Keurig Not Dispensing Water! 8 DIY Fixes

Nobody likes gearing up to brew coffee only to realize that your Keurig is not dispensing water. It is even more disappointing when you prefer making your own cup of Joe as opposed to buying from a coffee shop.

Let’s discuss the potential reasons why your Keurig is not pumping water as well as other Keurig water flow problems and how to fix them.

Keurig Not Dispensing Water
It can be frustrating when your Keurig is not dispensing water

Reasons For Keurig Not Dispensing Water

There are seven potential reasons why your Keurig is not dispensing water:

  • the brewer won’t power on
  • a faulty or clogged mesh screen in the reservoir
  • air bubbles in the water channels
  • clogged water lines due to the build-up of debris and scales
  • clogged entry and exit needles
  • misaligned Keurig components
  • water in the tank is below the minimum fill level

Clogging in your Keurig can interfere with the brewer’s ability to heat up your water. We recommend different fixes for a Keurig that is not heating water such that it’s dispensing cold or not very hot water or coffee.

Clogging also increases the chances of molds growing in the Keurig. Here is a guide to removing and stopping molds from growing in Keurig coffee makers.

How Do You Detect that Your Keurig is not Pumping Water?

You are likely to encounter one or more of the following problems if your Keurig has water pumping issues:

  1. Keurig is not turning on, Keurig 2.0 screen is blank, or Keurig powers on and turns itself off
  2. “Add water” message on the brewer
  3. Keurig is not dispensing water at all and seems to be stuck on pre-heating
  4. Water or coffee slowly dribbles or drips out and takes a long time to fill your cup
  5. Keurig brews tiny amounts of coffee or half-full cups
  6. Your Keurig spits water back into the reservoir through the overflow pipe
  7. Off-tastes in your coffee or black specks in your brew

8 Fixes For a Keurig that is not Dispensing Water

In this section, we will discuss eight troubleshooting steps for a Keurig that is not dispensing water. We recommend that you run your coffee maker on a water-only brew cycle upon completion of every fix.

This way you are able to check whether you have fixed the problem. Proceed to the next step if your Keurig is still unable to pump water.

#1. How To Fix Keurig 2.0 Blank Screen

The Keurig 2.0 is notorious for display screen problems. Some Keurigs 2.0 continue brewing even when the screen is blank. To fix Keurig 2.0 blank screen:

  1. Check that Keurig 2.0 is plugged in and the power source is on and
    • Check if the power button displays on the bottom right of the screen
    • Press the menu button to see if the screen is working. If this does not work proceed to the next hack
  2. Use a glass cleaner such as Windex to clean a Keurig 2.0 screen that is blank. Windex on a Keurig 2.0 blank screen works like a charm. Spray some Windex or any glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe down the screen of your Keurig. Avoid spraying Windex directly to the screen.

Caution! Although lots of people have been successful at using Windex to troubleshoot Keurig 2.0 blank screen, overuse of Windex can cause damage to your Keurig’s screen. Mishandling Windex can cause skin and eye irritation as well as shortness of breath.

#2. Disable Keurig Auto-Off Feature

Some Keurig brewers have an auto-off function that switches the brewer off when it sits for a certain amount of time without brewing. Generally, Keurig coffee makers that don’t have a display screen but have an auto-off function also have an auto-off light that illuminates when the function is on and vice versa.

These Keurig brewers include the K-Select, K-Latte, and K-Cafe.

To turn off the auto-off function on a Keurig that doesn’t have a display screen, switch off the brewer and keep it plugged in. Press the “Strong” and the “10 ounces” buttons simultaneously for 3-5 seconds and then turn the brewer on. You will notice that the “Auto-off” light is off.

For Keurigs with a display screen such as the K-Elite, scroll through the menu items to find the auto-off setting and disable it.

See our review of the K-Elite and other best Keurig brewers for Iced coffee.

The Keurig Mini is preset to shut down on its own if it’s inactive for 90 minutes. Simply press the power button to use a Keurig Mini that has turned off on its own.

Disabling auto-off in Keurig

#3. Ensure There is Enough Water in the Reservoir

The water tank has markings for the maximum level of fill. Ensure that the water is well above the halfway line but below the max level to remove the “Add water” alert.

For the smallest Keurig coffee makers that completely empty the water tank every time you brew, refill every time you want to brew a fresh cup.

#4. Clean the Mesh Screen in the Reservoir to Remove Gunk

Your Keurig has a tiny mesh filter that filters water as it exits the water tank into the inner water lines.

The location of the mesh screen will vary depending on the model of your Keurig. In some Keurigs, the mesh screen is mounted inside the water reservoir whereas in some other models it is on the base of the stand on which the tank sits.

The mesh screen is often overlooked when cleaning Keurig coffee makers and although it is not necessary to unmount and clean it frequently, you are better off doing it from time to time.

To clean the mesh screen that is inside the water tank:

  1. Unplug the brewer, empty the water tank, and pop the filter holder out of the tank.
  2. Use a long magnetic screwdriver to open the 3 screws that hold the lower filter into position on the tank
  3. Clean the screen in warm soapy water or soak the lower filter holder in vinegar for about 45 minutes for the guck to disappear. You can also clean the mesh filter using a toothbrush under running water or use a Waterpik flosser to blast water through the mesh and open the pores.
  4. After cleaning, run water through the mesh to ensure that it is unclogged
  5. Reinsert the filter holder back into the reservoir and screw it into place. Pop the upper filter holder back into position.

To clean a filter screen that is mounted on the stand where the tank sits, use a lint-free towel to wipe the screen. Hold the water tank upside down and clean and rinse the part of the tank that sits on the mesh filter.

Alternatively, add water to a food injector without the needle and shoot the water through the water outlet in the reservoir to remove slime. Ensure the water tank is empty before flushing with the injector.

#5. Clear Air Bubbles in the Water Channels Inside the Keurig

Air bubbles may escape inside the pipes that draw water from the water tank and obstruct the normal flow of water. Air bubbles can also cause the brewer to spit the water back into the reservoir.

Hare 3 hacks to remove bubbles from a Keurig that is not dispensing water:

  • Unplug your Keurig and detach the water tank and the drip tray before rocking and burping the coffee maker to release any trapped air.
  • Alternatively, turn the brewer upside down over a sink and shake or spank it to clear air bubbles and debris. Take caution in the case of hot water dripping from the brewer. We recommend unplugging your brewer for at least an hour before turning it upside down to ensure that the water in the heating tank has cooled down
  • Another hack to remove air bubbles involves:
    1. Opening the lid of the water tank and using your finger to close the overflow outlet of the coffee maker
    2. Lift the handle of the coffee maker and ensure there is no coffee pod inside.
    3. Lower the handle and brew a water-only cycle while covering the overflow pipe. This will force the brewer to pump water through the water lines and force out any air bubbles and loose debris that is causing the obstruction.
How to remove Keurig air bubbles by blocking the overflow pipe

#6. Clean the Needles to Unclog a Keurig that is not Dispensing Water

A Keurig has two needles – top and bottom – that puncture your K cup when making coffee. Clogging in the needles interferes with the flow of water into your cup.

To clean the upper needle that is located inside the Keurig’s head

  1. Switch off and unplug the machine,
  2. Lift the handle and remove the pod and the pod holder to protect your pod from damage.
  3. Carefully locate the inlet needle. The upper needle is tapered and has 3 holes.
  4. Straighten a paper clip and insert it into each hole to a depth of about one inch. Wiggle the clip to loosen and remove any debris.

Caution! The machine might eject hot water after unblocking the upper needle. You are better off waiting for the machine to cool down before unblocking the entrance needle. Also, take care not to injure yourself when handling sharp needles.

To clean the exit needle that is located at the base of your pod holder

  1. Remove the pod holder from the brewer by lifting the brewer’s handle. Locate the pod holder and use one hand to hold its top while pushing the holder from below using your other hand.
  2. After removing the pod holder, pull from both of its ends to detach the funnel and expose the narrow tube that is located at the bottom of the pod holder.
  3. Insert a paper clip into the tube and wiggle to remove debris.
  4. Rinse the pod holder and funnel in running water to clean the debris.
  5. Pop the funnel back and insert the holder back into the brewer.

If your Keurig is still not dispensing water or is spitting water back into the reservoir, proceed to step five

#7. Stop Keurig From Spitting Water Back into the Reservoir

A Keurig brewer has a water inlet channel that draws water from the tank to the entrance needle. If this channel is blocked, water flows back into the tank through the overflow pipe.

Detach the water container and unplug the machine before commencing this unblocking process.

  • Use a compressed air-can to unclog your Keurig. Here are the steps to follow
    1. Place a cup under the brewer as you would do when brewing coffee
    2. Use a towel to seal the inlet channel and firmly press against the towel with your fingers
    3. Blow compressed air from the air can into the overflow tube to clear debris. There will be debris and water flowing into your cup
    4. Reattach the tank and plug the machine to run a brew cycle without a pod to check if the Keurig is dispensing water and has no backflow issues.
  • Use a straw to unblock your Keurig,
    1. Ensure adequate time so that water inside the water lines is cool enough for your safety
    2. Lift the brewer’s handle and remove the pod
    3. Locate the overhead needle and insert the needle into one end of the straw
    4. Draw air from the other end of the straw as if you are having a drink
    5. Water and debris will flow into your mouth
    6. Reattach the tank and plug the machine to run a brew cycle without a pod to check if the Keurig is pumping out water and has no backflow issues.
    7. If the problem is resolved, run a vinegar flush to clean your machine before brewing your favorite cup of coffee

#8. Descale a Keurig that is not Dispensing Water

Follow the steps below to descale a Keurig that is not dispensing water

  1. Fill the tank with white vinegar and water at a ratio of 1:1
  2. Ensure that there is no K cup in the machine
  3. Place an empty cup under the brewer
  4. Run a brew cycle to flush vinegar through the brewer
  5. Empty the cup when full and place it into position under the brewer and repeat the brew cycle until the vinegar level in the tank is below the minimum level
  6. Off the Auto Shut Down setting and leave the machine to sit for about 45 to 60 minutes to soak in the vinegar
  7. After 45-60 minutes, empty vinegar from the water tank and rinse the reservoir under running water.
  8. Fill the reservoir with fresh water, reattach it to the brewer, and brew without a K cup to rinse the coffee maker.
  9. Refill the tank and repeat freshwater brew cycles to rid the machine of all the vinegar.

After successfully completing one or more of our recommended steps to troubleshoot a Keurig that is not dispensing water, your brewer should be ready to brew your favorite cup of coffee.

Important Tip

If you have an adequate filter for the water system in your home or premises, or you are using bottled water to make your coffee, you can do away with the Keurig water filter altogether.

Now that you have treated the water problems in your Keurig, it’s time to make your favorite coffee. See our best choice of K-Cups for iced coffee.

Recap for Keurig Not Dispensing Water

Although Keurig brewers are very convenient, a Keurig that is not pumping water is essentially adding no value to your home. However, this does not mean that you get rid of your Keurig.

The methods that we have recommended in this article are tried and tested – some unorthodox – ways to unblock your brewer.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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