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Even the best coffee maker can clog, break, or malfunction. Keurigs are no exception to that rule.
That’s why I’ve put together some of my best Keurig troubleshooting tips, and this article will walk you through some of the most common Keurig coffee maker problems. If your Keurig’s not working, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Your Keurig Is Not Brewing
The most common issue when a machine is not brewing, and particularly so with single-serve machines, is scale. Scale is a build up of minerals that occurs on the inside of your machine, in the water tubes to be more precise.
This happens because of minerals present in the water. Tap water has minerals like calcium, which can build up, harden, and create deposits. These will clog up your coffee maker and make it impossible for the water to flow, thus incapacitating your dear coffee maker.
How to fix it
If your Keurig says prime, follow the Keurig priming instructions, otherwise, we’ll go ahead with an intense descaling run.
The best way to get rid of hard water deposits is with Keurig’s descaling solution. You can also make your own descaling solution by mixing 2 parts water with 1 parts vinegar. However, using vinegar instead of the approved solution may void your Keurig’s warranty.
- Empty your Keurig’s water reservoir.
- Fill it to the max line with the appropriately diluted descaling solution. Soak the machine in the solution for 3–4 hours. This is longer than a standard descaling run, but it’s often needed for a nasty clog.
- Place a mug in the machine and run repeated brew cycles until the add water light comes on.
- Fill the reservoir with water and run at least 12 brew cycles to rinse out the machine. Don’t skimp on this step unless you want vinegary coffee!
This should get rid of the scale, and your machine should be running perfectly again.
How to prevent it
If it happened once, it can happen twice. How do you protect your machine against scale?
It’s all about water. You now know that tap water can contain minerals, which unfortunately have to be used to filter and purify the water so it can become potable. Depending on where you live, the amount of minerals in your water could be very high.
When water has a high concentration of minerals, it is referred to as hard water. You can buy a test online to determine the hardness of your tap water. If it’s in the red, then you need a filter or water softener to prevent those minerals from clogging your coffee maker.
The water filter you purchase largely depends on you and your needs. If you already have one, you should be fine. If not, most professional baristas opt for Brita filters, so that’s the one I’ve gone with.
Even with the best water, you’re still going to need to descale your Keurig a couple of times a year. But using soft, filtered water alongside proper coffee maker maintenance should prevent any future Keurig clogs.
2. Keurig Not Turning On
This is going to be tougher than dealing with a clog. When a machine just doesn’t turn on, the problem may be out of your hands.
But before we go running to Keurig support, let’s try a couple of things first.
How to fix it
Make sure it’s not the screen that’s malfunctioning
This only applies to Keurigs with touschreens, like the Keurig 2.0. Most current home Keurig machines don’t have screens, so if yours doesn’t you can just skip this step.
When your touchscreen stops working, it doesn’t mean that the whole coffee maker is broken.
Try brewing a coffee as you normally would (you may have to guess at where to touch on the faulty screen). If that works then you know it’s just the screen that’s not working. Sure, that doesn’t sound great, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.
Replacing a screen can be done, but you’ll have to contact a professional. Your safest bet is just to go straight to Keurig. It’s a rather inexpensive process, and a new screen will make your coffee maker feel like it’s brand new.
Check the power cord
Power cords can break, especially if they are crushed or bent. When that happens, the wires inside will come apart and make it impossible for your coffee maker to receive power.
Check your cord for any visual signs of damage such as permanent, sharp bends or cuts. Those are good indicators that your cord could be to blame, but even a
A broken power cord can be fixed at home with relative ease or, in the worst of cases, you’d have to get the help of a handyman to get it working again. Thankfully, there’s no need for the machine itself to be repaired and it will be a cheap, quick fix.
If those fixes didn’t work, the problem is likely not something that you can fix on your own. In this case, you can always reach out to Keurig support. And don’t worry, they are super helpful.
They can walk you through all the steps you need to take when your machine is malfunctioning at the point of not even turning on. Chances are your coffee maker can be repaired and will be back home in a couple of weeks, brewing coffee like nothing ever happened.
But no Keurig lasts forever.
If the fix is too expensive or your coffee maker is beyond repair, this could be a good time to consider an upgrade. The new Keurig K-Supreme Plus Smart has quickly become my favorite Keurig, and I’d suggest taking a look at it (after an acceptable mourning period, of course).
3. Your Keurig Coffee Tastes Off
Another day, another cup of coffee. But after that first sip, something tastes… off. You probably shrug it off, but the next time you brew coffee you immediately realize that something is definitely wrong with the taste of your coffee.
Maybe your coffee is:
The cause is likely something we already discussed above: hard water deposits (also known as scale).
When scale reaches a point where it completely clogs the tubes of your machine, it will stop working. But all the while, build-up is forming inside your machine and impeding water flow. This will have inevitable consequences on your coffee.
When water doesn’t flow correctly, then the coffee can’t be brewed correctly. The extraction process isn’t done correctly and therefore your coffee won’t taste the same.
How to fix it
I covered the steps for fully descaling your Keurig above. In this case, we don’t need to be quite as thorough. We can skip the long soak and use a much smaller amount of descaling solution.
Use a little bit of descaling solution (about 8 ounces) in your coffee maker’s water tank, then run a brew cycle without a coffee pod. Collect the water, dump it back in the water tank, then run it again.
All of the build-up should be gone by now. Still, you need to rinse the machine to get rid of all the leftover descaling solution in there, so run several cycles with fresh water to properly rinse your coffee maker.
4. Your Keurig Coffee Maker Is Leaking
For better or worse, most Keurig machines are very small. This is a plus because it means they’re easier to move and clean, and they fit in small kitchens.
They’re quite ergonomic—and that makes them significantly cheaper, too.
The issue is the inside of the machine. The parts, most of them, are the average size of any other machine, so they are rather cramped inside the little Keurig machine. This is one of the causes of leaking.
Leaking is actually a common issue with many coffee makers, although single-serve and drip coffee machines are the two that get this issue more commonly. Fortunately for us, it’s an issue that has a very easy fix. It can be fixed at home most of the time.
The number one culprit of leaking is the gasket, a silicone/rubber ring that is put in place to stop any water from going where it’s not supposed to.
How to fix it
Check your owner’s manual. Each machine has a different positioning, and you’ll probably have to detach the grouphead to be able to see the gasket. There are two scenarios you will encounter:
- No gasket. This can happen, and if this is the case it is a miracle your coffee maker didn’t start leaking right from the start. No gasket means there’s essentially free-flowing water in this area and the leak will be significant.
You need to contact Keurig to find out the dimensions of the gasket and how to go about getting one.
- Displaced gasket. The gasket has come off and is either partially attached or not at all. The water leaks to some extent, but it’s not that bad.
In both cases, you need to reattach the gasket. This doesn’t need any sort of glue or anything: the gasket should stay in place without the help of anything else. If you can’t achieve this, then it means the gasket is too loose and you need to purchase a new one.
Gaskets are relatively easy to put in place. Place it where it should be and firmly press with the tips of your fingers for a few seconds. Repeat this several times around the gasket until it feels like it’s firmly in place.
When you’re done, put the machine back again and brew another cup. Be on alert for any other sort of leakage that may appear.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I clean my Keurig coffee maker?
To avoid having any sort of problems, you should be cleaning your Keurig coffee maker every couple of days. This can be done simply by rinsing the water tank, using a brush to clean all areas that are exposed to coffee and coffee grounds.
The water tank is the most important place you should be cleaning. Studies find that most coffee makers host yeast and fungi in the water tank because of a lack of hygiene: give it a rinse and use a little vinegar or every once in a while to avoid unwanted organisms in your coffee.
Do not use soap. Soap should only be used in extreme cases like if you’ve gone months without cleaning your coffee maker. Even then, you should try to remove the built-up dirt with just water before resorting to soap.
How often should I descale my Keurig coffee maker?
As a rule of thumb, you should descale your machine every three months. Of course, this number can vary. If the water you are using is very hard, then you probably should descale it more often, about once a month, just to make sure the build-up of scale doesn’t get out of hand.
If your water isn’t hard, three months is fine. In the case that you use bottled water or a powerful filter, you could potentially go on without descaling it forever, as there are no minerals going into your coffee maker.
Still, it’s better to be safe and descale. Mineral build-up in insidious in the way that you can’t see if it’s there, and if it get too big it could cause serious damage to your Keurig coffee maker.
That’s all you need to troubleshoot Keurig coffee makers, at least for the basic problems. For anything more complicated, you probably want to get in touch with Keurig support.
Of course, you need to focus on preventative measures, too. Make sure you have a basic understanding of how Keurigs works and avoid simple mistakes like putting milk in a Keurig (yes, it’s been done!). The little things go a long way.