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Espresso Machine Pump Not Working

Updated: Aug 24, 2022 7:37 PM
Espresso Machine Pump Not Working

If your espresso machine pump is not working, you want to fix it before reattempting to make your morning cup of coffee. You may be experiencing an issue with your best coffee maker due to an air pocket inside your pump and its tube, loose wires, or a clog in the steam wand.


  • The water pump on an espresso machine provides hot water for your steam wand and for brewing coffee.
  • If you suspect an air bubble causes your vibrator pump malfunction, you need your espresso maker and a baster that fits inside your water tube.
  • If this method does not help, you may need to unclog your steam wand and group head.

If you hear the pump turn on without water coming out of the group head, your problem is probably an air pocket or clog. If you have trouble with your percolator, check out our article on a coffee percolator not working.

Pump Not Working on Espresso Maker

The water pump remains crucial to the function of an espresso machine. The water that passes through the pump also passes through the coffee grounds at high pressure to extract your desired flavor. However, your machine’s pump may not work properly if there are loose wires, air pockets, or clogs. Learning more about how an espresso coffee maker works may help you fix some problems yourself. But, if the device has internally loose wires, you’ll need to have the machine repaired by a professional. Unfortunately, you probably need to take the machine for repairs if the issue stems from loose cables inside the machine. On the other hand, if your machine is too far gone, check out our review of the Starbucks Verismo 580.

Insider Tip

Remove the water filter or water softener from the end of the tube before attempting this process.

You can probably fix the other two problems easily. However, if you recently acquired your expresso machine or recently emptied the water reservoir, you may have an air bubble in your pump, so read on to find out how to fix it. Otherwise, you may need to check out our article on why the machine’s steam wand is not working. While you’re cleaning the wand, go ahead and check out how to clean the coffee maker using baking soda. You may also be interested in how big of an inverter do I need to run a coffee maker.

Steps for Removing an Air Pocket

  1. Remove the water reservoir. If your water reservoir is empty, you may fix your problem by filling your water tank with water. The reservoir should have a tube going into it, which connects to the water pump. Do not attempt this process with fresh coffee grinds in your filter baskets.
  2. Remove the filter on the end of the tube if there is one. This filter usually acts as a water softener or water filter, reducing the contaminants that get into your water. Do not remove the tube entirely, just the filter on the end. Be aware that not all espresso machines have one on the end of the tube.
  3. Fill your baster with water from your reservoir. Make sure to use one that fits the end of the tube, but not one small enough that there’s hardly any water inside. You need a substantial amount of water to clear the air bubble in the pipe completely.
  4. Push the water out of the baster and into the tube. The goal is to prime the pump with water manually. Then, repeat until the hose fills with water.
  5. Turn on the hot water switch followed by the power switch, switching the water flow from passing through the ground coffee beans to the flow of water to the steam wand. Some machines require you to do this in reverse order, but a majority follow this rule. If you don’t have a hot water switch, you need to flip the coffee switch.
  6. Watch for suction against the baster in the tube as the pump activates. At first, only run it until the suction occurs, and turn it off to remove the baster.
  7. Place the tube in the reservoir before flipping the switch again. Make sure the tube doesn’t end up suctioned against the wall of your water reservoir. If this process fixed the issue, water should begin coming out of the steam wand.


If you have loose wires, you may not be able to fix them on your own, but you can call a repair specialist.


Why are there coffee grounds in my cup after brewing?

If you have a Keurig, this issue may be caused by a blockage from coffee grounds around the exit needle. You may also have trouble if your grinds are too thin and pass through the filter.

How do I adjust my machine’s steam boiler temperature?

Your espresso machine probably has a pressure meter, which can be changed by turning the center screw. However, do not adjust the temperature too much because espresso has specific temperatures necessary for brewing.

What is the correct boiler pressure for an espresso machine?

Most espresso machines operate under the idea that nine bars of pressure are ideal.

STAT: If your espresso machine is making a loud noise and water is not flowing to the water tank, this is usually caused by trapped air. (source)

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