Keurig Keeps Pumping Water – Explanation & Solutions

A common frustration from when your Keurig keeps pumping water probably stems from an air pump fault. You switch the machine on, and not long after, water starts to pour out of the K-Cup portion pack holder and straight into the drip tray (or your unsuspecting coffee cup).

We had an email from a reader with this exact issue. So we decided that we needed to put some material together as this seems to be quite a common problem from our review of Google results and YouTube videos.

The best way to understand this problem is to step through what the brewer is up to at each step, and then let’s see if we can isolate what might be causing the issue.

Explanation and Analysis

When the brewer is plugged into the wall, and before you switch it on, the solenoid check valves, and on most Keurig’s, there are two open. The purpose of these valves is to assist in the regulation of water flow and pressure in the machine. You can hear the opening valves through a clicking noise that they make.

Air Pumps

When you press the button, the normal display on the LCD is NOT READY, which is quite normal. During this start-up, the forward of the two solenoids are closed through power being removed from the valve. The water pump comes into action now with power being applied to it, causing a pressure change inside. This causes a stop valve to the water heater unit to open and allow water to enter the bottom of the heating unit. Of course, with the heater unit, this is the internal boiler unit; being a sealed unit, the entry of a water flow will displace air, and this is discharged into the water reservoir. This air then helps to apply a pressure change to water inside the water reservoir and dissipates into the atmosphere.

Water Pumps

The water pump will continue to operate until the water heater’s water rises and reaches the lowest cup setting probe. Each cup set has a probe inside the boiler unit set to detect the water level at predetermined levels. We had a question from a reader the other day asking about changing these set limits. He found on his Keurig the settings either gave him not enough or too much liquid based on the size of the coffee cup he liked to use. But as far as we know, these levels are preset and cannot be changed.

And this is where we come up against the problem we are experiencing with the Keurig pumping water. In these cases, a signal is not reaching the water pump to shut off and so stop the flow of water up past the lowest cup-size setting probe. The pump keeps going. So there is a breakdown somewhere along the line. This breakdown could be with the lowest probe and signal not being sent when water detection is sensed. Or this signal is being sent, and then the subsequent signal is not being sent to the water pump to switch off.

So as you can see this is quite a tricky problem and one not easily diagnosed. What you are interested in, what are some possible solutions; so we will go through these now.


Solution One – The “Keurig Burp”

This isn’t a very scientific approach, but it might just shack into place what we are after. We assume that a connection is not making the correct contact, which might get back in place. From our review of online comments and feedback, this works sometimes, while other times it doesn’t. The solution 1 instructions under the Not Ready Message section set out something that others have found works. This rather approach jolts the brewer and hopefully reconnect the connection that isn’t making the contact that it should be.

Alternatively, we now have a separate page that sets out how to “burp” a brewer and hopefully get it back into action.

Solution Two – Solenoid and Air Pump

This is somewhat more involved and will require taking the brewer apart. This may not actually involve any replacements as it might be just a connection that has become loose and so needs a small re-solder and you are back in action. If you would like some guidance in getting the casing off and knowing what parts to look for, then click over to our repair guides series to provide you with some guidance.

The most likely cause will be a problem with either the solenoid unit or the air pump. The Keurig solenoid unit helps in the regulation and pumping of air and water pressure. While the air pump manages the air pressure in the boiler unit. For a solenoid replacement, we have a repair guide that will step you through that replacement. And the same for the air pump, with easy to follow instructions with plenty of photos to help.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Rod Madden September 17, 2020, 03:42

    Hey! The “burp” procedure worked. My “burp” included violent shaking of the inverted Kuerig. The machine will never know how close it came to being in a garbage can! Is Kuerig abuse a crime?

    • Andrew Shephard November 4, 2020, 14:39

      Hey Rod … that brewer won’t dare to stop working again! At the moment I think you should be in the clear. Always pleased to read another Keurig has avoided the trash. Kind regards, Andrew

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