but there is an extensive selection of K-Cups so that you can enjoy almost any coffee you desire effortlessly.
However, Keurigs can be prone to issues that leave domestic brewers frustrated. Nevertheless, as this article has shown, there’s often an easy enough fix for even the most perplexing of problems.
You can even avoid most issues completely with regular cleaning and maintenance. However, some require a little technical know-how.
Whichever issue you face, hopefully, this article has addressed them so you can quickly return to the most important task – making hassle-free and amazing coffee!
Keurig Troubleshooting FAQs
There are two ways to contact Keurig’s customer service. You can reach out to them via the official website at https://support.keurig.com/ or call them toll-free, seven days a week, on 1-866-901-2739.
Keurig offers a limited one-year warranty. For more information, visit https://support.keurig.com/?kmContentId=1014732&page=shell&shell=knowledge-article