Keurig Flashing Lights: Should You Worry? [Troubleshooting Tips]

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Is the flashing light from your Keurig driving you crazy? Are you worried that your hard-earned coffee maker might break soon? Stop overthinking, and let me walk you through what these lights mean.

The blinking lights of a Keurig can either show smooth operation or indicate an issue. While the first means your Keurig is running smoothly, the latter conveys operational problems like an empty tank, wrong filter installation, clogged pipes, and descaling.

Here’s a quick and easy troubleshooting guide, so you can finally stop worrying about your Keurig flashing lights.

Why Are the Lights on My Keurig Blinking?

Each Keurig model has built-in light bulbs that illuminate for two reasons – one showing normal operation and the other a problem that needs addressing. While some lights are easy to diagnose, others require a visit from the trusted Keurig user manual.

Keurig lights under normal operation

Before you worry about the lights on your coffee maker, you should first know how your Keurig works. Keurig follows the same setup process – from powering the machine, filling the water tank, placing the coffee K-Cup, to pressing the brew button.

Here are the usual lights involved in a functional Keurig.

  • Steady Green Power Light. Once you press the power button, a small green bulb automatically lights up to inform you that electricity is running in the system. This light also means your Keurig begins heating the water for your brew.
  • Flickering Button Lights. Keurig size options and Keurig strong coffee have blinking buttons to indicate the machine is ready to brew. Once you pick the brew settings, the lights on the selected buttons remain on during the brewing process (about a minute).

Keurig lights as problem indicators

Flickering lights on your Keurig are not always a bad sign, but if they are, don’t panic. The blinking lights typically mean your machine cannot brew given its present condition, so they are similar to an alarm system regarding any brewing disruption.

Pinpointing the problem areas can become difficult for a machine with dozens of parts. Fortunately, Keurig has specific lights that call the user’s attention to the most commonly encountered problems – thus, easing up Keurig troubleshooting.

  • Keurig Add Water Light or Blue Flashing Light. Every Keurig model has a water reservoir that requires a minimum and maximum level of water. If the water volume falls outside this range, the machine cannot brew, and the blue light alerts the user. 
  • Keurig Descale Light. Mineral buildup commonly occurs every 3 to 6 months in all coffee makers, regardless of the brand. They can affect the taste of your coffee or block the pipes of your machine. If so, the descale light alerts the user to start the Keurig descaling cycle.

    However, the Keurig coffee maker may misinterpret what a mineral blockage is. For example, a densely packed reusable K-Cup may register as scale buildup and result in lit descale light.
  • Keurig Add Water, Heat, and Cup Size Light Flashing. These three lights have different purposes, but when they are simultaneously flashing, you may have a problem in your hands.

    Unlike the first two lights, these Keurig blinking lights do not pinpoint a specific issue. It may indicate an incorrectly installed filter, clogged pipes or needles, dislodged parts, or a poorly maintained coffee maker.

Troubleshooting Common Keurig Flashing Lights 

Flashing lights are not the end for your Keurig coffee maker. In fact, they exist to help you identify the root of the problem and use the correct troubleshooting steps for your Keurig.

Keurig add water light flashing

The straightforward solution for an empty tank is to fill with water until the max level and secure the reservoir properly into the machine. However, if the add water light remains on even after this fix, you may try the following steps.

  1. Check and wipe the reservoir port with a clean cloth. The machine may read a low water level due to possible blockage in the valves connecting the reservoir to the coffee machine. Ensure these pipes are clear from any debris before securing the tank back.
  1. Fill the tank until the max level. Once done, properly align the reservoir into the machine, and the light should stop blinking.
  1. Reset your Keurig. If the add water light remains on, turn the power off, unplug, and turn the machine back on. This method is the typical restarting process, but some models follow a specific procedure.

If the problem persists, it’s best to seek professional help or contact Keurig support directly. The light may be a manufacturing defect, which basically means it’s not something you can fix.

Keurig descale light flashing

Aside from daily maintenance, your machine will occasionally require deep cleaning or descaling. This procedure involves the removal of the mineral layer sticking to the metal surfaces. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, here’s how to descale your Keurig.

  1. Prepare the coffee maker. The water reservoir, pod compartment, and filter holder must be empty. Also, if your Keurig has an auto-off feature, disable this to avoid any disruptions during descaling.
  1. Pour the cleaning solution into the tank. You may use a 50/50 vinegar-and-water solution or the Keurig descaling solution to clean the internal parts of your coffee maker. If you used the latter, fill the empty bottle with water and add it to the reservoir.
  1. Place a mug in the drip tray. The container will serve as the catch basin for the descaling solution passing through the machine.
  1. Run a rinsing brew. If your model has the Keurig hot water button, press it to start the cycle. Otherwise, begin it manually by turning the power on, opening and closing the lid without a K-cup, and running a usual brew.
  1. Dispose of the waste and repeat. Depending on how often you descale, your machine may need more cycles than necessary.
  1. Rinse the reservoir and pipes. Place the tank under running water and rinse it several times. After which, run a rinsing cycle to flush the interior of any solution. These steps should shut the “Descale” light off.
  1. Pack your reusable K-Cups correctly. If nothing is working and you’re using reusable pods, they may be causing the error. Your coffee pods should not be too tight, too much, or too dense so that the machine can run smoothly.

If any of these steps still won’t do the trick, reach out to a professional or the Keurig customer support.

Keurig all lights flashing

Simultaneous flashing lights are undoubtedly nerve-wracking, and you are not even sure which issue needs resolving. Is it a misaligned filter, a dislodged part, or a clogged section? Given no reason, all you can do is Keurig priming, or somewhat, a full workup of the machine. 

  1. Refill and secure the water tank. If the tank does not click smoothly in its appropriate slot, the valves may not interlock and convey water. Such poorly aligned water reservoirs usually show air bubbles from the intake. 
  1. Clean the water tank. Wash with mild soap, and gently wipe the walls and valves of the tank. Remove trapped debris and drain the reservoir with clean water. 
  1. Descale the machine. If light wash does nothing, a deep clean is your next bet. Pour a descaling solution into the empty reservoir and run a cleansing cycle repeatedly. After which, rinse the excess solution with clean water through the machine.
  1. Inspect the needle. While wearing a pair of gloves, open the pod compartment and check the stability and tidiness of the sharp metal that punctures the top of your K-Cup.

The needle should not dislodge from its position with a gentle touch, nor should it contain any debris. If you find coffee bits, take a clean pin or straightened paper clip, tap it along the needle, and remove excess debris. 

  1. Inspect your water filter. After considerable usage, particles can accumulate and clog the mesh screen. Avoid this by removing the filter, brushing it gently with water, rinsing, and air drying. After which, ensure the filter fits properly back in the machine.
  1. Reset your Keurig. Sometimes, electronics do not need a fix – only a simple restart. Some Keurig models reset with a simple power off and on, but others like the Keurig K-Duo have more steps like pressing both 8 oz and 10 oz buttons for a few seconds.

If you have done every step but to no avail, consider asking for Keurig customer assistance. Doing further repairs by yourself not only risks yourself from injury but may also cause irreversible damage to the lifespan of your Keurig.

Troubleshooting Flashing Lights of Specific Keurig Models 

Some Keurigs have flashing lights that are not available in other models. This additional light typically exists when one model offers unique features and a higher price tag. So, if you do own the following Keurigs, check out what their specific blinks have to say.

(BONUS: If you don’t know which model you have, here’s a Keurig identification guide to help you get started.)

Flashing Red Brew Button (K-Mini Plus and K-15)

The red light from a K-Mini Plus or a K-15 blinks during heating and illuminates a solid color during brewing. While these happen under normal conditions, flashing lights for more than three minutes may indicate a problem. It’s best to direct your concerns toward Keurig customer support.

Flashing Clock and Power Buttons (K-Elite)

Although the K-Elite is among the higher tier models of Keurig, it is also subject to issues. And when it detects one, the clock and power buttons start flashing.

You may counter this by turning off the machine, unplugging it, letting it rest for a while, and powering it back on. Otherwise, a quick email to the Keurig online support might be the answer.

Flashing Frother Light (K-Cafe)

K-Cafe is one of the two models that allow milk in a Keurig. To make milk-infused coffees like a latte, you first need to brew the espresso and froth the milk afterward. During this process, the frother light may blink for three reasons.

  1. You tried frothing while brewing.
  2. You installed the whisk or the frother incorrectly.
  3. You placed insufficient milk in the frother.

Once you address these problems, the frothing light should shut down. If not, call the Keurig hotline and resolve the issue with their help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the blue, blinking light on Keurig mean? 

The blue, blinking light typically signifies a low water level in the reservoir. This event means your coffee maker requires a minimum volume of water in the tank before it starts brewing. You can resolve this by adding water up to the maximum level.

Does a Keurig have a reset button?

Unfortunately, you can’t press a button for your Keurig to reset. You have to manually do this by turning the power off, unplugging, waiting, and turning it back on. However, some models involve additional steps to reset the Keurig.

What’s Next?

All coffee makers have specified lifespans, but that does not mean a flashing light should get you running for a brand new one. Sometimes, these blinking lights are nothing out of the ordinary. Other times, they reveal problems that have quick and easy fixes. It’s just up to you to do the work.

Plus, there’s so much more to try with your Keurig. If you love a good dose of caffeine, the strongest coffee K-Cups should be up your alley. But, if you like your coffee sweet and creamy, a Keurig cappuccino might satisfy your tastebuds!

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