If your Keurig coffee machine is displaying a message that says ‘Prime’ and is refusing to brew your coffee, it can be a seriously frustrating situation to deal with. You need your coffee in the morning, but your coffee maker isn’t having any of it. The good news is that there’s no need to panic when you get the ‘Prime’ message showing up on your coffee machine. There are three things that you can do, all of which are quite simple and easy, to resolve this problem. So, how do you prime a Keurig?
Why Does it Say Prime and What Does it Mean?
What does prime mean on Keurig? The Keurig Prime error message on a coffee maker will usually indicate one of three different things. These are:
- The water reservoir is too dirty for the coffee maker to brew
- The water reservoir has not been correctly aligned, preventing the water from running through it
- The entry and exit needles have become clogged and need cleaning
You will be glad to hear that when you are dealing with one of these issues with your Keurig brewer, they are typically easy to rectify. All you will need to do is give the coffee maker a thorough cleaning, before checking it with a brew cycle without a pod.
What to Do Before You Start
If you are getting the ‘Prime’ message on your Keurig coffee machine, there is no doubt that something is likely to need cleaning, or if you are lucky, you may simply have to realign the water reservoir or are getting a Keurig prime error. Bear in mind that you might not have to go through the entire process if you are getting this message, especially if you have only recently given the machine a deep cleaning. If this is the case, try realigning the water reservoir or resetting your machine first to see if that fixes the problem. To reset the machine, unplug it and let it sit for a few minutes before plugging it back in and turning it on.
How to Prime a Keurig
How to prime a Keurig? There are three steps that you will need to take to make sure that your Keurig machine is primed, cleaned, ready to go and no longer showing the error message. The three steps are essential regular maintenance for these coffee brewers and it’s usually a sign that they are overdue if you are getting the ‘Prime’ message on the screen.
Clean the Water Reservoir
The first step is to clean out the water reservoir. A dirty reservoir is one of the most common causes of the ‘Prime’ error showing up, so thoroughly cleaning it is the first thing to do. Start by removing the lid and taking the reservoir out of the coffee machine.
Try refitting it, to check that it’s not misaligned as this might be a simpler reason for why the error message is showing. But if it’s not been cleaned for a while, there’s a high chance that it is too dirty.
The best way to clean it is using a non-abrasive cloth and some mild dish soap. Rinse it thoroughly to remove all soap residue before reattaching it to the coffee machine. Flush the brewer by running a brewing cycle without adding a K-cup a couple of times.
Clean the Needles
The next step in the process of priming your Keurig machine is to clean the needles. If you are still getting the error message after cleaning and reattaching the reservoir, then this is likely to be the culprit.
Each Keurig machine has two needles; these are an entry needle to deliver the hot water to the K-cup, and an exit needle that the brewed coffee flows through.
To clean the needles, start by turning off the power and take out the portion pack holder by lifting up the handle, grasping the top of the holder and using your finger to push up the K-cup holder at the bottom, which should loosen it.
The holder will also come apart. Do this by using one hand to grasp the bottom, before grasping the top with your other hand and twisting it to pull it off. Once you have done this, you will see a small tube, which is the hole of the exit needle.
You can clean out the tube using a straightened paper clip. Place it into the bottom of the hole and use a turning motion gently to loosen up any residue that is clogging the needle. Depending on how bad the blockage is, you might need to clean off the paper clip and repeat a few times.
Then, wash the funnel and holder by running some warm water through it. Make sure that the water runs through both the needle and exit hole to clean out any leftover residue that you’ve not been able to reach. Allow these parts to air dry.
Then, you can clean the entry needle. Locate it by pulling up the handle where you should be able to see it underneath the brew head. You will see two holes that both need to be cleaned. You can clean them using the paper clip in the same way as the exit needle. Be careful – this needle is quite sharp.
Finally, reassemble the dried tunnel and holder and reinstall them in the machine. The holder will snap into place easily once aligned with the lines that are shown on the opening. Once done, put some water in the tank and run a brewing cycle without a k-cup, using water alone to flush out any leftover residue.
Clean the Filter Screen
If you’ve cleaned the water tank and the needles and are still getting the error message, cleaning the filter screen can help. To do this, switch off the machine and make sure that the plug is removed from the power outlet. Take the water reservoir off the brewer and empty it.
You will find a small opening on the base that holds the reservoir. This is called the base port. Use a damp cloth to clean it. Then clean the mesh screen filter and port in the water reservoir if they are present. Run water through the filter to thoroughly flush any residue through it.
Then, fill the water tank with water and put the lid on. While holding the lid in place, shake the reservoir to rinse it out thoroughly. Turn it over and run some water through the base port, removing any debris with your finger if needed.
You will also need to clean the spring. You can do this by using your finger to compress the spring a few times, which will cause any build-up to loosen. Finally, reinstall your reservoir and fill it with water. Finish the process by running a brewing cycle using only water and no k-cup a few times.
How to Avoid the Prime Message
When you see the ‘Prime’ error message on a Keurig coffee maker, this will usually mean that there has been a build-up of minerals and residue in the machine’s tubes and tanks. Along with debris from the coffee brewing process, minerals from the water can cause limescale, which is left behind and eventually interferes with the water flow of the coffee maker if it is not dealt with. Cleaning and descaling your Keurig coffee machine thoroughly at least once per month is the best way to keep it in good condition and make sure that you do not get the Prime error message.
How to Descale Your Keurig Machine
In some cases, descaling your Keurig coffee maker might be enough to get rid of the Prime error message and get you back on your way to brewing your favorite K cup coffee again. How to prime a Keurig coffee maker by descaling? Descaling is a pretty simple process that you can do using either descaling products that are designed for using with these machines, or basic white vinegar that you might have in your home or can easily get from the local store.
If you don’t have a Keurig descaling solution, a simple way to descale your machine is to combine equal parts distilled water and white vinegar in the water reservoir. Then, repeat the brew cycle until the water reservoir does not contain enough water to brew any more, without using any K cups, to flush the machine. Allow the leftover mixture to sit for a while to get to work on descaling your machine, before repeating the process again, but this time with just water to rinse the machine thoroughly and get rid of any white vinegar residue before using the machine to brew coffee. Keurig descaling solutions work in a similar way; however, these often come in the form of descaling k cups that you can insert into your machine to send it through in a similar way to how coffee is brewed.
The ‘Prime’ error message on a Keurig machine is frustrating, but usually a sign that maintenance is needed. Typically, you will need to clean the water reservoir, entry and exit needles, or the filter screen to get rid of this message. A full descale of the machine may also work, but deep cleaning is the best option.