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Troubleshooting A Percolator

Percolators are very similar to modern coffee makers and serve the same function: to brew coffee and tea. The devices are shaped like pitchers with a cord that plugs into an electrical outlet. Just as with all other household appliances, percolators can begin to experience problems. Before you can fix the problem, perform some percolator troubleshooting to identify what the problem actually is. Most percolator repairs are basic enough for you to identify and remedy at home and without professional assistance.

Percolators are similar to coffee makers and perform the same function.

Step 1

Brew a pitcher of coffee and then pour some out into a white bowl or coffee cup. If you see small particles of coffee grinds floating in the liquid, you are using the wrong type of coffee. Only use coffee grinds specified for percolators, since percolators have larger basket holes that finer grinds can slip through.

Step 2

Disassemble the percolator and examine the metal parts for a white buildup, which is calcium and occurs in areas with hard water. If calcium builds up on the appliance, remove it by placing 6 cups of water in the tank and 2 tbsp. of cream of tarter in the basket. Run the percolator through a cycle and rinse it out.

Step 3

Alter the water temperature if the coffee flavor is too weak. Only fill percolators with cold water that is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer water creates a weaker flavor.

Step 4

Reduce the amount of water you add if the percolator overflows while running. To identify the proper amount of water, open the percolator and remove the basket. Look inside the tank for a maximum fill line printed on the rear vertical tube. Do not exceed this amount of water.

Step 5

Check the electrical cord if the percolator does not begin brewing within five to 10 seconds of turning it on. Push the base of the cord into the base of the tank firmly with your fingers and ensure the plug end is securely inside the electrical outlet. If the percolator still does not turn on, the electrical components are bad.

Step 6

Unclog the percolator tube if the unit turns on but does not brew coffee. Shut off the device and remove the lid and basket. Insert a narrow brush or knife into the tube all the way to the bottom to dislodge the clog. Prevent clogs by covering the tube with your hand while inserting coffee grinds.

Things You Will Need

  • White bowl or mug
  • Cream of tarter
  • Narrow brush or knife

Warning

  • Never plug in and run a percolator when it is empty, since this can damage the heating element and may not be repairable.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images