Coffee Makers, Troubleshooting Coffee Makers

Wonder Why Your Keurig Won’t Work Even When the Lights Are on? Here’s Why!

Written by

Erica Cervenkova

Coffee Holli Top Pick

It’s easy to mistake a working Keurig for one with the lights on.


The lights are there to let us know when the machine is powered on.


You could think your machine is on when it isn’t working. This could be especially frustrating when trying to brew a cup of coffee.


Whether your Keurig’s lights are constantly on or a select few are flashing, here are some possible solutions and fixes.

Keurig Not Working All Lights On

Having your Keurig lights flash suddenly or stay on can be concerning. However, remember to remain calm. The problem could be one of the following. A missing water filter, a sudden power surge, a clogged entrance needle, or a badly seated reservoir.

1. Askew Water Filter

Charcoal Filter

The brewing process works best with soft water.


Not everyone can easily filter their water before brewing.


Some models of Keurig coffee makers come with a charcoal filter in the cold water reservoir. This separates impurities from hard water, allowing only filtered water into your coffee maker.


This ends up creating a powerful suction whenever your coffee maker siphons in water from the reservoir.


This flow or suction could shift your charcoal filter enough to trigger an alarm in your coffee maker.


Your coffee maker alerts you of this problem when the lights are flashing.


This could restrict the flow of water into your coffee maker and cause problems with the brewing cycle.


Try shifting the filter back into place before trying to brew. This should allow water to flow freely into your machine and stop the flashing lights.

2. Power Surge

Power Surges are rare but happen. They could occur more frequently depending on the power situation on your side of the world.


It’s good practice to prepare for a power surge by connecting your Keurig to a surge protector.


If your machine has already experienced a power surge, it may cause the lights to flash when you try to put it on.


You can fix this by resetting your coffee maker. This should wipe the slate clean in case of a mild electrical issue.


You may need to contact Keurig customer service if the problem persists.

3. Clogged Entrance Needle

Unclogging the needle Keurig

The Keurig needle guides hot water into your K-cup pod, facilitating the brewing process.

As such:

Your Keurig coffee maker can’t brew if the entrance needle is stuck. In some cases, your machine will warn you when you turn it on.


Your Keurig entrance needle is likely clogged if your machine lights are on, but it won’t brew.


You can fix this by cleaning the entrance needle. Here is how.

  • Step 1: Unplug your Keurig.
  • Step 2: Raise the K-cup holder head to reveal the entrance needle.
  • Step 3: Take the tip of a safety pin and gently remove any debris stuck in the recesses.
  • Step 4: Wash the area with filtered water when you are done.

This should allow hot water to flow out of the entrance needle once again. Make sure you allow your machine to sit for half an hour before you plug everything back in.

4. Badly Seated Reservoir

Your Keurig reservoir feeds water into the machine for heating.


You can’t brew a cup of coffee without water.


The reservoir needs to be aligned properly with the coffee maker for maximum flow. As such, incorrectly replacing the reservoir could cause it to leak.


It’s easy to tell when your reservoir is properly seated in its holster. Most models come with a magnet at the bottom that can act as a guide when replacing the water reservoir.


Your coffee maker may flash a warning if your reservoir isn’t properly docked in its spot.

Models Commonly Affected

This problem usually occurs with Keurig models that have indicator lights.


This casts a broad net but can be narrowed even further to the following few, thanks to reports from users.

1. Keurig K40

Keurig K40


The Keurig K40’s water reservoir uses a charcoal filter. The narrowness of the channel makes jostling the filter even more common.


This could cause the lights to flash when you turn on the machine. However, you can remedy this by shifting the charcoal filter back into place.

2. Keurig K-Compact

Keurig K-Compact


The Keurig K-Compact classic comes with a mountable cold water reservoir that is small. It easily fits onto the machine, but one needs to slot it in every time carefully.


Fitting the water reservoir incorrectly could trigger solid lights on the coffee maker when trying to brew.

3. Keurig Elite

Keurig K-Elite Silver


Be sure to clean the needle on your Keurig Elite as often as possible. It can get clogged easily, thereby setting off internal alarms on the machine.


Properly clean your reusable K-cup pods, if you have any. The less debris passing through your machine, the better.


It’s safe to say that your Keurig coffee maker lights aren’t meant to flash constantly when you power on the machine.


Whether they stay on or flash, something may be wrong with your machine if it isn’t working despite the power.


You can troubleshoot the problem by trying the following.

  • Shift the charcoal water filter back into place.
  • Reset the machine after a major power surge.
  • Unclog the entrance needle.
  • Make sure the cold water reservoir is properly seated in its holster.

It’ll all be worth it once your Keurig starts working as intended.


Feel free to leave a comment if you found this guide useful. Also, include any suggestions you may have in the comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Fix My Keurig When All the Lights Are On?

Check if your charcoal water filter is displaced. Set it, so water flows freely into the machine. Reset your coffee maker if there has been a major power surge, clean the needle frequently and set the cold water reservoir carefully before brewing.

How Do I Force My Keurig to Reboot?

You can’t force your Keurig to reboot instantly. You can reset it by letting it sit unplugged for thirty minutes to an hour. This gives the machine enough time to clear any minor programming or electrical faults it may have.

Why Is My Keurig Turning On But Not Working?

Your Keurig may turn on but not work because the entrance needle is clogged. Hot water can’t flow into your K-cup holder if the needle is clogged. You can clear any obstructions using the end of a paper clip.

What Does it Mean When All the Lights On My Keurig Are Flashing?

The flashing lights could mean your Keurig’s charcoal water filter has been displaced. A displaced water filter limits the flow of water into your coffee maker. But you can stop the flashing lights by shifting your charcoal water filter back into place.

Erica Cervenkova
Coffee Connoisseur, SCA Member

As a coffee connoisseur and member of the Specialty Coffee Association, I am dedicated to understanding the sustainability of coffee pods and the impact it has on the environment. My expertise lies in the realm of capsule coffee machines, from the likes of Keurig and Nespresso to other well-known US brands. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others make informed decisions about their coffee choices. Whether you're a coffee enthusiast or just looking for a new way to enjoy your morning cup, I'm here to help.


Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00