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Keurig coffee maker problems: common troubleshooting solutions

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 coffee maker troubleshooting and solving common problems

There are some common problems reported by customers who have a Keurig coffee machine. While you could contact customer service and wait for a considerable time to get the issue resolved, you can tackle the problems with your Keurig yourself by referring to this convenient troubleshooting guide.

So without further ado, here are the most common problems customers encounter with the Keurig and how you could solve them.

Keurig not turning on

Turning on a coffee maker can prove difficult

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.

Read the full guide here

Keurig not dispensing water

There can be four reasons why your Keurig is not dispensing water. So, we examine these causes and remedies next.

Solution: fix clogged lines and filter

Clogged water lines or a clogged filter can be a potential cause. In turn, hard water can be a reason why your lines and filter are clogged, so descaling your machine will be recommended in this case. We explain how to descale your machine in a bit more detail further in this article.

Solution: Remove air from pipes

In addition to the lines being clogged, there can be air in the lines as well. However, this is rarer compared to the clogged line and filter. To remedy this problem, move the water reservoir up and down rapidly until you see small air bubbles in the water. Keep repeating this problem until the water reservoir no longer shows these bubbles.

Solution: add water

The problem could be something as simple as a lack of water. In other words, you simply need to refill your water reservoir.

Solution: Fix the pump

If the pump of the Keurig device is damaged, it could also cause problems with water dispensing. Unfortunately, this is a problem that will require repair or a replacement part.

Keurig turns off and on by itself

This problem usually occurs due to the auto off feature. So, checking this particular feature first and foremost can be the easiest remedy.

If your Keurig is turning off unexpectedly during the brewing process, the nit could be caused by a dislodged magnet due to machine vibrations.

To remedy this problem, turn off your Keurig brewer, detach the reservoir, wait for ten seconds and then repeat the steps until you can press the menu button.

Keurig is leaking water

When water leaks out of the bottom of your keurig, it could be a leak in your water reservoir or the silicone receiver that lies adjacent of the water tank. While there are some DIY fixes, a new water tank or sending the Keurig to the manufacturer within its warranty period will provide the most durable fix.

Keurig is brewing weak coffee

If your cup of coffee is proving quite weak, there could be an issue with the upper needle above the cup. When water leaks from this particular needle, it will lead to weak coffee.

Since a blockage is the cause, it is best to clean the Keurig and descale it to remove the blockage. If the problem persists and you cannot get a strong cup of coffee, it is worth contacting the customer support team.

Keurig is producing coffee grounds in the cup

When you end up with coffee grounds in your cup of coffee, you may be dealing with a similar problem as we mentioned above. The exit needle of the Keurig device is blocked. Over time, the exit needle can gather coffee grounds if not maintained on a regular basis.

The Keurig customer can find detailed instructions on how to clean the exit needle in the manual of their machine. Of course, you can avoid this problem completely by cleaning the machine with its associated needles, water lines and water reservoir on a regular basis.

Keurig coffee tastes bad

This particular problem is usually caused by an oil buildup, which causes a bitter or a burnt taste in your coffee. To counter this particular problem, simply use some paper towel or a soft brush to remove any grime and coffee grounds buildup from around the filter holder.

Of course, if you have used a new selection of coffee, make sure that the problem does not lie with a new coffee flavor instead. Nevertheless, oil buildup is avoidable by maintaining your machine.

Keurig showing “Prime” error

The so-called prime error is caused by a reservoir that is not seated properly. Other potential causes include a dirty water reservoir and clogged needles.

Obviously, the easiest fix for the prime error is to clean the Keurig. If you are wondering how to clean the Keurig, cleaning the Keurig is easily done, as you can clean the reservoir with some soapy water and run a simple brewing cycle to remove any grime buildup.

Of course, you also need to descale your machine to avoid clogs and buildups further. If you are wondering how to descale, we will explain how to do this next.

In some rare cases, the prime error can be a mechanical fault. However, if it is a mechanical issue, it should only pop up when your Keurig is brand new.

So, when the prime error shows some months after your purchase of a Keurig coffee machine, then it is most likely a clogged needle or dirty water reservoir. Once again, you will not encounter this problem if you maintain your Keurig on a regular basis.

How to descale a Keurig

To descale the Keurig, the manufacturer recommends using some suitable descaling solution, a large ceramic mug, and some fresh water.

First, make sure the Keurig is turned off and that your reservoir has been emptied completely. Also, make sure you remove the water filter for this particular job.

Once the reservoir is empty, pour your descaling solution into the water tank. Then, fill an empty water bottle with some tap water and add it to the water tank with the special solution.

Next, turn the power on and add a mug to the plate. Then, execute the brew function with the 10 oz. brew button. Once the water has run through, remove the water by pouring it into the sink.

Repeat the process until the device shows you the “add water” light. Once the light comes on, leave the brewer with the power on for at least a half hour. Then, rinse out your reservoir and fill with fresh water. Continue to execute twelve cleansing brews.

Read the full guide here

How to ready a Keurig for storage

When you want to store your Keurig safely and prevent it from getting damaged while it is being stored, it is best to prepare your device for storage. To prepare your Keurig coffee machine for storage, you will need to drain the water inside it completely.

The first thing to do is to remove the water from the reservoir of your Keurig coffee machine. First, switch off the Keurig coffee machine and remove the plug from the outlet. Then, let the machine cool down for at least half an hour before continuing; this ensures any hot water remaining in the coffee machine will be sufficiently cooled down.

Next, lift the lid from the water tank and pull it in the direction of the brewer. Remove any water remaining in the water tank in the sink. Then, use a screwdriver to open up the small thumb screw, situated at the back of the machine. Remove the rear access panel and locate a tube with a plug. Then, remove it from its associated clip holder.

Once this is done, move the large pitcher to the back of the brewing machine. Then, move the end of the tube over the pitcher and remove the plug from the associated tube. Allow the water to empty itself in the pitcher. When the water stops, put the tube back into the position you found it. Then, reattach the access panel and ensure it remains secure by using the screwdriver on the associated screw knob.

Most Keurig machines include an internal brewing tank, which usually holds at least a cup of hot water. Naturally, this water must be removed before you store your Keurig machine, otherwise the water may damage the coffee machine.

To remove the water from the internal brewing reservoir, make sure the power is turned off and that you leave the machine to cool down for at least half an hour. then, grab the water tank and move it to the side along with the device’s back panel.

Remove the plastic tube from the right side of the panel on the back. Then, place it over a pitcher and let the water run out. Once this is done, you will need to reinstall the plug and check if the lid on the top of your coffee brewing machine is completely shut. To check if all the water is gone from the machine, simply press the brew button.

Read the full guide here


When looking at some of the common problems consumers have reported with the Keurig coffee machine, it is clear that the large majority of problems are completely preventable. After all, a lack of customer care and maintenance usually leads to line clogs and other avoidable issues.

While it is rare that mechanical issues are the cause of problems with your Keurig, you can take advantage of the warranty for your coffee machine. Most Keurig machines come with a mechanical warranty, which means you can return the coffee machine to the manufacturer for repair if this should be needed.

In conclusion, make sure you regularly maintain your Keurig to avoid issues that could cause more trouble than they are worth. And whenever you are in doubt regarding maintenance or cleaning, simply refer to the manual of your Keurig machine, as this will always contain the relevant information for your model.

Remember, Keurig can have different models and versions of their iconic coffee machines, so a cleaning method for the Classic Keurig will not be the same as that for the Keurig 2.0. So, keep your manual at hand and get the most from this exquisite piece of coffee technology.

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About Shabbir

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