Keurigs are sophisticated machines with a simple purpose: to brew delicious coffee. Like any household appliance, regular usage can lead to mechanical problems or a decrease in the quality of your brew over time.
Fortunately, it’s easy to identify most Keurig malfunctions, and fixing them is usually quick and inexpensive.
We found the most common reasons your Keurig is not working properly are the following;
- Damaged Needle
- Clogged Water Pump
- Scale build-up
- The filter needs to be replaced
- Water reservoir is not attached correctly
- The brew settings have been changed
- The gasket seal is loose
- Your tap water is bad
Read on as we take a deeper look into each of these issues and how to fix them!
Machine leaking? Check out this guide on why your Keurig machine is leaking water or coffee.
Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚
Table of Contents
1. Your Machine Needs Descaling
In my experience, 9 times out of 10 THIS is the reason your machine is acting up.
Many Keurig owners have no idea that you’re supposed to clean and descale their machines every 2-3 months. If you don’t (or ignore the pop-up message on your display), then your Keurig lines will accumulate a build-up of mineral ‘scale’ and clogg over time.
You’ve seen those videos of plaque blocking someone’s arteries? Same goes for your Keurig machine!
To descale your Keurig, you’ll need to grab some descaling powder and the whole process takes about 15 minutes
Empty the descaling powder into your reservoir and fill it with water. Brew several cups of hot water, without any K-cup inserted. This will dissolve the sediment. Be sure to flush your system by brewing a carafe of clean water after descaling.
Not sure how to descale? Check out our helpful guides for your specific machine below:
Not the right machine for you? Check out our other descaling guides for Keurig coffee machines below:
2. The Injection Needle is Clogged Or Damaged
Are you starting to notice loose grounds at the bottom of your coffee cup?
This is one of the most widespread problems when it comes to Keurigs..
The Inject Needles are prone to being clogged or dulled by coffee grounds, plastic, or other types of debris. You can gently swab the debris away, but take care because the needle is very sharp. Once you’ve done that, try brewing some water without a K-Cup. The water should be clear and free of any ground.
Watch: This video from Keurig’s webiste shows exactly how to clean the needle.
2. The Water Pump is Clogged
Nine times out of ten, Keurig malfunctions have something to do with the water reservoir chamber. For instance, the Keurig may be brewing small amounts of coffee, despite selecting 10 or 12 oz options on the menu. This is usually due to an issue with the water intake valve inside the reservoir.
When this valve located at the bottom of your tank becomes clogged, with sediment or debris, the pump will not be able to siphon the correct amount of water. An easy fix is to detach the reservoir, pour out the water, and hold it upside down. Tap the intake valve a few times and look for any buildup on either side of the valve. Press it firmly back into position and brew a cup of water to test it.
4. The Filter Needs to be Replaced
Your Keurig machines water reservoir has a carbon filter that needs to be replaced every 2 months!
Actually, all Keurig models can get dirty and need to be cleaned on a weekly basis. Keurig sells rinse pods for this exact purpose. You simply pop in a rinse pod K-cup, brew it, and voila, your machine is clean. Doing this weekly will help prevent buildup and loose grounds. But the biggest benefit is that it makes your coffee taste far better. Water borne bacteria, limescale, and old grounds can make your coffee taste bitter or skunky. You can also help fix this by changing out your water filter. Regular cleaning of the machine will help improve its longevity.
Then simply swap it out with the one in your machine, or follow this guide to help you replace your keurig water filter.
Learn More: In this guide, we take you step by step on how to replace your Keurig’s filter
- PERFECT FIT - These Keurig-compatible replacement coffee filters are a universal fit for almost all Keurig machines, including: SMART Brewer Group: K-Café SMART, K-Supreme SMART, K-Supreme Plus SMART Traditional Brewer Group: K-Classic, K-Café, K- Café Special Edition, K-Latte, K-Elite, K-Compact, K-Select K-Duo Series: K-Duo Essentials, K-Duo, K-Duo Special Edition, K-DuoPlus, K-Supreme, K-SupremePlus Brewers, K-Slim Series: K-Slim, K-Slim + Iced K-Express, and K-Express Essentials
5. The Reservoir Tank is Not Attached Properly
Is your Keurig leaking water on your kitchen counter? This could be because the reservoir tank isn’t fitted correctly. When you attach your tank to the machine, make sure it clicks in place. Some models have hooks on the side of the tank to help secure it in place. Make sure those are attached properly, as is the base. Press down firmly on the tank to ensure the intake valve is properly connected. If the tank is loosely placed on top, the connection won’t be secure and water will leak. Check and make sure your drip tray isn’t full, either.
6. Your Settings Have Changed
Does your Keurig keep shutting off? This can be a major inconvenience, especially when you’re in a rush in the morning. To fix this, check your settings. If you have a digital display, look for the energy saving option or auto off. You can program your machine to turn on and preheat at a set time every morning. Or, you can have it stay on and ready to brew at any time.
For machines without touchscreen displays, there should be an “auto off” button near the top. If you select this, it will turn your machine off after two hours of inactivity. To turn it off, press the button so it turns red.
Watch: This video shows exactly how to reset your machine back to it’s factory settings.
7. The Gasket Seal is Loose
One overlooked part in Keurig maintenance is the gasket. The gasket used to be a separate tube located next to the needle that would pump water through the K-cup. Now, the gasket and needle are one piece, so your needle is both puncturing the cup and pushing water through it. In order to do this, there is a seal around the gasket/needle apparatus.
This thin rubber seal will often come loose and dislodge, leading to leaks or sputtering. Double check and make sure the seal is firmly in place. You can also order replacement seals for relatively cheap.
8. Your Water is to Blame
Is your water causing damage to your keurig? The company warns against using soft water in your system as it leads to build up and frequent clogs. If your tap water is soft, try using bottled or filtered water in your machine.
BONUS. Start Using Keurig Rinse Pods
Keurigs just hold water, so they can never get dirty, right?
Actually, all Keurig models can get dirty and need to be cleaned on a weekly basis. Keurig sells rinse pods for this exact purpose. You simply pop in a rinse pod K-cup, brew it, and voila, your machine is clean. Doing this weekly will help prevent buildup and loose grounds. But the biggest benefit is that it makes your coffee taste far better. Water borne bacteria, limescale, and old grounds can make your coffee taste bitter or skunky. You can also help fix this
Keurig machines are relatively ease to fix and maintain. With a little troubleshooting, you can fix most problems within a few minutes. If your Keurig is still having issues, consider reaching out to the company. Persisting problems may indicate a manufacturer defect, which the company can help fix.
Machine leaking? Check out this guide on why your Keurig machine is leaking water or coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions: Keurig Problems
Q. What Causes a Keurig to Stop Working?
There are a few reasons why your Keurig might stop working.
- One common issue is a clogged needle. To fix this issue, you’ll need to clean the needle by inserting a paperclip or a needle into the hole and gently moving it around to remove any debris that might be clogging it.
- Another common issue is mineral buildup within the machine. If you live in an area with hard water, mineral buildup can clog your Keurig and cause it to stop working. You can clean the machine by running a descaling solution through i. This will help break up any mineral deposits and get your Keurig running smoothly again.
Q. How Do You Fix a Keurig That Won’t Brew?
If your Keurig won’t brew, there are a few things you can try to fix the issue. First, check to make sure that the water reservoir is filled. If the reservoir is empty, your Keurig won’t brew.
If the water reservoir is full, the next thing to check is the needle. As mentioned earlier, a clogged needle can cause your Keurig to stop brewing. If you’ve already cleaned the needle and it’s still not working, try resetting your Keurig.
Q. How Do I Reset My Keurig?
Resetting your Keurig is easy. Simply unplug the machine and leave it unplugged for a few minutes. This will allow the machine to reset itself. After a few minutes, plug the machine back in and try brewing a cup of coffee.
If your Keurig still isn’t brewing, there may be an issue with the machine’s pump. If this is the case, it’s best to contact Keurig customer support for further assistance.
Q. Why Is My Coffee Maker Turning On But Not Brewing?
If your coffee maker is turning on but not brewing, it could be due to a clogged water line. To fix this issue, you’ll need to clean the water line by running a mixture of vinegar and water through the brewing cycle. This will help break up any mineral deposits or debris that might be clogging the water line.
Another possible issue could be the coffee maker’s heating element. If the heating element isn’t working properly, your coffee maker won’t be able to heat the water to the correct temperature. If this is the case, it’s best to replace the heating element.
Q. How Do You Tell If Your Keurig Is Clogged?
You can tell your Keurig is clogged because it’s brewing less coffee than usual or not brewing at all. Generally, the machine will make all the usual sounds, the pump will engage and hum, but no water (or coffee will come out).
If this is the case, try Tip 2 above on how to unclog the injector needle.