Common Coffee Maker Problems

If you have a coffee maker in your house, then there are some problems that you may experience.

Coffee is a necessity for many people and if it’s not working properly, the frustration can grow quickly.

Problems with a coffee maker may range from the quality of the brew, the machine not working properly, and challenges in maintenance and storage.

From my experience, here are some common coffee maker problems and how to fix them:

A coffee maker

10 Coffee Maker Problems You May Experience

The most common problems include:

The Carafe Leaks when Pouring

This problem can usually be solved by either replacing the gasket or tightening the screws on the bottom of your machine’s base.

The gasket is especially easy to replace which makes it worth swapping out if you’re having issues.


Water can spill through the filter basket during brewing.

If this happens, try removing any built-up scale on your filter basket or use filtered water instead of tap water for better results.


You may experience a burnt or stale odor from the coffee maker. The pot may be too full, and/or old brewing grounds sitting in the filter basket.

For an icky smell coming out of your machine when it’s brewing, look for mineral deposits in the water reservoir.

A Coffee Maker That Doesn’t Work

Check to make sure it’s plugged into a working power outlet and back-flushed the machine as needed (see below for instructions).

If your appliance is old, you may need to replace the heating coil or other parts.

Instructions for Back-flushing a coffee maker:

Put water in the reservoir fill line and turn on the power.

Turn pot clockwise at least one complete rotation, then leave it alone.

That’s all there is to it! The video below offers more detailed instructions.


The coffee maker may drip when you pour water into it.

This usually means that the carafe isn’t on tight enough, or there was a buildup of old coffee grounds near the filter and they’ve become stuck to the bottom of your carafe.

To fix this problem you’ll need to clean out your carafe and make sure it’s tightly secured in the coffee maker.

The Brew Is Too Weak

A coffee maker that still works but produces a weaker pot than it used to.

Check the water filter and run some vinegar through if you see lime buildup (this is fairly common).

You can also try using distilled water, which doesn’t have any minerals in it.

A weak brew may also indicate that you have a smaller, more concentrated carafe than what the manufacturer recommends using.

A coffee maker pouring coffee in a cup

The Brew Is Too Strong

This usually means that you have a smaller, more concentrated carafe than what the manufacturer recommends using with this machine.

Switching to a larger capacity will help dilute the flavor of your coffee so that it’s not as strong.


The coffee maker can be leaking from the top when pouring water in it.

This usually means there was a buildup of old coffee grounds at the bottom of your carafe and they’ve become stuck to the glass, leading to a leak when you’re pouring.

You’ll need to clean out your carafe and make sure it’s tightly secured in the coffee maker.

The Brew Tastes Bitter

This usually means you’re using too much ground coffee, or that your water is not hot enough when brewing.

Adjusting either of these two variables will help to fix this problem.

Strange Noises

You may experience the coffee maker making a strange noise when you turn it on. This usually means there’s something wrong with the filter basket.

You’ll need to replace this if it can’t be fixed.

Read more here about how to fix or change your carafe: link

Tips to Maintain your Coffee Maker

Maintaining my coffee maker will help prolong its life. The coffee maker gives you that extra boost to get through a tough morning or afternoon.

You want to make sure this machine lasts as long as possible so it can keep up with your coffee needs. Here are a few tips to maintain your appliance;

Buy Quality

If you want good coffee, buy a quality machine. The cheap machines will not heat the water properly and will not extract enough flavor from your coffee beans.

A high-quality maker will save you money in the long run.


Don’t keep coffee beans stored in their original packaging after it’s been opened.

You need to put them into an airtight container that keeps the beans out of the air and light. This helps them stay fresher for a much longer time.

Don’t keep coffee in the freezer longer than three months. If you do, it will begin to get stale.


If you want to make rich tasting coffee, avoid using hot water to brew it with.

Use water that is not only cold, but charcoal filtered if possible. If you can’t do this, at least let the water sit for a while before using it to brew with.


There are many wonderful alternatives to ordinary sugar that you can use to liven up your coffee.

Agave nectar still contains sugar, but will not negatively impact your blood sugar. Stevia and Splenda also work well to sweeten coffee.

Additives such as sugar

Water Quality

If you want to make a good cup of coffee, you have to use good-quality water.

Bottled water lends itself to the perfect brew. It may cost a little more, but the flavor is well worth it.

You may also want to get a water purifier if you don’t go the bottled water route.

Although it is different than bottled water, your drink will taste better when you use purified water than when you just use tap water.

Quality Beans

A major factor that affects the taste of your coffee is the origin of the beans. Don’t keep buying the same brand or type of coffee.

Try new things each time you buy coffee. Price should not be as important of an issue since you would have to drink more of a weaker blend.

Ground coffee


Household vinegar is a great alternative to chemical agents if you’re looking to clean your coffeemaker.

You can clean this with vinegar or CLR, both of which you should use sparingly.

Add one cup of white vinegar to a cycle. When the coffee maker has finished its brew cycle, use water only to rinse the machine.

While the vinegar may take some of the machine’s flavor, it will leave the coffee maker smelling fresh and clean.

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