Descaling is a crucial task for keeping your coffee machine healthy. It only takes about 25 minutes, and you must do it regularly to remove buildups of limescale from the machine. Unfortunately, you might face a situation where your machine doesn’t work after the descaling process.
Coffee machines that don’t work after descaling are likely experiencing an electronic glitch that can be cleared with a quick reset. Besides that, an incomplete descaling or cleaning cycle can also cause the machine to behave erratically afterwards. Check for a tripped safety thermostat and ensure the water tank’s valve isn’t stuck.
Descaling is done to improve a coffee machine’s functionality. So, this problem can be pretty frustrating to deal with. No worries, though, as this guide will help you sort it all out.
Why Is My Coffee Machine Not Working After Descaling?
Your coffee machine should work like it usually does after completing the descaling process. If it doesn’t, here’s why:
About this: Coffee machines vary significantly in their level of sophistication. Many households have straightforward machines only with essential parts and few or no electronic components inside.
Other coffee machines rely heavily on electronic parts and even have circuit boards. These parts become necessary for machines that offer you more features and automation than basic models.
What happens: The challenge with coffee machines with more electronic components is that they’re more prone to electronic glitches.
Glitches are basically short-term errors that are unpredictable and almost impossible to pinpoint. They’re not fatal to your coffee machine or its parts but can disrupt its functionality.
In this case, a glitch could have happened during or after you run the descaling cycle in your coffee machine. As a result, the glitch interferes with your coffee machine and stops it from working as it should.
How to fix it: As you read above, the root cause behind glitches and other minor errors is almost impossible to pinpoint. But, funnily enough, these errors can disappear as quickly as they came.
You can clear most glitches by resetting your coffee machine. First, disconnect it from its power supply for 5 minutes. That will allow any retained power to fade, resetting the machine’s electronics.
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After those 5 minutes, plug the machine back in and turn it on, so it starts over fresh.
This process works on many electronic devices and is known as ‘power cycling’. If the steps sound familiar, it’s because you’ve likely done the same to your smartphone or computer.
Incomplete Descaling Process
About this: The complexity of your descaling process will depend on your coffee machine. For instance, the process is entirely manual on a very simple coffee maker.
However, more sophisticated models will have a cleaning or descaling cycle, complete with a dedicated button on the control panel.
Whether you do it manually or with the push of a button, the descaling process must be completed thoroughly to have the intended effects.
What happens: Some coffee machines will behave erratically if the cleaning or descaling process is incomplete.
For example, you might have started the cycle, which was then interrupted by:
- A power outage
- A lack of water
- Someone manually stopping the process mid-cycle
Whatever the reason might be, a descaling cycle that’s interrupted halfway can ‘confuse’ the coffee machine and cause it not to work normally.
How to fix it: Firstly, you’ll have to reset your coffee machine using the power cycling process in the previous section.
Then, you should restart a new cleaning or descaling cycle. This time, though, you must allow the process to finish completely. Again, do not interfere with the process, and ensure that no one else does either.
Water Tank Issue
About this: Whether you descale your coffee machine manually or automatically, you’ll most likely fill the water tank with a solution. That solution could be a specially-made coffee machine descaler or simple household white vinegar.
Whatever kind of supply you use, it starts at the water tank. Then it goes through the internal hoses and heating element until it ends up in the carafe or your cup.
As the solution flows through that way, it’ll remove the buildup of scale inside your coffee machine.
What happens: Suppose your machine doesn’t make coffee after descaling because water isn’t flowing. In that case, the one-way valve at the water tank’s bottom is likely stuck.
Residue from the descaling solution might be stuck around that valve, keeping it shut. As a result, water can’t flow from the tank, preventing you from making coffee.
How to fix it: First, remove the water tank and rinse it. Then, use your finger to depress the one-way valve a few times while washing away any descaling solution residue.
Once the valve works normally, you can reattach it to your coffee machine.
Tripped Safety Thermostat
About this: Coffee machines can get pretty hot inside. So, manufacturers include safety thermostats in their machines to protect against the dangers of overheating.
Dangerously high temperatures will trigger the safety thermostat and break the electrical circuit. As a result, no power will flow through the machine, forcing it to turn off and cool down.
What happens: The descaling process involves a lot of heat, which can sometimes push the machine to high temperatures. Sometimes, those temperatures can reach high enough to trigger the safety thermostat.
When that happens, the machine stops working and won’t even turn on when you try to use it after descaling.
How to fix it: The safety thermostat in your coffee machine is resettable. The challenge, however, is accessing that component.
Firstly, you’ll have to open the outer panel of your coffee machine. Then, you’ll have to locate and identify the tripped safety thermostat.
Once you find it, you can push its button to reset the thermostat and get your coffee machine working again.
Remember: if the descaling process was interrupted mid-way, you must restart a new descaling process. The process must be completed to remove scale build-up from your coffee machine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Scaling and descaling coffee machines can get a bit confusing at first. So here are a few more questions and answers to help strengthen your understanding:
What Is Scale In A Coffee Maker?
Scale is the buildup of minerals in your coffee maker. Those minerals will get stuck around parts like the heating element, forming a white and chalky substance known as limescale. If limescale builds up too long, it’ll undermine your coffee maker’s functionality and affect the taste of your beverage.
How Do I Descale My Coffee Maker?
You can descale your coffee maker using specialized descaling solutions sold in hardware stores, supermarkets, and elsewhere. Alternatively, you can also use white vinegar already in most household kitchens.
What Does Water Hardness Mean On Coffee Machines?
Water hardness refers to the concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium in the water. When you use hard water in a coffee machine, you speed up the accumulation of limescale around its components. Besides that, hard water also affects the taste of your coffee.
How Does Water Hardness Affect Coffee Taste?
Harder water has higher concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Those minerals will mute the natural flavors of your coffee. For that reason, softer water is preferred when making coffee.
Should I Use Soft Water In My Coffee Maker?
Yes, you should use soft water in your coffee maker whenever possible. Soft water produces coffee that tastes better compared to that made of hard water.