‘Airlock’ sounds like a weird thing to happen to an espresso machine like a Nespresso. But it’s actually the official name for an issue that many users are looking to fix.
What Is a Nespresso Airlock Problem?
If your Nespresso Vertuo or OriginalLine is not pumping water, as in, you press the brew button but no water is coming out of the spout, that’s an Airlock problem.
Why Does It Happen?
An air bubble gets trapped inside the pipes of the machine, which prevents water from going out of the reservoir and into your cup. You’ll hear loud noise of the pump trying to pass the water but nothing comes out.
While this is a common issue, it rarely happens to Nespresso machines that are being used regularly. It occurs in machines that have not been used for a period time.
If you’re bringing your machine out of the cabinet, or if you just bought it second hand, an airlock is most likely to happen.
How To Identify an Airlock Problem
Before you start fixing the problem, you have to make sure that it is indeed an airlock issue.
If an air bubble is what’s causing your Nespresso not to pump water, the first sign is you’ll hear the sound of the pump working, but no water is coming out.
If your machine has no pumping sounds, then it could be another issue.
How To Fix Nespresso Airlock Issue
There are many fixes you can try. I’ll list a few that should work for your model of Nespresso machine.
How to Fix Nespresso Vertuo Airlock
First Fix – Run a Full Cleaning Cycle
1- Fill the water reservoir to the max. Place a container under the coffee spout.
2- Open the lid. If there’s an old pod trapped inside make sure to eject it. Close the lid.
3- Make sure your machine is ready to brew. The light should be solid (White light on Vertuo Next, Green light on a VertuoPlus).
4- To start the cleaning cycle: Push the buttons 3 times within 2 seconds. The light will start blinking… it will take around 2 minutes for the process to start.
5- Because your machine is air locked, you’ll actually hear the sound of the pump trying to pull out the water. Let the machine run the cycle and eventually, water should come out.
It’s important to note that this could actually take several tries, so be persistent! If it still didn’t work, try the next fix.
Second Fix – Use Boiling Hot Water in the Reservoir
This time, you’re going to use boiling hot water to fill the reservoir. Leave the lid of the reservoir open and let it sit for a few minutes.
Now run the same cleaning cycle mentioned above. If possible, tip the machine forward while it’s running the cleaning cycle.
Sometimes, heat or perhaps steam from the hot water will work on expanding some parts, therefore making things easier.
Third Fix – Blow Air Through the Reservoir Valve
This is a very manual way to solving this issue, but it has proven a success for some users.
You’ll need a straw, preferably a thick one that could perfectly fit around the reservoir’s valve (the one in the machine where you attach the reservoir). If you can’t get a straw thick enough, you’ll want to seal around it using tape.
Now, place one end of the straw on the valve. You’ll want that valve pressed down as you try and blow air through it. Do it several times then try and press any button to see if it worked.
How To Fix Nespresso Essenza, Pixie, Inissia, Citiz and DeLonghi Lattissima Airlock
Getting rid of an air bubble inside a Nespresso OriginalLine isn’t much different than a Vertuo system. The problem is the same, and fixing it works similar, but with a few different details.
First Fix – Run a Cleaning Cycle
This is the first thing Nespresso recommends. You’ll want to run the cleaning cycle on your machine several times until the water finally comes out. It will take several tries so be patient.
1- Fill the water reservoir to the max line.
2 – With a container or cup under the spout, click on Lungo button. Let it run until it stops. At this point, nothing will come out but you just want the pump to keep trying to push water through until it finally does.
For Lattissima Machines:
Because Lattissima models have both coffee spouts and water/steam outlets, Nespresso recommends that you alternate between the Lungo button and hot water button.
The hot water and air blow fixes from the Vertuo section above also work for OriginalLine machines.
How To Prevent Nespresso Airlock Problem from Happening
If you ever plan on setting your Nespresso aside for a while, you’ll want to ‘Empty the machine’. This is a process that Nespresso recommends before a long period of non-use. It is done to get any water residue inside the machine itself, and not just the water tank. Doing that, the machine will ‘spit out’ any water in it.
How To Empty a Nespresso Vertuo Next
1- Empty the water reservoir completely and put it back in place.
2- Put a container under the coffee spout.
3- Eject any pod that could be in use. Also empty used capsule container and drip tray.
4- Unplug the machine.
5- With the lid closed, turn the handle to LOCKED position.
6- Press and hold the button WHILE plugging the electric cord. Keep holding the button until you hear the machine has started the emptying process.
This is a quick process that takes less than a minute to complete. When done, the machine will turn off automatically.
How To Empty a Nespresso Vertuo Plus
1- Empty the water reservoir, also open the lid to make sure no pod is inside.
2- Turn the machine off by pressing the lever down for three seconds.
3- Place a container under the spout.
4- While the machine is off, press the lever down for three seconds until an Orange light turns on.
5- Press the lever twice to activate the ‘Emptying system’ function.
6- To start emptying, press the button. The orange light will start blinking through the process.
When the process is over, the machine will automatically turn off.
How To Empty a Nespresso Pixie, CitiZ, Essenza Mini
1- Turn the machine OFF by pressing the espresso and lungo buttons together.
2- Remove the water reservoir from the machine.
3- Make sure no pod is in use. Close the lever and place a container under the spout.
4- Press the espresso and lungo buttons together for three seconds (5 seconds for Essenza). Buttons will start blinking and some water will start coming out.
When completed, the machine will turn off automatically.