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Keurig Keeps Shutting Off And Won’t Brew? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

It’s morning. Your tired. All you want is a hot cup of coffee from your Keurig machine to wake you up. You put in a pod, hit brew, and then… the brewer has shut off and stopped working. You probably try hitting the brew button a few more times but your Keurig keeps shutting off and won’t brew. Ugh! Fortunately, you are in the right place. I’ve outlined the most common reasons why Keurig coffee makers won’t brew and how you can fix them. Keep reading to learn how to try solving the problem.

Keurig Shuts Off Because The Exit Needle Is Clogged or Broken

In order for water to flow through a K-cup, there needs to be a hole in the top of the capsule and at the bottom. That’s why your machine has two needles – one below the pod holder and one under the part of the brew head that opens. Cleaning your Keurig regularly helps keep these needles clear of debris.

If old coffee grinds build up around either one of these needles, they may not be able to pierce the K-cup. If that happens, you’ll end up with a pod that has only one hole in it. Since the hot water would not be able to pass through the K-cup, your Keurig won’t brew and will automatically shut off. Think of this as a safety mechanism built into the unit. Without it, water would back up in the pod holder and really damage your brewer. If you have a Keurig 2.0, you’ll get a “water under pressure” error when this happens.

An easy check for this is to remove a K-cup the next time your Keurig keeps shutting off when you try to brew. If there is not a fully punctured hole in the bottom of the pod, the bottom needle of your brewer is the issue. Inspect it to see if it is clogged by coffee ground build up, bent or otherwise broken.

How To Clean Needles

If there is a coffee grinds clog, you just need to clean the needle with the tool that came with your machine or with the paper clip method. To use a paper clip, follow these steps:

  • Straighten one end of a paper clip.
  • Turn off the brewer and unplug it and remove the water reservoir.
  • Grab the sides of the K cup holder and remove it from the brewer by gently pulling away.
  • Press the button on both sides to separate the holder from the housing. Push the lever to show the exit needle, then hold it down while flipping the holder over.
  • Insert the straight end of the paperclip into the needle area and then move it around in a circle a few times. Rinse the pod holder with water and set it aside.
  • Open the handle and look under to see the top entrance and exit needles. Insert the paper clip in each and move it around to clean.

Broken or Bent Needle

If the needle is bent or broken, you can replace the needle gasket with the one that is compatible with your machine. These parts are easy to install. The needles are sharp so please use caution!

Keurig Won’t Brew Because The Water Magnet Alignment Is Off

If you look inside your water tank, you’ll see that there is a magnet. Your Keurig uses this to detect the level of water in the reservoir. Over time, this magnet can become misaligned and stuck due to vibrations from the coffee maker while brewing. When this happens, the your Keurig wont brew because it is unable to detect the water level. Instead, it will shut off.

To fix this gently tap the tank near the magnet housing. If this doesn’t move it try giving it a little shake. If it is still stuck after this, empty any water in the tank, clean it with a gentle soap and then fill the water reservoir again.

Your Keurig Isn’t Brewing Because It Needs Descaling

The minerals found in the water you use to brew cause limescale to build up in your machine over time. If left untreated, this can cause water blockages inside your brewer. If water can’t make it all the way through, it would cause the unit to shut off.

You should descale the Keurig every three months, or more often if you live in an area with hard water. See our detailed guide on how to descale your Keurig coffee maker. If your brewer is more than three months old and never descaled, you may need to repeat this 2-3 times.

In order to descale, you will need a commercial solution with cleansing ingredients that can remove the limescale. You have a few options to choose from.

Keurig Descaling Solutions

Keurig makes its own descaling solution that works with all models. However, there are other popular descaling solutions sold online that you can use instead. This safe formula has no odor and acts fast to remove mineral build up with gentle citric acid. Using this solution won’t cause any harm to your brewer. You can buy the solution alone or as part of a bundle with rinse pods and filters that will also help you keep your machine clean. If you have the K-Duo model, be sure to check out this K-Duo bundle.

keurig descaling solution
Keurig Descaling Solution

The Impresa descaler is a top selling descaler. It uses citric and sulfamic acids. Both are gentle on metal and aluminum. A pack has two bottles, each enough for two uses.

Impresa Descaler to use when Nespresso half red half green light comes on

Essential Values has a citric acid solution for your Keurig that is both odorless and powerful. Each bottle is good for two uses. A two pack will provide four doses. That’s a year supply if you descale your coffee maker every three months. 

Essential Values Descaler to descale breville coffee and espresso machine

K-Supreme Water Carafe Lid Issue & Solution

The water tank on the K-Supreme model has a tight lid. Sometimes when the brewer is water pumping, it can cause a vacuum to form. This will stop water from exiting the carafe during the next brew cycle, thereby stopping brewing and causing the machine to shut off. To fix this, try brewing without the lid on.

Additional Troubleshooting If Your Keurig Still Won’t Brew

If none of the above solutions fix your Keurig, you can try this trick that has worked for many people according to social media. Simply remove the water reservoir and unplug your machine. Let it sit overnight or for several hours. When the time has passed, put the water tank back in place, add water, turn the machine on and try to brew. You may even want to try using a different outlet just to remove any electrical issues as the cause.

If even unplugging the brewer doesn’t work, your best best is to contact Keurig customer service.


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