Intro: Keurig Reservoir Hack
Are you tired of having to constantly refill your Keurig water reservoir after drinking but a mere pittance of the amount of coffee you intend to drink in the morning?
Are you wasting precious time and energy waiting on your slow refrigerator water dispenser to fill up a large cup and then having to go through the added effort of transferring the contents of that cup to your Keurig reservoir several times all while making a mess? Is the refill light on your Keurig constantly going off even though you're pretty sure you could get at least a half a cup more from what you see left in there?
Never fear, the solution is here!
Never, ever, ever, have to refill your Keurig water reservoir, ever.
Drink All The Coffee!!!
(warning, your K-cup bill will increase significantly with this mod)
Step 1: Buy All of the Stuff
You will need the following items:
1) Plastic waterline tubing (or copper if you want to get fancy) of a sufficient length for your location. My water line was 1/4" diameter, most are, be sure.
2) An aquarium float valve. I got mine off ebay for $7
3) 1 compression T or 3-way connector (1/4")
4) 1 (optional) shutoff valve because: life
5) drill, drill bits, teflon tape, epoxy, sandpaper or emory cloth, marker, masking tape, a wrench or two and a cheap tube cutter
Note: I bought a spare reservoir on ebay for my project because I didn't know if it would work. It has worked great for nearly six months now but if you think you may make a mistake on drilling you can pick one up on ebay. You really just need the lid.
Step 2: Put It Together
I made this instructable several months after doing the project so just bear with me.
First measure the closest tie in to a water line. Mine was close to the refrigerator, but I also could have connected to a waterline for the sink in the adjacent the bathroom, view all your options. Most homes have tons of options, you could always move your machine too. I wanted access to the refrigerator water. If your tubing diameter is larger than 1/4" on the line you intend to connect to, just ask some of the plumbing people at your local hardware store. It isn't difficult.
Float valves operate by a float (hence the name) rising to a certain level with the water while moving the lever to shut off the flow. There is one in the back of your toilet tank if you are unfamiliar with the operation.
Remove the lid from your reservoir and turn it upside down. Mark a point on a piece of tape on the bottom of the lid where the float won't catch on the sides of the reservoir container. This is a tiny bit tricky because of the size of the float I bought and the odd shape of the reservoir. I plan to eventually replace the float with a ping-pong ball but isn't necessary. Measure twice just to be sure. Once you mark where your hole will be on the tape, put an additional piece of tape on the top of the lid and then go get your drill.
This is important. Plastic will shatter. Be sure to drill with the lid upside down and resting on a small piece of wood or similar (easy because that is where your mark is). Be sure to start with a small bit then slowly move up to the needed size to put the threads through. If you start with the large size but you are very likely to crack the plastic, take your time. Once you have your hole, clean the edges off and then push your float through and loosely tighten the little ring nut that came with your float (or buy one if it didn't) so that the float is attached to the lid. Now take your reservoir and lid to the sink to test it by filling it with water. You can adjust your float valve. Ideally it shuts off just a bit before the top and definitely before the little "U" shaped indentation in the reservoir. Then, pour out the water and take your lid/float combo over to where your Keurig is.
Turn off your water!
(Your shutoff may be in the house or in the yard depending on where you plan to tie in) This isn't a difficult thing to do, just turn the valve off.
Scuff the end of your tubing (very important) and then take your compression nut and push it over the unattached end of the tubing that will attach to the float on the top of the lid, it will be a tight fit. Next, push a nipple into the tubing as far as you can (this will also be a tight fit), then bring the nut down from where you pushed it, over the nipple. Wrap the threads on the portion of the float valve that is sticking through the lid with a small amount of teflon tape (clockwise) and then attach the nut to the float threads. This sounds confusing but it's really easy and will make sense when you have your parts.
Choose where you plan to tie in to your water line and make a single cut with your tube cutter on the existing line and then cut off any excess from your new line from the lid (I left plenty of slack. Also, you did you make sure your water is off right?).
The tube cutter I chose is very inexpensive and not well made. Take your time when cutting the tube/water line. Tightent the cutter just enough to spin it around the water line tube with your hand but not enough to bind it. If it binds, cut it further down the line. Squishing the tube will make inserting the nipple very difficult. I also recommend using a bucket from this point on if you are tapping into an existing line since there will be some water left in the line even after you shut it off.
Install the three way connector by scuffing all ends of the line you are connecting to with the sandpaper, then pushing the nut up the tube, then inserting the nipples into the tube ends as far as they will go, just like we did earlier. Wrap some teflon tape around threads and then bring the nuts down and screw them onto the threads. I connected my plastic line to copper, it works fine either way, just be sure to scuff all of the tubing that the nut will go over.
I installed a failsafe shutoff valve between the new coffee water line and the T connector just in case I had to remove it or something. I haven't used it until editing this tutorial for an easier read. It worked great and I highly recommend it as a failsafe. Install this valve the same way as the other compression fittings and make sure the valve is open (left loose/open, right tight/close)
Finally, tighten everything down very tight. When you tighten the nut to the float, first tighten the nut to the float, then make whatever slight adjustments are needed to the orientation of the float and tighten the collar/ring nut to the lid snug but not tight enough to break your lid, it is easier to use two wrenches. I also put some epoxy on the keruig lid fitting but it isn't necessary since the water doesn't rise that high. If you have drips it is because you didn't sand your lines enough to create slip or the fittings are loose, sand the tube some more (you may have to turn off the water again) and then retighten.
Step 3: Congratulations! Now How About a Nice Cup of Coffee?
I hung my tube up under my cabinets. There are several possibilities to make the hack look better but the size of the float and the odd shape of the reservoir mandated that the attachment come from the top of the reservoir. You want a flat and good fit. In future I may have a vac molded reservoir designed for a more compact design.
Congratulations! You now have an automatic coffee reservoir refiller!