How to Troubleshoot My Mr. Coffee Maker

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It is easy to troubleshoot your coffee maker.
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Standing in the kitchen with an empty coffee cup in your hand and staring at your uncooperative coffee maker can be a frustrating start to your morning. For some problems, such as a Mr. Coffee clock that's not working, you may need to call on a service technician or an electrician. But, you'll be glad to know that you can find Mr. Coffee troubleshooting tips by visiting MrCoffee.com or by consulting your user manual.

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Mr. Coffee Models

NPR notes that in 1972, Mr. Coffee became the first drip coffee maker made for the home, and only three years later in 1975, 1 million of these appliances had been sold. By 1977, Mr. Coffee appliances were moving off store shelves at the rate of more than 40,000 per day.

Present-day Mr. Coffee models range from a single-cup to a 12-cup coffee maker. But even with the company's longstanding track record of excellence, any Mr. Coffee model may still run afoul of perfect performance.

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Mr. Coffee Troubleshooting

If your Mr. Coffee isn't brewing at all, troubleshoot the easiest solutions first. The appliance should be firmly plugged into a 120-volt electrical outlet, but it may be unplugged if you recently cleaned the kitchen or rearranged your countertop appliances and simply forgot to plug it back in. If there has been a power surge or recent outage, you may need to turn a tripped circuit breaker to the "on" position.

And in the wee hours of the morning when you're not quite awake yet, or even if you programmed your Mr. Coffee the night before for a morning brew time, you may have forgotten to add water to the reservoir.

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Mr. Coffee Leaking or Overflowing

If you see water leaking out around the bottom of your Mr. Coffee machine, first check the filter and brew basket. The filter should be in the proper position, according to your user manual, and the brew basket should be completely closed. If you add too much water to the reservoir, it will flow out of the overflow slot at the top and puddle near the base of your coffee maker.

A filter may also be the culprit if your Mr. Coffee is overflowing. Check to see if the filter is folded over or collapsed, which can cause the water to overflow the brew basket. Too much coffee, or the wrong grind of coffee, can also make the appliance overflow. Avoid using finely ground coffee, and only use coffee that's packaged for use in automatic drip coffee makers.

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Slow Brewing and Bad Taste

If a Mr. Coffee is brewing more slowly than usual, or if the brewed coffee has a bad taste, these problems may actually be caused by the same issue — a coffee maker that needs descaling, which is the process that removes mineral deposits inside the appliance. The manufacturer of Mr. Coffee recommends descaling your coffee maker every 40 to 80 brews.

To descale your Mr. Coffee:

  • Fill the coffee carafe with undiluted household vinegar to the 4-cup line, and pour the vinegar into the water reservoir.
  • Place a filter in the brew basket, and close the lid.
  • Let 3 cups of the vinegar flow through the basket into the carafe, and turn your Mr. Coffee machine to "Off."
  • After 30 minutes, turn your Mr. Coffee on and let the remaining 1 cup flow through the basket into the carafe.
  • Discard the vinegar, thoroughly rinse the carafe and remove the filter from the brew basket.
  • Pour a full carafe of clean water into the reservoir, replace the carafe underneath the brew basket and turn your Mr. Coffee to "On" for the clean water to flow through and rinse the residual vinegar from the machine.

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Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper columns. Her writing expertise covers diverse industries, including horticulture, home maintenance and DIY projects, banking, finance, law and tax. Blackstone has written more than 2,000 published works for newspapers, magazines, online publications and individual clients.