Coffee Maker Repair

Coffee has become an international beverage. This Fix-It Guide on coffee maker repair tells how a coffee maker works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a coffee maker problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble and test a drip coffee maker and a percolator coffee maker. This Fix-It Guide then refers to electrical cord repair, fuse repair, thermostat repair, heating element repair, and appliance controls repair for additional help.

How Does a Coffee Maker Work?

coffee maker1 Coffee Maker Repair

Some coffee makers use special fasteners that require unique screwdrivers.

A coffee maker, also known as a coffee pot, is a small heating appliance designed for brewing coffee from ground beans. The two types of electric coffee makers are drip and percolator. Drip coffee makers heat water and pump it to drip through the coffee basket and into a carafe. Percolator coffee makers heat water into steam that pushes the hot water up a tube where it falls through the coffee basket and into the main compartment. Coffee makers use switches to turn on and regulate electricity for heating water, and controllers for warming elements in the base that maintain heat in the coffee. Quite simple.

What Can Go Wrong with a Coffee Maker?

Electric cords, switches, timers, thermostats, and heating elements can become inoperable or cause an electric short that damages components. Some coffee makers have fuses that will blow before damage can be done.

Fix-It Tip

Basic maintenance can minimize repairs. Periodically brew a batch of water without the grounds, adding a small amount of vinegar to the water to neutralize accumulated acids. In addition, if you live in an area that has hard tap water, only use distilled or filtered water in your coffee maker. Not only will it last longer, the coffee will also taste better.

How Can I Identify a Coffee Maker Problem?

coffee maker2 Coffee Maker Repair

You may be able to see the problem without testing anything.

  • If the coffee maker doesn’t work at all, make sure power is on at the outlet, check the electrical cord, the internal fuse, or the thermostat and replace as needed.
  • If the coffee maker brews slowly, check the hot water tube for minerals or debris and clean (see below).
  • If the coffee doesn’t stay hot, test the heating element and the appliance controls. If the coffee maker leaks, check the seals or gaskets and replace as needed (see below).

The cost of replacing a major component, such as an element, is about half the cost of a new coffee maker–if you can find one. If these components fail, seriously consider replacing the appliance.

What Do I Need for Coffee Maker Repair?

You can find replacement parts through the manufacturer or aftermarket supplier. The tools you’ll need for disassembly and testing include these:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches or nut drivers
  • Multimeter

What Are the Steps to Coffee Maker Repair?

COFFEEMAKER3 Coffee Maker Repair

Testing a thermal fuse in the heating element.

Disassemble and test a drip coffee maker:

  1. Unplug the unit from the electrical receptacle.
  2. Remove the pot and basket. Remove or tape closed the water reservoir lid.
  3. Turn the appliance over and remove all screws that secure the case halves. Lift off the case to expose the heating element and controls.
  4. Inspect the control cavity to determine if the solution is simple: disconnected wire, debris, etc. If so, fix, reassemble, and test. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
  5. Use a multimeter to test the warming and heating elements, and the switch, thermostat, and timer (see the Appliance Controls Fix-It Guide).
  6. Replace any defective parts or decide to replace the appliance, as appropriate.
  7. Reassemble the appliance and reinstall the pot and basket.
  8. Fill the water reservoir approximately half full, then plug in and turn on the coffee maker to test its operation.

Disassemble and test a percolator coffee maker:

COFFEEMAKER4 Coffee Maker Repair

Testing a switch with a multimeter. The switch should get a reading of infinite when off and little or no resistance when on.

  1. Unplug the unit from the electrical receptacle.
  2. Remove the basket, stem, and lid.
  3. Turn the appliance over and remove all screws that secure the base. Lift off the base to expose the heating element and controls.
  4. Inspect the control cavity to determine if the solution is simple: bad seals, disconnected wire, debris, etc. If you find a problem, fix, reassemble, and test. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
  5. Use a multimeter to test the warming and heating elements, the switch, thermostat, and timer (see the Appliance Controls Fix-It Guide).
  6. Replace any defective parts or decide to replace the appliance, as appropriate.
  7. Reassemble the appliance and reinstall the stem, basket, and lid.
  8. Fill the coffee maker to approximately half full, then plug in and turn it on to test its operation.

Fix-It Tip

If replacing a thermostat requires un-riveting or de-soldering it, consider taking the coffeemaker to an appliance repair shop or recycling it.

Search for REPLACEMENT PARTS: