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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Coffee Maker Not Working

What to Do if your Coffee Maker is Not Working

There are some coffee maker problems you can fix yourself for only a few dollars and get your coffee maker back to normal quickly. If your coffee maker needs repair, you’ll need to decide whether to send it in for repair or replace it instead. Even simple repairs require replacement parts and expensive labor from a repair technician.
The first step is to check for human error:

Get your coffee maker working again!

White Mr. Coffee coffee maker
Coffee machine not working!

Is the coffee maker plugged in?
Perhaps your spouse or a co-worker unplugged it to move or clean the coffee maker.

Is there water in the reservoir?
If you haven't had your coffee yet, perhaps you simply forgot to fill the reservoir with water.

Are all of the doors on the coffee maker closed tightly?
Some coffee makers have sensors and will not operate if the doors and compartments are not tightly closed. Check all of them and try to make coffee again.

Coffee maker with lid open
Make sure lid and compartments are tightly closed- some coffee makers will not run if doors are open
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Coffee Maker Not Working due to Mineral Deposits or Obstructions

You may be able to easily get your coffee maker working again if it stopped working due to mineral deposits in the coffee maker. This problem is most likely to occur if you have hard water. The symptoms of a coffee maker with water blockage due to mineral deposits include:
  • Slow coffee brewing
  • No coffee brewing- steam comes out the top, but little or no coffee is brewed
These symptoms can occur for both auto drip coffee makers and single serve coffee makers like Keurig.
The solution to these symptoms is to clean your coffee maker with vinegar of coffee cleaning solution. It is surprising how much effect mineral deposits can have on the performance of a coffee maker. I once had a coffee maker completely stop working. The coffee maker produced steam, but no coffee. I was certain that there was an issue with the pump or water flow that would require expensive repair. I filled the reservoir with vinegar and let it run. It slowly began to flow faster and after about an hour, all of the vinegar was in the pot. I ran it again with vinegar, and after the 3rd run with vinegar it was back to normal!
How to clear mineral deposits from your coffee maker:
  1. Empty any water from your reservoir (tip the coffee maker into a sink to empty if it has water in the reservoir)
  2. Empty the coffee pot
  3. Fill the reservoir with vinegar. You can use a coffee maker solution instead of vinegar.
  4. Run the coffee maker until the vinegar or cleaning solution has run through the coffee maker and is in the coffee pot
  5. Empty the coffee pot and rinse
  6. Run two reservoir tanks full of clean water through the coffee maker to rinse away the vinegar or coffee cleaning solution
You should clean your coffee maker to keep it running at full flow- once per month may be required, depending on the mineral level in your water.
Another troubleshooting tip:
If you have an autodrip coffee maker, is the filter basket free of obstruction? Check to see if the filter basket is draining properly and is not caked up with dried coffee grounds. Remove your paper coffee filter and grounds (you can set it aside carefully so you can use it later). Hold the filter basket over a sink, fill it with water, and press in the spring-loaded mechanism on the bottom. Water should flow through the filter basket. If not, use bamboo skewer or other small tool to clear the filter basket to restore flow.

Coffee Maker Not Working- Does Not Power Up

Another type of issue you can resolve yourself is if the coffee maker does not power up. Symptoms include:
  • Display and lights are off
  • No coffee brewing
These symptoms can occur for both auto drip coffee makers and single serve coffee makers like Keurig.
Check the outlet where your coffee maker is plugged in. If it is a GFCI outlet, try resetting it. The GFCI outlet will have a test and reset button- press the reset button. Try your coffee maker again. If it still does not work, try plugging another powered item into the same outlet to see if the outlet is working. If you are not getting power at the outlet, check the circuit breaker in your circuit panel box. If the breaker is tripped to the off position, try switching it back to on and try your coffee maker again. Note: circuit breakers should rarely trip- if a breaker is tripping, have an electrician check it out to make sure there is not faulty wiring or a faulty electrical connection that could be dangerous.
If your power outlet is working, but your coffee maker is not powering up, try unplugging the coffee maker for a few hours. This will allow voltage in the control circuit to discharge, providing a full reset of the control logic. Plug it in and try it again after a few hours.

Coffee Maker Not Working- Water or Coffee is Leaking

One cause of leaking from coffee makers is that the parts are not firmly in place. Check the filter basket is firmly engaged, and the pot is firmly in place under the filter basket.
Check that the filter basket is not blocked by caked up coffee grounds or a folded over paper filter, causing it to overflow.
Check the coffeepot and reservoir for cracks. Try to identify the source of the leak.
You can get a replacement coffee pot for less than $10 if it is cracked.
If a plastic part of your coffee maker is cracked and leaking, you can seal it with epoxy to stop the leaking.

How much does it cost to repair a coffee maker?

The cost to repair a coffee maker includes shipping, labor, and parts if you send your unit to a service center for repair. If you can find a local repair shop, you can avoid shipping costs. A rough estimate to repair a coffee maker these days is at least $30 to $50 if your coffee maker is not under warranty. For this price, you can buy a brand new coffee maker. If you have eliminated the easy problems that you can fix yourself, your best option may be to buy a new coffee maker instead of repairing the broken coffee maker.

How to Get Coffee when your Coffee Maker is Broken

If your coffee maker is not working, you’ll need a plan for how to get coffee for a few days until you can repair or replace your coffee maker. Even if your coffee maker is under warranty, you will be without it for a few days at least while it is out for repair.
There are several ways to make coffee without a coffee maker that can get you by for a few days. You can also use your broken coffee maker by pouring hot water from a tea kettle through the filter basket.
Instant coffee might be the simplest way to make coffee without a coffee maker- just add hot water. You can also buy coffee at a coffee shop or convenience store, but this expense will add up quickly if you drink very much coffee.

Instant coffee- cheap source of coffee while you repair or replace your coffee maker
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Replacement Coffee Maker

If you are looking for a replacement coffee maker, the Melitta 10-cup Thermal is recommended- this is a simple coffee maker that makes great coffee and has a thermal carafe- available for about $50.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

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