Prime Error Message

A common problem …

What is your Keurig trying to tell you when it comes up with the Prime error? Keurig developed this message to tell you there is a problem with the brewer accessing water from the reservoir. It uses this water draw to fill the boiler unit. In other words, it is trying to “prime” itself for boiling water to brew your coffee. This problem is different from the “Add Water” message. The “Add Water” message relates to the brewer thinking there is insufficient water in the reservoir. It measures this water level through magnetic sensors, one in the reservoir itself and the other inside the machine on the internal wall next to to the reservoir.

Instead, what we have with the Prime Message is the brewer thinking there is enough water in the reservoir but then not able to draw it out of the reservoir. We will work through some solutions below to find what is causing the error and how to fix it.

B60 Magnetic Water Sensor
Photo of a B60 Magnetic Sensor

Solution 1

The simplest solution that some people find work is unplugging the brewer, emptying the reservoir, refilling the reservoir, and then plugging the brewer back in after a few minutes. This approach seems to give a temporary fix as it more often than not comes back.

What this approach does is help break any air pockets formed between the water reservoir and the water pump intake. A pocket of air can prevent the brewer from drawing water and make it think there is a blockage.

Solution 2

The second solution is taking solution 1 but adding an extra step. Instead of just filling the reservoir with water again, place a small amount in the bottom of the reservoir and, while holding it over a sink or bowl, depress the check valve that sits underneath. This attempts to remove any air pockets that may have built up and prevent a drawdown of water. Then fill the reservoir to the desired level and place back the brewer.

With the brewer turned off and now back on, this should reset its processor along with the air pocket gone.

Solution 3 (UPDATE: October 7, 2015)

This third solution came from a viewer on our YouTube channel, Glen, who wrote to us with a solution he came up with to get a second-hand Keurig he purchased working again. We’ll let Glen tell his story.

“Hello. I just bought a Keurig B60 at a yard sale for $3. It would say NOT READY, and the pump would just run, and eventually, the PRIME message would come up. I took the bottom baseplate off and tried to blow air through the inlet, nothing. Then I took apart the water pump hose assembly, one side goes to the heating tank, and one side goes up toward the top of the machine and forms one of the two outlet tubes that feedback to the water reservoir.

Photo of a syringe used for cooking

I used a turkey injection syringe (pictured above) and tried to force water up the hose. I could not force water into the hose that went up toward the top, but I could move water in and out of the heating tank. After pumping a few syringes of water, I put the inlet back on, set it back upright, and it’s working perfectly! Thanks for your channel!”

We appreciated Glen writing to us and sharing his solution. We wrote back to Glen to thank him, and he kindly allowed us to share his solution.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Bobbie ,

    My unit gives me the prime message but when it dispenses water it empties the entire reservoir

    • Hi Bobbie. Is the brewer dispensing all of the water into the coffee cup? Is it pouring any back into the water reservoir? Thanks, Andrew

  • Cheryl Casey ,

    I have actually done all these
    things and it still keeps coming back L

    My solution has been to remove
    the reservoir and stick my finger in the hole the water goes into on the base
    of the brewer and put the water reservoir back in position. I usually get
    only one cup out of it, but on a good day I can brew 2 cups without having to
    lift the water holder out.

    I finally called Keurig and they
    sent me a 2.0 brewer. Problem with that brewer is you have to put some
    stupid maintenance cup in to clean the needle at least once a week. I
    called them and asked for an RMA # to return and they said it is a factory
    warranty replacement and to just keep it or throw it away. I thank god I
    didn’t send them the K-cup holder for the old one with the prime issue so I now
    just keep sticking my finger in the hole on the brewer while lifting the water
    thing up and told Keurig that I will never buy their brand again.

    At work we have a k-cup brewer called an I-Coffee It is awesome! It spins the water around in the K-cup and the coffee is much
    better tasting even when I make a 12 oz. cup! I have found that the Keurig just shoots the water straight through the cup and when I make a big cup the taste is not complete.
    Just my opinion and if it helps anyone out there with the Prime issue, it is a quick and simple solution.

  • snocat ,

    This problem drove me crazy for quite a while, I kicked myself mentally when I found the answer as I’m a millwright and worked at ski resorts pretty much all my life so am more than familiar with diagnosing pumps and such. When you remove the water reservoir use a paper towel to dry the intake. With a good light you’ll see that there is a very fine screen at the bottom. I used a pin 0.055″ inches in diameter (roughly the size of a very thin sewing pin) to carefully enlarge ten or so of the holes. This was done months ago and I’ve not seen the prime error since.

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