Philips Senseo troubleshooting

Philips Senseo coffee machines are known for their durability and quality; however, as with other brands of coffee machines, after long periods of use, some issues arise that prevent us from enjoying our desired Senseo coffee. That is why we have compiled this complete guide to troubleshooting problems affecting Senseo coffee machines.

We will deal with the most common incidents and breakdowns that Senseo users face every day. We will also cover some aspects of maintenance and reconditioning to get coffees with the same aroma and taste you had when the machine was new.

The specific problem affecting your Senseo coffee maker may not be covered here, although we must warn you that our articles are always subject to future additions and modifications. So as soon as we hear about a new type of problem, we add it to our troubleshooting guides.

Senseo coffee machine troubleshooting: Overview

The most common problems affecting a Philips Senseo coffee machine are broadly the same as those found in other brands of capsule coffee machines. They are usually related to clogging due to limescale and coffee residue build-up or defects in the electronic components.

We will detail these issues individually shortly, but we can say in advance that almost every time someone talks about “a fault in a Philips Senseo coffee machine”, it is usually a clogging in the water circulation circuit or the coffee nozzle. In rarer cases, we will find a fault in a condenser on the control board, a defect in the water pump or a malfunction in the heating element.

Remember that it is very beneficial to consult the user manuals of the different Philips Senseo coffee machines before making sure that our coffee maker is faulty.

How to dismantle a Philips Senseo coffee machine

Let’s start with a very common request. You want to do a deep cleaning on your Senseo coffee machine, complete maintenance or maybe replace a damaged part, but how do you go about dismantling the coffee machine? Getting to the inside of a Philips Senseo coffee machine is essential for any of the above tasks, so now let’s take a quick and easy look at how it’s done.

As with any other brand, you have to disassembly the Philips Senseo coffee machine in a planned way. In other words, we need to know beforehand what tools we are going to need, what screws we are going to remove and, in short, what we are going to find. In the video below, you can see how to disassemble a Senseo Original:

Knowing how to open a Senseo coffee machine is useful if the coffee machine is no longer under warranty and you want to find out for yourself if you can fix a fault before taking it to a service centre. Note: You should only dismantle your Senseo coffee machine if it is an old one. Otherwise, you will void the warranty.

The Senseo coffee maker does not work

It is a classic fault among all Philips Senseo coffee machines. Unfortunately, it does not only happen for this manufacturer but also many other capsule machines from other brands. If your Senseo coffee machine does not switch on, you likely have a fault (i.e. it is not something you can fix immediately).

The good news is that in most cases, this fault has to do with the machine’s control board, and more specifically, the capacitors. If this is the problem, replace the old capacitors with new ones. They are cheap, although you will have to go inside the machine to find the board to replace them (we have just seen above how to disassemble a Philips Senseo coffee machine).

There are usually two capacitors, the main capacitor and an auxiliary capacitor, and if one of them is damaged, your Senseo coffee machine will not work properly. So now you know: if your Philips Senseo coffee machine won’t turn on, the most likely cause is the capacitors. Read more in this article. See in this video how to do it:

The Philips Senseo coffee maker turns itself off

It is a similar but different problem to the previous one: in this case, the machine does turn on, but after a few moments, you can see how the Senseo coffee machine switches off without you doing anything. Without warning and any specific circumstances, the coffee machine switches itself off.

If your Senseo coffee maker switches on but then switches off immediately, or you see the lights flickering dimly, the problem is probably electrical again. And as in the previous case, it is most likely that one of the capacitors is faulty.

My Philips Senseo coffee maker is leaking water

When analysing the water leakage problem in a Senseo coffee machine, we must first establish where the water is leaking, as the cause and the solution will differ depending on the location.

If water leaks from the bottom or a joint in the housing, it is possible that the tank is incorrectly adjusted or that the connection between the water tank and the internal circuit of the coffee maker is damaged. It is also possible that a pipe has broken or come out of the internal water circuit of the coffee maker.

First, check the tank and its correct adjustment, and once this has been ruled out, you can proceed to disassemble the coffee maker and look inside for a loose/broken valve or pipe.

Sometimes, when the pad holder is too dirty due to coffee and limescale residues, it is necessary to disassemble and clean it. Otherwise, the coffee machine may leak from the head. Watch this short video to learn how to clean it:

My Philips Senseo coffee maker does not open

If we had to rank the most common problems with Senseo coffee machines, this would be among them. One day you go to your coffee machine to make a nice hot coffee, and when you try to lift the lid of the coffee machine to put in a coffee pad, it doesn’t open; it looks like it’s stuck on with glue.

Could it be the dirt we have already seen? In this case, the problem originates in a vacuum created between the capsule holder and the water pump. It usually happens when we leave a capsule forgotten in the head without removing it after making the coffee. If enough time passes, the volume of the capsule increases, creating a vacuum effect between the capsule holder and the water pump.

This solution is exclusively for when a Senseo coffee machine does not open and cannot be applied to other brands of coffee machines, as Senseo is one of the few brands that use coffee pads instead of coffee pods.

To release the pressure, you have to move the transparent hose or tube through which the water circulates and connects directly to the head (in the image below, we use a screwdriver).

How to solve the issue with the vacuum effect in a Senseo
How to solve the issue with the vacuum effect in a Senseo

My Philips Senseo does not heat the water

If your Senseo coffee machine does not heat the water, there are three main causes:

  • Firstly, a fault in the thermostat, which is responsible for activating or deactivating the boiler depending on the temperature of the water inside the heating element. To check that the thermostat is working properly, we must use a multimeter to check continuity between the two ends of the thermostat:
Fault in the thermostat
Fault in the thermostat
  • Secondly, and linked to water loss in the coffee maker, a broken pipe or defective valve may cause the water not to reach the heating element. In other words, the thermoblock works well but because it does not get enough water, it does not work properly.
  • Thirdly, and although it may sound repetitive, there may be too much limescale in the water circulation system and in the heating element. To solve this problem, one or more descalcifications would be sufficient.

The Senseo coffee maker has no water pressure

This undesired situation of lack of water pressure can occur for various reasons. Still, in all cases, the water will not be able to pass through the coffee capsule with sufficient force, and therefore we will obtain a reddish liquid that does not resemble coffee.

  • First of all, there is the case of the capsule holder blocked by coffee residues and other impurities. We have already dealt with this issue above, but again, here is another video explaining how to disassemble the small filter and how to clean it:
  • Secondly, we may find that the 3-way valve is in bad condition. You could try to clean and fix it but for a small cost, it is more efficient to replace it with a new one. This valve is essential for the water to come out with the correct pressure:
Senseo 3-way valve
Senseo 3-way valve
  • Finally, and as a more extreme case, we have a pump in bad condition. However, this is very unlikely as these pumps are very robust and their performance is very low in a coffee machine. If we were faced with a defective pump, we would have to replace it with a new one, with the same characteristics.

My Senseo coffee maker does not stop flashing

When the Senseo coffee maker flashes, it may or may not be a problem. It depends on the flashing. If the Philips Senseo brewer flashes slowly, nothing happens. It is normal. The brewer indicates that the water is getting hot, and we still can’t make a cup of coffee.

Conversely, if the flashing of your Senseo coffee maker is faster, then it is an alarm signal. The machine is telling us that something is not right. If you are in this second case – fast and constant flashing – these are the aspects and details you should check:

  • Make sure there’s enough water in the tank (it could be a minimum water level warning or an empty tank warning).
  • Check that the tank is installed correctly. Sometimes we have not fitted it properly with the body of the machine, and then the water cannot circulate.
  • Even if the tank has enough water and is appropriately placed, the level buoy (the sensor that the coffee maker uses to know if there is enough water) may be stuck. If this is the case, the easiest thing to do is to empty the tank and unjam the buoy manually.
  • As unusual as it may seem, make sure that the ambient temperature is above 10ºC. Philips Senseo coffee machines do not work well below this temperature.

Philips Senseo coffee maker: How does it work?

How does the Senseo coffee maker work? Well, virtually the same as other espresso machines using the domestic single-serve system. The only difference is that in the case of Senseo, the capsules are of the so-called pads, or soft pods, while in other brands, the coffee capsules may be different.

But the inner workings are the same. You can learn this in more detail in this guide: how a capsule coffee maker works.

Philips Senseo coffee machine: How to use it

A Senseo coffee maker is used the same way as any other capsule coffee maker. But if this is the first time you’ve had one, you might be wondering. Here’s a rough outline of the steps:

  • Plugin the coffee maker.
  • Fill the tank with water up to the indicated level (no more).
  • Choose the Senseo capsule you prefer, and insert it into the filter.
  • Turn on the coffee machine (central start button).
  • Push down the extraction lever so that the capsule is perforated.
  • Wait a few seconds until the red button light stops flashing. It will indicate that the brewer is ready to make coffee.
  • Don’t forget to put a cup or glass under the spout!
  • Press the brew button of your choice: for one cup or two cups.

In this video, you can see in detail how to use a Senseo coffee maker for the first time. We recommend looking if you’re new to these things or if you’ve just bought the machine and don’t know where to start.