Keurig Troubleshooting: Won’t Brew, Won’t Turn On, Not Dispensing Water, and More

By Shabbir
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Keurig coffee makers are some of the most popular coffee makers in the United States with some stats showing that roughly 1 in 4 US households owns a Keurig. What’s not to like? They’re quick, they’re convenient, and allow you to enjoy a very wide variety of beverages.

However, no coffee maker is perfect, and in this post, we’ll look at some common Keurig coffee maker problems and their solutions. It’s fairly easy to fix most of these problems so in case you’re having a case of the Mondays and the last thing you needed was your Keurig no longer working, we’re here to help!

Keurig Troubleshooting: Common Problems and Solutions

Keurig coffee machine

My Keurig Won’t Brew

1. Problem: Some parts are not aligned correctly

The first thing you should check is whether everything is where it should be. The Keurig machine is designed in such a way that, when the existing contacts in it fail, the whole system stops functioning.

To check whether this is the cause of your Keurig not brewing, do the following;

  • Unplug the machine from the wall socket
  • Take out the water reservoir and place it back properly. Note that the reservoir has a magnet and that might have been misplaced. This causes the Keurig to power down as it doesn’t sense the presence of water.
  • After ensuring that the water reservoir is well placed, give it another shot. You could just start by trying to run water alone in the first cycle to see what happens.
  • Your coffee maker should start brewing again.
  • If the machine brews but keeps shutting off and on again, then you should confirm that you didn’t set the auto-shutoff feature.

2. Problem: The pump is not working correctly

As we said earlier, the machine working mechanism has been designed in such a way that certain parts must communicate or work in a specific order for it to brew.

The water in the reservoir has to heat first before the pump to elevate it. If this works the other way round, then there is a fault somewhere. Your machine won’t brew.

Here are a few steps for you to try:

  1. Unplug the machine and plug it back
  2. Switch it off and on again
  3. Check the water reservoir and readjust it
  4. Give the burp or spank method a try. This is done over the sink after removing the water reservoir and drip tray. Turn it upside down to pour out as much water as possible. You should then spank it several times so that any coffee grounds can be bumped out of the machine.
  5. Get things back in order then try brewing again

3. Problem: clogged needle(s) due to scale

Did you know that your Keurig has a needle that punctures the K-Cup’s foil lid? These needles get clogged with coffee grounds or minerals in the water.

As a result, your coffee maker won’t brew a full cup or will give no coffee at all.

Follow the following procedure to easily fix this problem:

  1. Descale your Keurig using a mix of water and vinegar. Brew using this mixture, and run a few more cycles with regular water to flush everything out. This should remove any scale from the needle.

If your Keurig machine does not get back to brewing coffee, then you should advance to the next possible fix.

4. Problem: clogged needles due to debris

This is just an extension of what you’ve been doing above but this time around your attention is concentrated somewhere. Have your paper clip tool ready? Do the following

  • Take out the plastic holder that holds the K-cup in the brewer
  • You’ll then see a small metal tube(needle) that pokes a hole into the bottom of the K-cup
  • Using your paper clip, insert it into the tube and try to dislodge any remains of whichever beverage you’ve been brewing
  • As you do so, run water over the tube
  • Next, under the handle lid, you should see a set of tubes that injects water into the K-cups. Use the paper clip to clean all of them as well
  • The next step is to put them back together and then run several cycles of water minus the K-cup

Your machine should have responded the fix and start brewing coffee in normal quantity. You can also read other users tricks at the ifixit website. Be sure to check it out later.

5. Problem: Keurig says brewing but nothing comes out

At times your Keurig may say brewing but nothing comes out. This can be quite puzzling. But there is no need to get troubled. Your coffee maker is either experiencing some mechanical or electrical problems. Do the following;

For an electrical fault – simply unplug the machine then allow it to rest for a short time then plug it back in.

That should have your problem fixed. But if that fails and it continues to power on, then it is a mechanical issue, so move to the next steps.

  • Try running the machine without a pod to see if there is water running. It’s possible that there is a water blockage.
  • Check the puncture needle and ensure it is well cleaned.
  • Next, you might want to descale the machine to ensure that the water sucking tubes are also clean
  • Make sure you follow the proper descaling procedure so as not to miss out on any single step.
  • Run another test to see if the problem is sorted. You should now be able to see the machine do what it says.

6. Problem: The water reservoir is clogged

The bottom of the water reservoir could have debris especially after using the machine for quite a long time. Take out the reservoir then clean the metal mesh by washing it.

Use warm water and soap. Once done and fully dry, place the parts back in place. If there isn’t any other barrier, your machine should get back to work. As simple as that.

7. Problem: The Keurig is pumping water continuously

This is commonly caused by the presence of debris in the water valves. At times it might be a result of scale.

Fix this issue by descaling the machine. Allow it to cool. Remove the water reservoir and clean it thoroughly. Do not forget to clean the needles as well.

8. Problem: There is water leakage

The first reason for this problem is the machine being over-filled. Another possible reason is the use of wrong pods or that debris has clogged around the needle.

To fix this, empty the drip tray and use a cup under the dispenser.

Try brewing a cup of hot water after you’ve added the exact recommended amount of water to the reservoir. The leakage should stop.

9. Problem: You get coffee grounds in your cup

The main reason as to why this happens is because you may be using softened water in your machine.

As a matter of fact, Keurig recommends against the use of softened water.

You should switch to either tap water or filtered water.

To solve this problem, use bottled or tap water to fill the water reservoir. Run multiple cycles without the K-cups in place, which should fix it.

Keurig not pumping water or dispensing

1. Air in the water line: realign the reservoir

As unlikely as it seems, this is a very possible cause that can result in big trouble. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to solve:

  1. Take out your reservoir from the machine and fill it up to about a quarter full or so and replace it in the machine
  2. Lift the reservoir up and down rapidly and consistently until you can see some small air bubbles coming up from the water intake place at the bottom of the reservoir
  3. Keep doing so until there are no more bubbles appearing
  4. Once done, fill up the reservoir to the fill level and then power your machine

In this simple trick, the process helps drive out air from the water line. This trick works like magic.

2. The ‘More Water Please Error’

In this case, you fill your Keurig as usual, press the brew button, and boom! Up pops a ‘More Water Please Error’.

Two possible things might have happened here. You’re either using the wrong type of water or your reservoir is causing the problem by sending some false signals to the machine.

Fear not!

Here is what you should do to eliminate this error that causes your Keurig to no longer pump water.

  1. The first thing is to refill the water reservoir to the maximum level fill. Make sure it is properly placed back in the unit then hit the continue button. If that doesn’t solve it, continue to step 2.
  2. Pull out the water reservoir and empty the contents.
  3. Clean the reservoir by hand. Be sure to use a non-abrasive piece of cloth and rinse thoroughly.
  4. Make sure to check that the valve is not clogged at all
  5. Fill the reservoir and place it back in the unit. Make sure it’s well placed. If still didn’t work, then you might want to try step 6.
  6. In the reservoir, there is a float that usually runs on top of it. If there is an issue with the float, chances are that your machine is not getting the correct signals of water levels
  7. Simply shaking and tapping and your Keurig machine should get back to doing things correctly.

One of the two possible fixes for Keurigs that have stopped pumping should help you overcome that problem. You may have to repeat a fix a couple of times.

3. Unclog the water lines and filter by descaling

One of the major reasons as to why your Keurig is not pumping enough water is that the water lines or filter have gotten clogged.

In many cases, this is because of the kind of water you’re using.

If you use tap water or water from the well, note that such water sources have lots of minerals, including calcium. The minerals build up in the tiny water lines of the Keurig machine and as a result, clog the system.

If this is the case in your coffee maker, then you could try performing the following steps to descale and clean your machine. The use of vinegar has proven to work like a charm.

  1. Fill the machine’s reservoir with water mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar all the way to the fill level. You can also use lemon juice or citric acid pellets instead.
  2. Next, place a coffee cup on the drip tray. Make sure the K-Cup lid is closed properly and then run a brew cycle
  3. Run a second brew cycle by adding more of the acid mixture. For serious scale deposits, you can turn off the machine as soon as it starts brewing to keep the water in the pipes for a bit longer.
  4. Allow the brewer rest for about 30 minutes before moving to the next step
  5. Now fill the water reservoir with distilled water(or the closest thing available) and then run another brew cycle.
  6. Repeat step 5 at least 3 more times to completely flush out any traces of acid from your Keurig.

The above steps, if done appropriately, should fix your problem.

In case you notice that your coffee has a funny taste. In such scenarios, try just running multiple brew cycles using clean or distilled water until things get back to normal.

4. Damaged Pump

If you’re still unable to get your Keurig to pump water, there is a chance that your pump may be damaged.

For you to perform this successfully, you’ll need the following tools;

  • A screwdriver
  • A small parking knife with a sharp end
  • A toothpick or something equivalent and
  • A plastic thumb-tack

It is advisable that you exercise a lot of caution when walking down this road. That said, here are a few things to do that should fix your Keurig problem.

1. Start off by removing the cover under the handle

Being the most difficult part of the whole process, you should understand exactly what you’re in for. We do not want you to get injured or cause more problems to the machine either.

With the top cover removed, you’ll be able to clearly see the parts that are causing issues to your machine.

2. Working on the inside

Since the interior parts are well visible, it’s time to find out what exactly is standing between you and your favorite cup of coffee. There is a blade that feeds the water into the pack.

Also, you’ll see a rubber hose and another blade below this one. Using your toothpick, slowly and very carefully poke into the three holes in the upper blade.

You’ll notice some dried coffee grounds sticking around. Remove them as well. Remember to pay close attention to everything that you’re doing. Ensure an eagle eye on everything else.

Check that all the hose ends are fine and there are no blockages. Once you feel satisfied with everything that you’ve done, it’s time to return the removed parts back in place.

3. Test your coffee maker

When done returning the upper case, replace the water reservoir, fill it up then run a brew cycle. Everything must have gone back to normal and your machine pumping water just fine.

While the above steps might appear tough and a bit technical, proceeding with moderation will ensure that you achieve exactly what you want.

For you to get enough grasp of this final fixing trick, please read this post on Instructables.

We believe that with all the above tips and tricks, you’ll never miss your favorite coffee flavor again! If by any chance none of the above worked for you.

Then you should consider picking up your phone and call the customer care support for more assistance.

Keurig wont turn on

While this is the most basic function, customer care at Keurig seemed to be aware of customers struggling to turn their machine on. Fortunately, the problem with Keurig not turning on is usually down to user mistakes.

In addition to user mistakes, there can also be some confusion with different types of Keurig coffee machines. If you want to prevent contacting customer support, you can try these solutions first and foremost.

Solution: Fix Water Reservoir Problems

One of the issues that could prevent your Keurig coffee maker from turning on is a lack of water in the water reservoir. If the water reservoir is not filled or if the lid is left open, the machine will not power on as a safety measure.

Troubleshooting for Keurig on the manufacturer website also mentions that overfilling the water reservoir could prevent the Keurig coffee maker from turning on. If the water reservoir exceeds safe levels, make sure that you remove the required water in order for the machine to turn on.

How to turn on various Keurig models

Keurig is quite a popular brand, so it is not unusual that you can get more than the average Keurig coffee pot these days. In fact, the brand has numerous coffee maker variations, which each can vary in terms of operation.

Keurig K-Classic

To turn the device on, press the power button. A green light should appear when the machine turns on. This green light will turn red once the brewer is starting to heat the water. The red light usually stays on for about four minutes and then turns off. Only then is your Keurig K-Classic ready to start its brewing cycle.

Keurig customer service also mentions this device has an automatic shutdown feature. In other words, the K-Classic will turn itself off two hours after you last brewed a coffee. You can disable this feature, but that means your coffee maker will be in use for longer periods of time and then add to your overall utility bill.

Keurig K-Lite

For the K-Lite, you also press the power button to turn it on and it also comes with the usual green light. However, this time, the brewing cycle starts with the water heating and it will only take three minutes. There is also no red light compared to the K-Classic series. There is also a heating sound, which makes it easy to detect if the machine is on or not.


Once again, hit the power button and wait for the green light to come on. And again, the water will start heating up in the water reservoir. For this model, the heating the water in the water reservoir takes about four minutes. This model also comes with an automatic shut-off feature which kicks in after two hours.


For the K-select, you also press the power button and wait for the green light. The K-select only needs three minutes to heat up the water in the water reservoir.

Please note that turning the automatic shut-off feature on and off is a little more complicated with this model. If you want to enable this feature, turn the brewer on and hold the 10 oz. button in for approximately three seconds. If successful, the green light will turn on.

To disable automatic shutdown, press and hold the 10 oz button for three seconds with the brewer turned on. When the feature is disabled, the green light under auto-off will not longer light up green.


To work with the RIVO, you have to power the machine on as well as set your frothing system before operation. Firstly, clean the frothing pitcher and add water to minimum fill level.

Then place it into the system and secure the lid before pressing the latte button and running a froth. Once the cycle has ended, you will hear an audible beep. Next, remove the pitcher, lid and remove all the water. Finally, place your mug on the tray and hit the power button on the right side of the device.

Keurig 2.0 or K-Plus

One of the issues reported with these models is that consumers cannot seem to locate the power button easily. However, you can locate it simply by plugging in your machine, which will light up the icon on the lower right corner of your screen.

Keurig Duo troubleshooting(stuck on descale)

Most of the Keurig Duo’s issues can be solved with a simple reset. Press and hold the 8 and 10 buttons on the control panel. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds until the descale light goes away.

Super easy!

Keurig won’t brew full cup

If your Keurig won’t brew a full cup, there are a few things you can try to fix it. This works to fix all issues where Keurig is not brewing the expected amount: so if you’re getting half a cup, a quarter cup, or anything less than expected, follow on.

You’ll need a measuring cup to get this to work.

First, make sure the water reservoir is properly fitted into your brewer. If it isn’t, go ahead and adjust it first.

Brew a 6 ounce cup into a measuring cup. If you’re getting less than 6 ounces, move on to the next step.

If you’re using a water filter, chances are you’ll need to replace it. Try to brew another 6 ounce cup after removing. the filter. If you’re still getting less than 6 ounces, move on to the next step.

The last solution is to unplug the Keurig and clean the entry and exit needles, which we have described how to do above.

After cleaning the needles, try to brew another cup and see if you get the correct amount. If you’re still out of luck, you’ll have to get in touch with Keurig.

Keurig stuck on brewing

If your Keurig is stuck on brewing, you may need to do a hard reset. Unplug your Keurig and remove the water reservoir. Leave the water reservoir out and the Keurig unplugged for a couple of minutes. Replace the water reservoir and plug the Keurig back in. This should do the trick!


How to solve Keurig Prime error

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About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.