A coffee maker can be one of the most convenient devices to have in your kitchen. After all, where else are you going to easily be able to get your morning buzz any time of the day? This is why it can be particularly frustrating when your coffee maker malfunctions.
There are many problems that can affect the operation of a coffee maker. Most of the time, these have to do with obstructions in the tubing, problems with the heating element, or another component that needs repair or replacement. In order to know what to do, you must first diagnose the problem.
If you are having problems with your coffee maker, it helps to know more about the anatomy of a coffee maker and how all the parts work together. Read on to learn more about coffee makers and how to fix them when they aren’t working.
Coffee Maker Won’t Turn On
There are a few different parts of your coffee maker that could be responsible for its inability to turn on.
It’s possible that your coffee maker’s power cord has been damaged or cut, making it so that the wires have poor contact.
You can remedy this issue by replacing the power cord. All you need to do is flip the unit over and take out the screws that hold the bottom cover in place. You will need to remove the screws holding the circuit board in place oh, and pull the cord out. You can cut the wire, strip it, and then twist it onto the replacement power cord.
If a problem lies with one of the exterior knobs, it means that there is likely an issue on the interior that is related to the knob or switch. In order to check this, just disconnect the unit and take off the front cover. The knob could be misaligned, in which case you would just need to put it back into its rightful place. If it’s damaged, you can remove and replace it.
It’s possible that the reason your coffee maker isn’t turning on is because the buttons on the outside are not engaging the switches properly.
In order to address this issue, disconnect the unit, take the carafe out, and turn it upside down. Take out the screws at the bottom that hold the plastic cover in place. Slide the connections to the power switch back and squeeze it in order to move it out of place. Attach the connections to the replacement switch, and put that in place.
Thermal fuses are there to halt the power flow when the machine gets too hot. Once they are done burning out, you need to replace them. They need to be replaced when they no longer have continuity as measured by a multimeter.
Sometimes, your coffee maker won’t turn on because of a faulty thermostat. You will need to use a multimeter to check the terminals of the thermostat for continuity. If you see that there is no continuity, you will need to remove the thermostat and replace it.
In some cases, when a coffee maker won’t turn on, there is a problem with the control board. There are multiple components on these boards that can fail and you prevent the coffee maker from being able to turn on. If this is the case, you can detach the wire connection assembly to the faulty control board and attach it to a new control board.
Coffee Maker Keeps Beeping
A beeping coffee maker can mean a few different things. Of course, it also depends on the make and model of your coffee maker.
Sometimes, when a coffee maker is beeping, all this means is that you need to check that all of the parts are correctly in place. For example, some coffee makers will beep when you don’t close the door on the top, or don’t close it properly. This is just a safety function, to make sure that everything is in place before operation commences.
However, sometimes the problem can be more serious. In some cases, beeping means that there is something wrong with the thermal fuse. The thermal fuse is located near the heating element. The fuse is part of the series circuit with the heating element. It is shaped like a bullet and has one lead that is connected to the case and one that is insulated from it.
This fuse is there for safety purposes since it allows the heating element to turn off when it reaches its upper temperature limit. If it were not allowed to turn off, it could be a real safety hazard and start a fire in your home.
Unfortunately, the fuse is not easy to replace at all. Most of the time, when it fails, you will have to replace the machine.
It is also possible for the beeping to start when the bi-metal switch fails over time. Another indicator of the switch failing will be longer and longer brewing times.
Coffee Maker Is Shutting Off
If a coffee maker keeps shutting off, this can mean that the sensor that controls it is getting overheated by the heating element of the machine. In some cases, it could be that the capacitor within the circuit can no longer take the amount of heat that is coming from the coffee.
Most of the time, you can fix this by unplugging the coffee maker and leaving it out for at least an hour. This will allow the coffee maker to cool down, restore the microcontroller to normal, and stop it from incessantly shutting down. It might also help to reset the timer on the coffee maker, turn the dial to “Auto Off” and set the shut time to two, three, or four hours.
It is also possible that the coffee maker is incessantly shutting down because the tubing has obstructions. If this is the case, you will need to properly clean your coffee machine in order to remove these blockages.
One effective way to do this is to run vinegar through the machine once, and then run water through the machine twice in order to clean out the vinegar. It’s also a good idea to use bottled drinking water in your coffee maker, in order to prevent the residue in the first place.
Coffee Maker Keeps Overflowing
There are a few different circumstances that can cause the overflowing of a coffee machine. There are also a few different kinds of overflow.
Sometimes it can just mean that hot coffee is spilled on the counter, whereas in other cases, it can mean that coffee and grounds are spilled all over the place, or grounds end up in the coffee. This overflow can happen at any point during the brewing cycle, not just at the end.
For some people, it will simply be that the coffee maker needs cleaning. If this is the case, you can simply employ the vinegar and water method described above.
In other cases, the problem could actually not even have anything to do with the coffee maker at all. It could be that you are putting in too much coffee or too much water.
In some cases, it could be that you are using too fine of a grind. In this case, you should use a slightly smaller amount of grounds. This is also true if you are trying to make decaffeinated or flavored coffee. It is also an option to use medium-ground coffee.
Sometimes, the problem could be in the filter. Make sure that the filter basket is clean before you put in the paper filter, and make sure that you are only using one filter. Make sure that it is open and in the correct position before you start the brewing process.
If all else has failed, you might have to get used to brewing smaller batches of coffee in order to avoid the problem of overflow.
Coffee Maker Is Tripping GFCI
Another problem that can arise is that your coffee maker can trip the GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter. This is an electrical device that protects against severe electric shocks, typically used when electrical equipment is going to be exposed to water. It measures the amount of current that flows, creating an opportunity for the circuit to trip and then shut off.
In some cases, this can happen because of a crack or other problem at the heating element that can lead to steam that creates a short circuit. The short circuit could also be caused by water leaks due to bad seals. It’s very common for something like this to happen to a coffee machine, because of the water that must be used in its operation.
Coffee Maker Not Pumping Water
Issues with water pumping are actually very common for people who have electric coffee makers. Fortunately, it is a problem that typically comes with an easy fix.
Most of the time, when you have issues with water flow in a coffee maker, the reason is some type of blockage. The first thing you should do is check the tube that is located within the coffee pot. If you see some sort of obstruction or clog, this is likely why water is not able to pass through easily.
In some cases, you will also have to check to make sure that the timer and machine thermostat are working properly. If these are working fine, the problem might have to do with the pump valve. If your pump valve is either broken or stuck, this could block the flow of water within the system.
In the worst of cases, you will have to replace your coffee maker. However, most of the time, all you need to do is remove the clog, and you’ll be fine.
Coffee Maker Not Hot Enough
It is also common for coffee makers to fail to keep the coffee warm. Typically, when this happens, it means there is a problem with the heating element. You can use an electrical tester to check that it is functioning properly. You can also check the continuity of the “Keep Warm” switch.
Additionally, while the coffee is brewing, you will want to look at the “Auto Shut Off” switch to make sure that it’s in the right position.
Coffee Maker Won’t Heat
If your coffee maker won’t heat up at all, you will end up with cold coffee. Either the thermoblock or the resistance could be failing, although it is most likely a thermal fuse. It’s also possible that you need to replace the thermostat, which controls the temperature; an improperly functioning thermostat can damage the fuses even after you replace them.
Coffee Maker Is Leaking Water
It’s also common for coffee makers to leak warm water. Sometimes, this is hot water that is leaking out of the machine. However, in other situations, this is actually the result of an excess of steam that has built up within the machine; it then gets released and creates moisture outside of the machine.
When this happens, it is typically due to a problem with the tubing within the machine. What you need to do in this situation is to check the tubing to make sure that none of the tubes are loose and that they are all connected properly.
Brew Is Getting Weaker
It is fairly common for the brew that the coffee machine produces to get weaker with time. Most of the time, this is because of the plate that spreads the water over the coffee basket. If it is broken or cracked in any way, this is probably what’s causing the problem. However, there is an easy solution, as you can simply replace the plate.
Coffee Maker Is Clicking/Taking a Long Time to Brew/Won’t Brew/Won’t Drip
Sometimes, people will experience that their coffee makers have started to click while they are brewing coffee. The noise itself might not be that bothersome, but in many cases, it will actually slow down the entire coffee brewing process.
Many people will observe that along with the clicking comes an extremely slow drip rate when they are brewing coffee. When this happens, it could indicate that there are one or more blockages within the machine. A lot of the time, these can be dirt or mineral deposits that are blocking the tubes in the coffee maker.
Often, the direct source of this clicking noise will be disruptions within the tubing in an air pressurized coffee maker. These will disrupt the brewing process and make noises.
In some cases, coffee machines with aluminum tubing will be particularly prone to scaling if you are using hard water. Eventually, the tubes will be filled with solid calcium carbonate deposits, which will cause the clicking sound to get louder and louder.
If you don’t take care of it, it will lead to even more serious problems. If there are deposits, you can clean your coffee machine by using vinegar and water as detailed above for the situation where your coffee machine keeps shutting down.
In some cases, the one-way valve that is responsible for pulling in water through the aluminum tube we’ll have some sort of residue or build up that can cause a clicking sound. If this is the case, you can clean this valve with a toothpick or other thin instrument.
It is also possible to hear clicking from your coffee machine when it won’t brew if there are loose components. Sometimes, parts will come loose, particularly if you handle the machine roughly on a regular basis. If this is the case, you just need to check the parts of the machine, such as the lid, to make sure they are all tightly connected and in place.
If your coffee machine won’t brew, it could also be because the water reservoir is empty, in which case you would need to fill it.
Cord, Heating Element or Switch Has Gone Bad
In some cases, your coffee maker will stop working because one of the key components has gone bad. These problems typically tend to be the most serious.
If your power cord or on/off switch has gone bad, in many cases, it will be most economical to buy a new coffee maker. In any case, you should not try to fix it on your own. If you want to attempt to fix it, you should hire a professional. Replacing these components improperly can actually be dangerous and start a fire.
If one of the heat-sensitive switches or the heating element fails, you’ll usually be out of luck. It can be very difficult to get replacement parts, so you will likely just have to buy a new coffee maker if you have one of these problems.
How Often Should You Replace Your Coffee Maker?
How often you should replace your coffee maker depends on the specific model.
Ironically, the simpler and less expensive a unit is, the longer it will probably last. This is because they have fewer parts and function based on the principles of physics without too many complications. It’s actually the bells and whistles on the more complex models that can malfunction and render the coffee maker unusable.
Typically, a simple coffee maker will last for about a decade or even longer. A more complex and fancy coffee maker might last for less time, possibly just a few years. However, proper maintenance will extend the life of your coffee maker to its maximum.
There are many different problems that can occur with a coffee maker. It really does help if you know how your machine works and the function of each of the individual parts. This way, when something happens that disrupts your coffee machine’s functioning, you will be able to troubleshoot more quickly and effectively.
Whether your coffee maker is making strange sounds or exhibiting some sort of mechanical problem, the good news is that there is usually an effective solution that involves a simple diagnosis and repair. In some cases, unfortunately, the most practical option will be to replace the coffee machine.