Keurig K Express not pumping water [Repair guide]

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Usually, when your Keurig K Express is not pumping water, the first thing you should do is confirm that there is enough water in the reservoir.

But, what do you do when the reservoir has enough water yet your coffee maker still won’t pump water into the brewing chamber?

Well, that’s where this guide comes in. I will show you how you can easily fix your coffee maker and get it pumping again within minutes.

Keurig K Express not pumping water – what causes (plus how to fix) this problem

More often than not, this problem arises when there is mineral build-up within the machine or some coffee grounds are clogging the needles.

With that in mind, let us get into the specifics below:

The water reservoir might be misaligned

Normally, this is the case if your machine says ‘Add water’ even when the reservoir is full.

When this occurs, it means that the magnet that detects the water reservoir is not in the right position.

Fortunately, you can quickly fix this problem by lifting the reservoir and placing it back into place.

The needles might be clogged and require cleaning

When it comes to the needles, they can get clogged by coffee grounds.

If they are clogged, they will prevent water from flowing properly and this can cause your Keurig not to pump water or not to pump enough water.

The good news is that you do not need to replace the needles. Instead, all you need to do is to remove the stuck coffee grounds using a straightened paper clip.

With that in mind, let us see how to unclog each of these two needles…

How to unclog the Keurig coffee maker exit needle

Start by removing the pod holder assembly and detach the funnel.

Next, locate the exit needle – you can find it on the inside bottom of the K-Cup® pod holder:

Keurig machine not pumping water

Now insert the paper clip into the exit needle to loosen any coffee grounds that might be caught in there.

How to unclog the Keurig coffee maker entrance needle using a paper clip

For this, start by lifting your coffeemaker’s handle to locate the entrance needle on the lid’s underside:

Keurig not dispensing enough water

To clean this needle, hold the machine’s handle in the upward position.

Using your other hand, carefully insert the straightened paper clip into all the holes making sure to gently move the needle around to loosen any coffee grounds that might be in there.

Once done cleaning the needles, lower the handle and run two cleansing brews.

Quick tip: When running these cleaning brews, do not insert a pod into the K-Cup® holder.

These brew cycles will help flush the grounds and other residue out of the machine.

It might be time for descaling

This is perhaps the most common cause for your Keurig K-Express not to pump water out of the reservoir since the scale build-up might be clogging the water lines.

Descaling will remove mineral buildup that could be blocking the water flow.

That being so, let us have a look at how you should descale your Keurig K-Express coffee maker

Keurig K-Express coffee maker descale instructions

  1. With the coffee maker plugged into a working power outlet, power it off by pressing the Power
  2. Empty the water reservoir and place a 10 oz (or more) ceramic mug on the drip tray. Also, remove any beverage pod that might be in the K-Cup® pod holder.
  3. Pour an entire Keurig® Descaling Solution into the empty water reservoir.
  4. Fill the empty bottle with fresh water and pour it into the reservoir.
  5. To activate the descale mode, press and hold the 10 oz and 6 oz buttons together for 3 seconds.

When it starts flashing, press the 8 oz button to begin the descaling process.

  1. Once your coffee maker finishes brewing, empty the mug and press the 8 oz button to continue the descaling process until the ADD WATER light comes on.
  2. Next, empty the water reservoir and fill it with fresh water to the MAX
  3. Once flashing starts, press 8 oz to start the rinsing process.

When the brew completes, discard the collected liquid and continue brewing 8 oz till the DESCALE light turns off.

  1. Descale mode is now complete and you can now add fresh water to the reservoir and power on your Keurig to start making coffee.


Normally, we might expect the descale process to go through without any problems.

However, this is not always the case.

At times, your Keurig might stop pumping water from the reservoir after a descale and this can be quite a headache.

That being so, here’s what you can do to fix the problem…

Keurig K Express not pumping water after cleaning (Keurig K not pumping water after descaling)

As we have already mentioned, descaling dislodges mineral/calcium build-up in the coffee maker.

However, it’s not uncommon for some of these dislodged calcium deposits to get stuck somewhere within the water line.

And, this is what might be causing your Keurig not to work after descaling.

That said, you can fix this problem by following the steps in these next sections…

Try the ‘burp & slap’ (smack) method

Here, start by unplugging your coffee maker from the power outlet and removing the water reservoir.

Next, turn your Keurig upside down and ‘spank’ its bottom a couple of times.

This will loosen up any scales or air locks that might be blocking the water line.

However, when doing this, I must mention that you should be careful not to do it too hard.

This is because you can dislodge some parts or ruin your unit entirely.

Prime the water filter and the check valve

Other times, it could be that the scale residues have been trapped in the water filter.

Just to be clear, this is the black part that is at the bottom of the water reservoir.

And, this is preventing the check valve from opening and closing as it should.

Other than scale buildup, air bubbles might be caught in there and this can also prevent water from flowing through the filter.

Fortunately, you can quickly tell if this is the problem by gently depressing the check valve (underneath the reservoir) as here:

If cleaning the filter does not fix the problem, I recommend priming its holes using a turkey baster:

Keurig K-Express troubleshooting

This will dislodge any troublesome mineral buildups or air bubbles that might be blocking the water line.

Quick tip: You might need to prime the filter area a few times to fully remove the residues and air locks.

Keurig K Express not pumping water – parting words

Remember to descale your Keurig every 3 months to keep everything nice and clean and your coffee tasting great!

This will prevent mineral build-up that might result in the coffee maker not pumping water, again.


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