Flashing Lights on a Keurig: Potential Explanations and Solutions

Picture of Keurig Turned Off

Keurig machines are convenient and easy to use when you want a great cup of coffee. Don’t have time to brew drip-style coffee or wait around on a French press? No problem. Keurig’s got your back. With just a quick motion and the press of a button, you can have an excellent cup of coffee in two to three minutes flat.

What gets complicated is when the lights on a Keurig start flashing. If this is happening to you, your Keurig isn’t boycotting its job. It’s trying to tell you there’s a problem. The issue may seem hard to figure out. In fact, there are several reasons that could cause a Keurig machine to start blinking. Thankfully, there are many things you can try to do to alleviate the problem. Odds are your machine is fine and just needs a little extra TLC. So, if you’re experiencing this problem, don’t rush out to buy a new one just yet.

Troubleshooting for Blinking Lights

There are many reasons why your Keurig has flashing lights. This can range from reasons like a simple water reservoir issue, a K-cup compatibility issue, or various parts of the machine being clogged or dirty.

The good news is the light that is blinking can potentially lead you to the issue. One light may blink for several reasons, but another light may blink for another reason. Also, if there are many lights blinking at the same time, that could be a different reason altogether.

Water Reservoir Issues

If there isn’t enough water in the external water tank, the blue “add water” light will come on to let you know. To fix this problem, simply remove the reservoir and fill it up to the maximum level line. The machine will not run if there is not enough water in the tank.

This same light may also be on if the tank has not been seated correctly onto the appliance. This problem can be alleviated by removing the tank from the Keurig and placing it back onto the machine properly. As with the water level, the appliance will not run if the reservoir has not been properly sealed and attached to the Keurig.

Clogs and Filth

An obstruction in the tank’s water valve and a jammed-up exit needle can cause the blue “add water” light to act up. Comparatively, mineral buildup on the internal tubes and heating element can all trigger the “descaling” light. Having a plugged charcoal filter can cause multiple lights to blink at the same time.

Debris in an exit needle can be gently removed by using a paper clip or other small, thin, sharp instrument. If the charcoal filter is the issue, simply change out the filter for a new one. If these two issues turn out to be fine, the next step would be to wash all the removable parts of the Keurig with hot soapy water. If, after all of that, the lights are still an issue, the internal parts may need to be cleaned, or descaled.

K-Cup Issues

Many people like to use refillable K-cups. The problem is overpacking them. If the pod has been overpacked, water cannot flow through it. This situation, which tricks the machine into thinking there is a blockage somewhere, can cause the “descale” light to blink.

To fix this, remove the refillable K-cup and empty it out. You will also need to clean out the K-cup holder, removing any debris that might be in the compartment.

Prevention is Key

Keurig machines need to be regularly monitored, maintained, and cleaned to keep them running in tip-top shape. Whether that’s internal cleaning, refilling, or using the proper pods, it’s important to pay attention and care for your appliance if you want it to continue to work well.

Water Reservoir

Regularly check to see what the level of water is in your Keurig machine. When you notice the level starting to get low, refill it so that it’s ready to go the next time you want a fresh cup of coffee. Also, take the extra time to make sure the tank has been properly reattached to the machine.

Gently give your tank a little shake from time to time to make sure the valve is clear of any “floaters” or debris. Water reservoir issues can also be prevented by regular cleanings. Get down in there, gently, with a brush and some soapy hot water.

K-Cup Holder

Keurig sells rinse pods, specially made for cleaning residual oils, bacteria, buildup, and residual flavors out of the K-cup pod holder, brewer funnel, and exit needle. If this simple process is done weekly, it can help with basic clogging issues.

Descaling & Filters

Descaling your Keurig helps get rid of any mineral buildup from the internal tubes and heating element. To keep your machine running excellently and increase its longevity, it’s suggested to run Keurig’s special solution through the tank every three to six months.

Similarly, charcoal filters should be routinely replaced every two months. Not only does this keep the quality of your brew high and tasting great, but it also prevents potential blinking lights from your Keurig.

Reusable K-Cups

If you are someone who loves to use refillable K-cups, make sure to follow the directions. Only fill the reusable K-cup to the fill line or with the recommended amount of coffee grounds. Just because it looks like it can hold more coffee, doesn’t mean it should. If you are careful with how much ground coffee you use, you can prevent blinking Keurig lights in the future.

Contacting the Company & Warranty Coverage

If you have exhausted all the possible solutions outlined above, including unplugging and plugging in your machine, it may be time to contact customer service.

Every Keurig purchase comes with a one-year limited warranty, guaranteeing you a machine that is free from material and workmanship defects. If your product has been registered, and it’s within the one-year window, Keurig will repair or replace a machine that is defective without charge.


There are several reasons why a Keurig machine might have blinking lights. Thankfully, the specific light that is blinking can often point you in the direction of how to solve the problem. Another positive is that many of the reasons that cause this appliance to malfunction can be avoided with proper care and usage. Even though Keurig will repair or replace a malfunctioning machine with its limited warranty, it’s worth the extra time to show your Keurig a little TLC to keep it running smoothly.