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How To Fix Nespresso Machines Not Working Properly

Waking up to a broken Nespresso machine is definitely a terrible way to start the day. If your Nespresso machine is not working, don’t lose hope. There are a few things you can try to fix it so you can get your morning cup of coffee ASAP.

Signs That A Nespresso Machine Is Not Working Properly

These are five of the most common issues you may encounter with your Nespresso machine. Keep reading to see potential ways to fix each one.

SYMPTOMSOLUTION
Flashing LightsVarious (see details below)
Air bubbles in coffee cup / loud machine noisesClear an air lock
Machine not making a full cupReset machine or descale
Coffee brewing slowlyDescale
Machine not pumping waterDescale
Coffee temperature not hotDescale

Nespresso Vertuo & Original Light Alerts

If you have a Nespresso Vertuo machine and are seeing a flashing light alert that is preventing you from using your machine, you should read our guide to Nespresso blinking orange and red lights instead. If you have a Vertuo Next, you may also have a blue or purple light error or a white light error.

If you are seeing a red or blinking light on your Original machine (Essenza, Pixie, CitiZ or Inissia), see my related post on what that alert means and how to fix it.

Clear Nespresso Air Lock

If you haven’t used your Nespresso machine in a long time or if you accidentally ran it without water in the tank, there could be air bubbles interfering with the water flow. Your machine pump will make an unusually loud noise as the water tries to get past the air bubbles. If any water does start coming out, you may notice many air bubbles in it.

For an Original Nespresso machine, you will want to try running water through the machine. Follow these steps:

  • Fill the water tank to the MAX line.
  • Turn the machine on and open the lever to eject any capsule.
  • When the machine has warmed up, press the button to make an espresso or lungo. The pump will begin making noise.
  • Inspect the area where you would normally place a pod. If you see steam or water, you’ve solved the problem. If not, you’ll need to repeat this process. It could take anywhere from 5 to 10 tries or more.
  • Once you see steam or water, close the lever and run another 5 espressos or lungos with no pod in the unit.

Unfortunately, you can’t run a water only cycle with Vertuo machines because they require a pod with a barcode to be inserted in order to brew. You could try to take a pod, cut the foil off, discard the coffee grounds, rinse it out and then place it in the machine. Fill the water tank to the MAX line and press the button to start brewing. As noted above you may have to do this 5, 10 or more times until water starts to come out.

There are a few other methods you can try if your Nespresso machine is not working because of an air lock issue:

Method 1 – Baster

  • Remove the water reservoir. Inspect the base where you place the tank to make sure there isn’t any debris that is interfering with the tank attaching securely to the machine. If there is, clean it and try again.
  • Fill the water tank. Hold it over a sink and press the valve button at the bottom. If water releases, you can be sure there is no issue with your tank. If not, try clearing anything that may be blocking the valve.
  • Use a baster, eye dropper or teaspoon to add a small amount of water to the indent in the base where the water tank valve would usually connect.
  • Leave the tank off of the machine. Start the pump and then stop it right away. See if the machine sucked in those few drops of water.
  • If it did, reattach the tank to the machine and start the pump. Press the button to start brewing. Hopefully you see water flowing through the machine now.

Method 2 – Persistence

  • Fill the water reservoir to the MAX line. Place it on and off the base three to five times, being sure that it clicks securely into place each time. Press the button to attempt to start brewing. You may need to continue to press the button for as long as 10 to 15 minutes until the water starts to flow.

Method 3 – Patience

  • Fill the tank to the MAX line and reattach it to the machine, making sure it clicks. Let the machine sit for one to two hours. Turn the machine on and see if you can get water to flow through now.

Perform a Factory Reset

Some Nespresso machines allow you to change the default pour settings that impact how much coffee ends up in your cup. It is possible that you may have changed these settings by accident. Depending on the model you have, the standard sizes are:

  • Ristretto 0.85 oz
  • Espresso 1.35 oz
  • Double Espresso 2.7 oz
  • Coffee 8 oz
  • Lungo 3.7 oz
  • Gran Lungo 5 oz
  • Alto 14 oz
  • Pour over 18 oz

If your coffee maker is not making a full cup, it is possible you may need to run a deep cleaning cycle (described below). But before you do that, you may prefer to reset your machine first as it could be a relatively quick solution. However, be aware that if you did make any changes to any coffee or milk settings you will lose them. To figure out how to bring your Nespresso machine back to factory settings, see our guide on how to reset every Nespresso model.

Descale Your Machine

The tap, filtered or bottled water used to brew your coffee pods contains minerals that cause limescale to build up inside your Nespresso. If left untreated, this can begin to block the water flow inside your machine. At first you may notice your Nespresso starting to brew more slowly. Espresso pods should brew for 20-33 seconds and coffee pods for 68 to 85 seconds. Your coffee may also not be as hot as it used to be. Eventually, the machine may start making less than a full cup or not pump water all together.

The deep cleaning process used to remove this limescale buildup is called descaling. You should do it at least every 3 months, or even more often if you have hard tap water that you use in your machine.

Supplies Needed

Never use vinegar to descale your machine as it can damage the internal metal components. Instead, you should use a special solution kit that contains safer and effective types of cleansing acids.

Nespresso Descaling Solution

Nespresso descaling solution to use when nespresso not working or pumping water

This is the official descaling solution kit made by Nespresso. It is compatible with all Original models. This descaling solution will gently eliminate the lime scale that has built up in your machine. Each pack contains 2 kits, so you’ll get two total uses out of it.

General Descaling Instructions

Once you have your descaling solution, you can follow these general steps to descale your coffee machine:

  1. Remove the water tank and drip tray from the machine and empty them. Remove the water filter from the tank.
  2. Add a descaling solution and clean water to the water tank following the instructions on the descaler packaging)
  3. Place an empty 1L container under the coffee outlet.
  4. Turn the machine on. Follow the instructions specific to your model to enter descaling mode. Let the descaling cycle begin. The water-solution mix will begin to drip into the 1L container.
  5. When the cycle is done, empty the 1L container and return it back to its place under the outlet.
  6. Thoroughly rinse the water tank and fill with fresh drinking water only to the MAX line.
  7. You’ll want to run one or two rinse cycles using this fresh water to remove any solution residue left inside your machine. Refill the water tank and empty the 1L container in between each rinse cycle.
  8. When done, exit descale mode. Some models will do this automatically by powering off, others will require you to press a certain button.
  9. Rinse the drip tray and any other parts that may have come in contact with the solution. Fill the water tank with clean water. Your machine is ready to be used!

Note that if you have never run a descale cycle before or if you have really hard water, you may have to run this cycle twice if your Nespresso machine is not working after the first attempt.

If you looking for instructions specific to your Nespresso machine, see our guide to descaling Vertuo machines or our guide to descaling Original machines.

Nespresso Machine Still Not Working? Contact Support

If your Nespresso machine is still not working after you’ve tried the fixes described above, then you should call support. The toll free number is 1-800-562-1465.

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