Waking up to a coffee machine that refuses to work is one of the worst ways to start the day. If you’re a busy person, you’ll get off to work without your usual coffee. It sounds like a bad scenario, right? I’ll go berserk without my morning coffee, honestly.
Such a thing is avoidable if you know your Keurig machine well and know how to troubleshoot small problems. So, if you want to know how to handle little things, you may not have to start your day badly.
How Does a Keurig Coffee Maker Work?
If you’re a long-time Keurig coffee maker user, you’re probably fond of the K-cups or coffee pods. Coffee pods store in just enough coffee grounds to make single-serve coffee. Imagine having a cup of brewed coffee in less than a minute.
So how does the Keurig technology work? Keurig coffee machines work the same. Let’s get to the K-cups first.
Although the process seems to be simple, there’s a technology that lies under the lids of K-cups.
The K-cups have four parts that allow a great tasting coffee to pour in under a minute. From the outside, you’ll find a plastic cup sealed with a lid. There’s a filter pouch inside that holds ground coffee of about 9 to 12 grams. That would put a gap between the filter basket and the bottom of the cup.
Before the manufacturer seals the coffee grounds, they pump in nitrogen, so the oxygen pushes out of the container. The technology leaves no room for moisture or oxygen. Without moisture and oxygen, the coffee grounds preserve their roasted state before getting brewed. Without this process, the ground coffee in your K-cups will surely taste bad.
The Keurig Coffee Maker
Different Keurig machines work similarly and have almost the same system as espresso machines. It has a simple operation that anyone can follow. Once you put the K-cups in the machine, shut the lid and select how many ounces of coffee you want.
Remember that the Keurig machine has sensors that identify the right K-cup. As soon as the Keurig detects the right K-cup size, you can turn the brew button on. You’ll find your newly brewed coffee in your cup within less than a minute.
The amount of coffee depends on how strong you want your coffee to be. If you’re a light coffee drinker, you can make more cups in one K-cup.
How does the Keurig coffee maker brew, you ask? Once you put the K-cups into the brewing chamber and shut its cover, there’s one needle that will punch through from the top of the K-cup’s lid. Pressurized water from the water reservoir will run into this needle and flow down on the K-cup’s filter basket.
It will now start its brewing magic with the coffee grounds.
There’s another needle that will punch through the bottom of the K-cup. It will serve as an outlet for the newly brewed coffee.
So how did the machine dispense hot coffee in under a minute? The Keurig coffee maker has tiny tubes that process water from the tank. These tubes heat the water as it flows. And because these tubes are small, the water gets hot quickly in no time. So these tubes work as a heater and a passage for water. It enters the K-cups already hot, then the brewing magic starts.
One thing so distinctive about Keurig coffee makers is their ability to adjust the strength of coffee and the size of your cup. A Keurig 2.0 allows you to brew a single-served or a coffee pot that can hold up to 4 cups.
Even the Mini Keurig could carry more water on its tank. You don’t have to refill the tank often. It handles the pressure and high temperature just like other Keurigs. As soon as the water reaches the optimum temperature, it blends well with the coffee grounds and creates great-tasting coffee.
Keurig Troubleshooting Guide: 16 Most Common Problems and How to Fix Them?
However, things happen and you cannot always have good things. For some reason, your favorite morning buddy stops brewing or brewing right just when your body is prepared to take a sip of good coffee.
Now you see there are about 16 problems we want to fix. If you’re looking at the numbers, you’ll probably think that Keurig is an unworthy investment, but no. Unfortunately, these problems came from the user’s feedback. But honestly, you can avoid and fix most of these problems by yourself without the need for support.
Keurig is still a reliable coffee maker. It would not probably have come up to its name today if not for its durability. The key here is to get to know your Keurig machine very well so you can address the right solution when unexpected problems happen. So let’s talk about these problems.
Problem 1: Keurig Doesn’t Work
Keurig is a smart coffee maker. However, you still ended up with a fancy Keurig not working the way it used to.
The most probable reason here is the type of water you use. If you’re using well water or hard water, it will build up deposits on your Keurig over time.
So if you are using water like these, you’ll probably end up with clogged tubes. Keurig won’t work properly if it has build-ups and clogged tubes.
One thing you can do is descale your precious Keurig and change the water you’re using.
Keurig has its line of descaling solution kits. You can also use a vinegar solution for descaling it, but doing so will void your warranty.
- Empty the water reservoir and put it back on.
- Pour the entire descaling solution on the reservoir.
- Fill the empty bottle of descaling solution with fresh water. That mixture would make a ratio of one part water and one part of the solution.
- Remove the K-cup holder.
- Press the power button on.
- Select the largest cup size and press brew.
- After one cycle, dispose of the solution from the water reservoir.
- Repeat step 6 and run another cycle. Your Keurig would show, “add water.”
- Leave the solution there for 30 minutes. This process also goes if you use a vinegar solution.
- Remove all the solution left in the water reservoir and replace it with fresh water. Make sure it fills up to the maximum.
- Run another brewing cycle with the largest cup size. Keurig recommends 12 cycles.
Problem 2: Keurig Won’t Turn On
If your Keurig machine doesn’t show the power icon and welcome note when plugged in and turned on, it must have touchpad or machine issues.
Unplug it for a few seconds then re-plug it. Hold the power button. If it doesn’t turn on, unplug it again and check the socket. Re-plug it and turn it on. Repeat several times. If nothing happens, try another socket. Changing the socket should fix the problem.
Problem 3: Keurig Shuts Off by Itself
It is not a problem at all when your Keurig shuts off by itself. However, not all owners knew that their unit has an auto-shut-off feature. Your Keurig machine has some features like a sleep mode on when not in use. The in-built timer shuts off the machine automatically.
If you’re using a Mini Keurig, press the power button. It will shut off automatically if you are not using it within 90 seconds.
If you’re using a premium unit, it will shut off after two hours of not using it. Your auto-shut-off indicator will light green when activated. There’s a black button that activates the auto-shut-off mode. Press it if you want to activate or deactivate it. You have successfully deactivated the auto-shut-off when the green light has turned off.
The most advanced Keurig machine has the same feature. However, you can disable the auto-shut-off feature through the menu’s programming setting. Press the left button more than twice or multiple times so you can deactivate it. The green light will shut off when deactivated.
Problem 4: Keurig Leaks Water
If your Keurig machine leaks when brewing, you still don’t need to call customer service. The reason is a misplaced needle’s gasket or O-ring. If you remember, the needle moves when brewing because it has to punch the K-cup’s lid. So it tends to weaken the gasket’s hold and misalign from its place.
You’ll have to put it back nicely because leaking would surely affect the amount of your coffee serving. You also don’t ignore this problem because it causes a mess. The coffee grounds will leak out, so you don’t want that to happen first thing in the morning.
Another reason is the needle gasket or O-ring is probably missing or broken. When it does, you’ll have to replace it. There are replacement parts you can purchase for a needle gasket.
Problem 5: Coffee is Tasting Weird
When you get used to great-tasting coffee, you’ll probably start frowning over bad-tasting coffee. You want the taste to remain as to how you know it. The problem is your machine could end up with mineral deposits brought by hard water. It clogs in different tubes it passes, affecting the coffee’s taste.
If that’s the case, you need to descale and clean your machine. Another reason must be the water you used. You must replace the water often. When it has been there for some time, you must replace it.
You can also change the K-cups or the flavor you are brewing. So anything that the water passes through may affect the coffee’s taste. And if you feel like every cup you try to brew tastes like feet, your machine needs cleaning.
Problem 6: Keurig Displays Add More Water
It’s frustrating to see your Keurig asking for more water when you know the reservoir is full. Your Keurig has a sensing disk or a reflective disc. If such a situation happens, this sensor is not detecting enough water levels. It could also mean that deposits or residue are blocking the disc.
Here’s how you can fix the issue:
- Make sure the water reservoir sits in the base properly.
- Turn the Keurig off. Remove the plug from the socket.
- Take the water reservoir off.
- Empty it and rinse it with water. Do not use a dishwashing liquid.
- Check the valve for clogs. Place it back.
- Turn the machine on.
- Refill it with filtered water. Do not use distilled water.
If it’s not working, you probably need to descale your Keurig.
Problem 7: Keurig Touchscreen Won’t Turn On
If you’ve been using your Keurig for a long time now, the touchscreen pad should now be your best friend. If you know for yourself that you have been using the touchscreen with dry hands, there’s nothing to worry about. If you know that you never spilled on anything on the touchscreen, there’s nothing to worry about.
If your screen suddenly turns blank, it could be another case of the auto-shut-off feature.
Unplug your Keurig. Wait for a few seconds. Re-plug it. Press and hold the power button. Try it a few times. If it doesn’t turn on, unplug it and switch to another socket. It should do the trick.
Problem 8: Keurig Does Not Dispense Water
If your Keurig is not dispensing water, the machine must not be detecting the water tank. You can remove the tank and put it back gently. Make sure that it fits right, so it knows that it can now dispense water.
Your Keurig has a water level sensor. If the sensor is unable to do its job, it probably won’t detect the tank. If the water tank is not misaligned, maybe the sensor disc has been blocked.
Another reason is the entry needle could have clogs. You’ll hear a grinding noise, which means the water struggles to find a way out. Check the opening by removing the water from the tank and filling it with water at least a third. Locate the spout where the water flows through and see if there is debris blocking the tubes.
If scales are blocking the sensor, you need to remove them by descaling with a Keurig descaling solution.
If you do not hear any grinding noise and the machine won’t dispense water, the motor could be broken and need replacement.
Problem 9: Keurig Stuck on Preheating
Your Keurig machine has a preheating feature once it detects water being added. After preheating, it should proceed to brew. If it doesn’t, it could mean that some debris is blocking the nozzle.
You can check this by turning your machine off and letting it cool down. Once it’s already cool, go and check the needles. Use a paperclip to remove any blockage. You can also use a straw to blow it down. Anyway, Keurig machines have needle cleaners.
If this solution still doesn’t work, empty the water tank and replace it with hot water. You want to make sure that the machine can detect hot water so it can proceed to brew. This solution is a temporary fix; I hope it doesn’t happen frequently.
Problem 10: Keurig “Prime Error” Notice
There are three reasons why a prime error notice shows in your Keurig screen:
- The water tank doesn’t sit well on the base.
- The water tank is dirty.
- Residues are blocking the needles.
Looking at these problems only shows that the most reasons are sensory issues and debris build-up.
If the prime error notice shows, clean the water tank. Turn your Keurig off then remove the plug. Take the water tank off and clean it. Rinse well and let it dry.
Once dried, place it back on the machine and make sure it sits perfectly on the base. Now the tank is clean and aligned properly. It’s time to unclog the needles. Needle cleaners come with Keurig coffee makers. Use it or use a straightened paper clip to clean the funnel.
Problem 11: Keurig Isn’t Resetting
Sometimes, your Keurig machine won’t finish a brew cycle. It doesn’t reset as a result of a malfunction. You have to remember how to reset your Keurig’s computer because you can easily do this without customer service.
- Turn your Keurig off, then remove the plug.
- Leave it off for a few minutes, then re-plug it.
If it doesn’t work, do these:
- Before you turn off your Keurig and unplug it, take the water reservoir off.
- Leave the machine out without a water tank for a few hours.
- Plug it back and turn it on.
- Return the water tank to its place and make sure it fits well into the base.
You can also try to open then close the lid where you place your K-cups. Your Keurig works only when sealed.
Problem 12: Advance Reset a Keurig
If the basic resetting doesn’t fix your issue, you can try advanced setting your Keurig. This troubleshooting technique will solve technical glitches of your machine. It needs quick press switching.
- Find the small & medium-size cup keys on the screen and press them simultaneously. Release the buttons together.
- Quickly switch to the menu button and press it three times. You are supposed to see 06:09 on the clock. If you don’t see the time, have another try. If you find 06:09, then you’re doing it right.
- You can now press the menu button. You’re now supposed to see 0:00.
- Now, this is a tricky step. Find the medium-sized cup button and press it. While doing so, press and hold the menu again while releasing the medium button.
- Have another go at step one. And release the buttons.
- Unplug your Keurig for a while, then re-plug it.
Problem 13: Keurig Won’t Brew Your Requested Cup Size
Your Keurig would brew the cup size you picked. If it doesn’t, your needle must be clogged. What you can do is run a brew cycle only without the coffee pods. If it fills the right cup size, it’s not short-serving.
Maybe you should replace the charcoal filter. To find out, run a brew cycle without the coffee pods and water filter. If it serves the right cup size, then you must replace the charcoal filter.
If changing the charcoal filter doesn’t fix the issue, clean the punching needles.
Problem 14: Keurig Shows Brewing But Won’t Dispense Anything
If the screen says that Keurig is already brewing, but no coffee dispenses on your cup, the water tank must be short or the tank has misaligned with the base. Also, make sure that the handle has been lowered.
Sometimes you have to be patient because preheating is about three minutes.
Problem 15: Keurig Dispenses Grounds in the Cup
This problem occurs when:
- You use incorrectly sized K-cups
- The exit needle has been clogged
- The refillable K-cup doesn’t contain the correct ground size
- The K-cup’s lid is misaligned.
If the exit needle is clogged, clean it with a paper clip and run a brew cycle with just water. Repeat until it’s clear from residual coffee grounds. The correct ground size of coffee should be coarse. Make sure that you are using correctly-sized K-cups.
Problem 16: Keurig Brews Weak Coffee Cup
If you think the Keurig brewed coffee seems weak for you, try selecting the lowest ounces. You can also use two K-cups in one mug. Also, you can use stronger roasted coffee grounds. In this case, the Keurig brew-strength selection is not the problem but the strength of grounds in the K-cups.
If changing the K-cup strength doesn’t do the trick, you’ll probably need to descale your Keurig.
How to Advance Reset Keurig
You can fix most technical glitches on Keurig’s computer with advanced resetting.
- Locate the small & medium-size cup switches and press them together. Release them simultaneously.
- Press the menu three times quickly. It must display 06:09 on the screen.
- Press the menu button. The screen should display 0:00.
- Select the medium-sized cup. Press and hold the menu again while releasing the medium button.
- Repeat step one. And release the buttons.
- Unplug the unit and leave it. After some time, re-plug it.
Dos and Don’ts when Troubleshooting a Keurig
- Always let your Keurig cool down before holding inner parts.
- Always use fresh water.
- Run a brewing cycle with water only until the machine is clear from deposits and free of odor.
- Make sure to insert all returned parts, like gaskets, properly.
- Make sure you are using the right coffee pod.
- The inner parts should be clean when you return them.
- Be careful when cleaning the needles because they’re sharp.
- Don’t forget to shut the machine off, and then remove the plug when removing parts like the water tank.
- Avoid touching and scratching the sensors when cleaning.
- Do not use dishwashing liquid.
- Don’t ignore a misaligned water tank.
- Don’t use well water or mineral water.
- Don’t leave your Keurig plugged when not in use.
- Don’t over shake your Keurig when trying to remove deposits.
- Don’t use abrasive cloth for exterior cleaning.
Keurig offers one year warranty for each Keurig unit. Just register your unit on their website so they can keep your details. In case of a defective coffee maker, they may either replace it with a new or reconditioned Keurig unit. For the replaced machine, there will be a new warranty applied. Sounds good?
However, the warranty becomes void when you use the unit outside the US. If you’re not using Keurig K-cups and accessories, it will also void the warranty.
See, these problems need no customer service. If you’re going to run through the most problems listed here, they occurred because of mineral deposits and improper usage.
Keurig is an intelligent machine that runs on a computer. If Keurig detects an irregularity, it refuses to work. The good thing here is you can avoid most problems by using fresh water and using the machine properly. Clean it regularly, so you can enjoy great-tasting coffee.
Now you know how to troubleshoot these problems, you don’t have to worry about not enjoying your most favorite time of the day.