Why Is My Coffee Maker Not Pumping Water?

Nothing will wake you up better than having a hot cup of coffee in the morning, which is why nothing is more annoying than finding out that your coffee maker is not pumping water as it should. What is causing this problem?

Most likely, there is a build-up of hardened minerals (scaling) that is blocking the tubes thus preventing your coffee maker from pumping the water from the reservoir to the shower head. It could also be because the heating element is malfunctioning.

In this article, why these issues happen, how to fix them, and how to prevent them in the first place.

Why your coffee maker is not pumping water

There are two common reasons for this. One can be fixed and prevented by doing a simple maintenance routine, while the other is more serious and will require repairing, and if worse comes to worst, replacing.

Clogged pipe

If you live in an area with a “hard” water source, or use mineral water in the reservoir, it can cause the minerals in the water to harden and block the pipe that is supplying the water to the shower head.

Additionally, depending on the age of your coffee maker as well as your maintenance habits, the pipes may be blocked by molds or algae growth (yuck!).

To remove the blockage, mix water and vinegar (half and half, the amount will depend on the capacity of your carafe) and turn on the coffee maker. Do this until the resulting “brew” is clean. Afterwards, run another cycle but only with water to remove the remaining vinegar residue from the coffee maker.

In severe cases, you may have to clean the pipe with a pipe cleaner. You should check whether your coffee maker has a detachable reservoir or detachable water pipe. For models with a fixed water pipe, you can try dismantling the bottom part of the coffee maker to reach the water pipe with a pipe cleaner.

Malfunctioning heating element

If your coffee maker is not heating the water properly, it won’t let the water flow through the hot water pipe, and thus no hot water will be poured over your coffee grounds.

The heating element is the part that makes the water boil, and it lies right under the heating plate. It is not unusual for a coffee maker’s heating elements to get worn out over time. However, the heating element can also short circuit if water comes into contact with it.

If you know your way around electronics, you can DIY the repair on your own. However, we recommend that you have it checked by a technician if you do not know how to fix electronics.

The heating element can be accessed by removing the screws from the base of your coffee maker. Once you’ve found the horseshoe-shaped heating element, you can test its conductivity with a multimeter. If no electricity is conducted, then it means that the heating element is broken. You can buy spare parts on your own, but the best option is always to bring it to a technician.

How to prevent blockages from happening

If you want to prevent more blockages from causing your coffee maker to not pump water, then do the following:

Don’t use “hard” water

Some areas have a hard water supply, which means that there are a lot of dissolved minerals in the water. These minerals will harden and form blockages in the pipe when left alone. Use distilled or filtered water instead.

Descale every so often

Descaling is the process of removing the thick layer of minerals that is coating interior of the pipes. The best way to do this is to do the water and vinegar cycle as described above every few months. You can also use a commercial descaling solution like this one from Lazada.


If your coffee maker is not pumping water as it should, don’t throw it away yet! This problem can be fixed and prevented by frequently descaling your unit. If it is an issue with the heating plate though, you should have it checked out by a technician to fix it.

By the way, we’ve recently reviewed a coffee maker model from Hanabishi a while back, go check it out!

4 thoughts on “Why Is My Coffee Maker Not Pumping Water?”

  1. My HB flex brew was not working: carafe side would turn on, indicate brewing, then shut off after a few seconds; single serve side indicating add H20 when there was plenty of water. Left it unplugged overnight and now it is working fine. My guess is capacitance buildup on the internal circuit board discharged overnight.


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