Instant pot steam coming out of float valve

Here are the best instant pot steam coming out of float valve topics edited and compiled by us

Whether it’s your Instant Pot not sealing, error codes, burn message, or leaking steam, find out how to troubleshoot common Instant Pot problems encountered by beginners and experienced users.

How to solve Instant Pot Common Problems

I’ve owned a few Instant Pots over the years and I’ve learned a thing or two about them. Through my blog and on social media, I hear from owners who ask for help with various problems with their Instant Pot.

In this article, I share with you a list of common Instant Pot problems and how to solve them.

Table of Contents

Instant Pot Terminology

Here are some of the parts that I refer to throughout this article.[Please note that when I refer to the Duo vs Ultra, I’m also referring to other models that have the same style of lid. e.g. The Duo Plus, Lux, Duo SV have a lid similar to the Duo. The Duo Nova, Duo Gourmet, Duo Crisp have a lid similar to the Ultra.]

Instant Pot Problems - Duo: arrows pointing to float valve and steam release handle, Ultra: arrows pointing to steam release handle, float valve, steam release button - Paint the Kitchen Red

1. Instant Pot is Not Sealing | Instant Pot is Not Building Pressure

This is one of the most common Instant Pot problems encountered by new owners.

If your Instant Pot is not sealing, here are the more common issues:

Sealing

But that’s not all – there are many more reasons. I’ve written a whole article dedicated to this topic!

Find out why your Instant Pot is not sealing and what you can do to fix this problem.

[Read More: Reasons your Instant Pot is Not Sealing]

2. Instant Pot is Leaking Steam

It’s normal to have small amounts of steam escape from the steam release handle/valve and float valve while pressure is building.

Particularly if you’re making a recipe with a lot of liquid, like a soup, your Instant Pot will take time to come to pressure.

There will be small amounts of steam coming out until the Instant Pot is pressurized and the float valve is up. There’s no need for concern; it’s not a problem.

However if your Instant Pot continues leaking steam, you may have a problem.

Instant Pot Problems steam leaking Paint the Kitchen Red
Instant Pot Ultra Remove Float valve -Paint the Kitchen Red
Instant Pot Ultra Steam - Paint the Kitchen Red

3. Float Valve Won’t Go Up | Float Valve is Stuck

Instant Pot float valve up and down for duo and ultra - Paint the Kitchen Red
  • You might think your float valve is stuck. But is it, really? Different models of the Instant Pot have different positions that the float valve can be in when sealed. (See above image)
  • Examine your Instant Pot lid and note where the normal/down position is when the lid is not on. Some models have a red-colored float valve.
  • If your float valve is in fact stuck in the ‘up’ position, it could be due to debris or stickiness from food. Use a long spoon or chopstick to gently push down on the float valve.
  • If your float valve is stuck in the ‘down’ position, it’s probably because your Instant Pot is having trouble sealing. See Problem #1.

4. Instant Pot is Taking Too Long to Cook Food

Total Cook Time = Time to Come to Pressure + Pressure Cooking Time + Time for Natural Release of Pressure (NPR)

For example, if a recipe says to pressure cook for 10 minutes, the Instant Pot can take from 5 to 15 minutes to come to pressure. Pressure cooking takes 10 minutes, and naturally releasing pressure can take another 5 to 20 minutes.

The quantity and density of liquid and food in the Instant Pot determines how long the Instant Pot takes to come to pressure and to release pressure.

So why use the Instant Pot? First, you don’t have to watch the stove. You can even leave the house.

Second, it’s one-pot cooking: you don’t have to mess up a bunch of pots and pans; you also get all your cooking done without dirtying your stove!

Third, the Instant Pot takes less time to cook meats, grains, and legumes, hands-down. You can cut down on cooking time even further by cutting up your meat into smaller pieces.

For example, if you pressure cook a large chunk of pork shoulder, pressure cooking time is 90 minutes. Cutting up the pork into smaller chunks, can reduce the pressure cook time to 45 minutes, and cutting them into bite-size pieces can reduce the pressure cooking time further, to 15 minutes.

5. Instant Pot Display Says ‘burn’

Instant Pot Display Says Burn - Paint the Kitchen Red

If you’re a new Instant Pot owner, the ‘burn’ message is a problem you’ll have at one point or another. There are many reasons for the ‘burn’ error.

It all comes down to the fact that the Instant Pot is overheating. Here are some of the ways you can prevent this issue:

  • Make sure there’s enough liquid and that it has reached the bottom of the inner pot.
  • Allow the Instant Pot to cool down after using the ‘Saute’ function.
  • Use the layering technique to prevent scorching: layer starches like pasta and rice, tomato products (e.g. tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree), and dense sauces (e.g. alfredo sauce) on top of other ingredients and don’t stir.
  • Always deglaze the inner pot after you’ve used the ‘Saute’ function. This means that after sauteeing your food, add a couple of tablespoons of liquid and scrape up the brown bits so there’s nothing stuck on the bottom.

But that’s not all. I’ve written a comprehensive article on the ‘burn’ error, what causes it, how to avoid it and how to salvage your meal.

[Read More: Instant Pot Burn Message]

6. Instant Pot Won’t Come to Pressure When Making Recipes With Tomato Products or Store-Bought Sauces

This is another common problem Instant Pot owners have. Tomato products (e.g. tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree) in the pressure cooker can be tricky. Tomato products can be thick and dense and may contain sugar which leads to scorching.

Many store-bought sauces (e.g. alfredo sauce) have a high content of sugar, or fillers like corn starch or flour which can also cause scorching. One common outcome is the ‘Burn’ error.

[Read More: Instant Pot Burn Message]

Here are some things you can do to prevent the problem:

  • Layer these sauces on top without stirring.
  • Thin sauces with water or broth, to make them less dense.
  • Use Pot in Pot method of cooking.[Read More: Secrets to Pot in Pot Cooking]

7. Instant Pot Display Won’t Turn On | Instant Pot is Dead

Instant Pot plug power cord into base unit - Paint the Kitchen Red

There are a few common reasons your display isn’t turning on.

  • If your Instant Pot has a detachable cord, it might be loose. Check the cord and make sure it’s pushed in all the way.
  • Your outlet may be faulty. Try plugging the Instant Pot into another outlet.
  • It’s possible that an Instant Pot fuse needs to be replaced, possibly faulty due to a power surge or other electrical issue. Create a support ticket with Instant Pot customer service.
  • Also, try out the hack mentioned in Instant Pot Problem #19.

8. Instant Pot Display Screen is Showing Error Code

If your Instant Pot display screen starts blinking with an error code, here are the common codes (which can vary by Instant Pot model) and how to troubleshoot.

Instant Pot Error Codes:

VentSeal

Remember to keep your receipt in case of manufacturer errors. The company is pretty good about helping people identify the problem and even sending out replacements.

9. Recipes Mention ‘Cook on Manual’ and You Don’t Have ‘Manual’ Mode

Instant Pot Duo panel for older vs newer models with Manual and Pressure Cook circled - Paint the Kitchen Red

Some (older) versions of the Instant Pot DUO have the ‘Manual’ button rather than ‘Pressure Cook’. Many recipes that are posted online are created by people who own the older version.

If a recipe refers to ‘Manual’ mode, use ‘Pressure Cook’ mode instead. It’s the same thing.

10. Chime is Annoying | How to Turn Chime Off

I love that chime, but I know many people don’t like it because it disturbs others or its irritating. Here’s how you turn it off.

  • Instant Pot LUX, DUO: Press and hold the ‘-‘ button for 3 seconds to turn off sound. Press and hold the ‘+’ button for 3 seconds to turn sound back on.
  • Instant Pot ULTRA: Press the knob for 5 seconds. In the menu, SOUND will be highlighted. Press the knob to select SOUND. Turn the knob to select ‘OFF’ (it will be blinking). Press Start to confirm your selection

11. There Are So Many Buttons and Functions That it’s Confusing to Use

Yes, there are many functions, which are basically just presets, as you would have on your microwave.

For example, the Soup function is preset to cook for 30 minutes at high pressure. The Meat/Stew function is preset to cook for 35 minutes at high pressure.

However, you don’t need to use the presets. You can use the Pressure Cook function and set the pressure cooking time. As a matter of fact, you can get by with using just a few functions/buttons (varies by model):

  • Pressure Cook (also called Manual on some models)
  • Saute
  • Keep Warm
  • Cancel
  • Start

Barbara over at Pressure Cooking Today has one of the most comprehensive guides that cover most of the models: Which Instant Pot Buttons to Use.

12. Instant Pot Lid Smells | Sealing Ring Smells

Instant Pot Sealing Rings - one red and one blue

The sealing ring is made of silicone and it will retain the odors of whatever you last cooked (and more!)

There are many ways to try and remove the odors (e.g. keep it out in sunlight, soak it in denture cleanser, use lemon juice, vinegar, etc), and I’ve tried them all. They work okay but the odors don’t ever completely go away.

Personally, I don’t really find that the odor from the sealing ring transfers to whatever dish I’m cooking. So I don’t worry about the smell unless I’m making a dessert.

I have a second sealing ring for desserts. You can purchase sealing rings in multi-colored packs which helps you remember which one is used for sweet or savory dishes.

Instant Pot Lid Stored Upside Down - Paint the Kitchen Red

One thing you should never do is store the Instant Pot closed, with the sealing ring in the lid. I always store my lid upside down on the unit. This helps with reducing odors.

13. Inner Pot/Liner Has Rainbow Stains | How to Remove Stains

Instant Pot Clean Inner Pot Collage - dirty, barkeepers friend being poured in, being cleaned, clean - Paint the Kitchen Red

Sometimes your inner pot (liner) can get a rainbow or blue-purple stain especially when the pot is overheated. This happens to stainless steel pots, in general.

Barkeeper’s Friend is my favorite product for cleaning my Instant Pot inner pot. I use it to clean all my stainless steel pots and my kitchen sink.

You can get Barkeeper’s Friend in powder or liquid form. I prefer the liquid. Be sure to shake it up before using it.

14. Meats are Dry and Tough

One of the most common complaints I hear from new Instant Pot users is that they pressure cook meat or chicken and it comes out dry and tough.

Chicken breasts, pork chops, beef tenderloin don’t do as well in the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is best for meats that have a higher fat-content like chicken thighs, pork shoulder, beef chuck.

Pressure cooking a boneless, chicken breast in the Instant Pot may not give you the best or ideal results. Using chicken breast with skin and bone will give you better results, because of the fat content.

Some newer Instant Pots come with the Sous Vide smart program. If you have that functionality, you’ll be able to make perfectly cooked tender and moist chicken breast.

[Read More: How to Use the Instant Pot Sous Vide Smart Program]

Another key to preventing meats from becoming dry is to use Natural Pressure Release (NPR). Allow the float valve to go down on its own.

This allows the meat to rest, the fibers to relax and the juices to be re-absorbed into the meat rather than evaporating. This applies particularly to meat that is not immersed in liquid (like soups, stews, curries, and gravies.

Finally, contrary to a lot of advice about pressure cookers, more is not always better when it comes to meat. Meat becomes tender in about one-third the time it takes for conventional cooking. Pressure cooking meat for too long can cause it to become dry and tough.

As meat overcooks, the muscle fibers are depleted of fat and juices. To salvage the meat from this stage, you can cook the meat even further until it breaks down to the point it’s falling apart. You’ll lose flavor and nutrients, but you’ll have tender meat!

Laura from Hip Pressure Cooking has some great articles including Choosing the Right Cut of Meat.

15. Placed Instant Pot on Stove and the Instant Pot Bottom Melted

Instant Pot Placed on Stove and Bottom Burned - Paint the Kitchen Red

My thanks to Dale Falconer for providing the above photographs

Believe it or not, this is a common problem! Many people leave their Instant Pots on the stovetop thinking that as long as they don’t turn on the burner, they’ll be fine.

But the problem is that someone in the household accidentally turns on the burner or the Instant Pot is placed close to an adjacent burner that’s turned on.

If this happens to you, I suggest you get a replacement unit because you don’t want to take a chance with the circuitry being damaged.

There are a few places you can go to for Instant Pot spare parts including base units, lids, valves:

  • The Instant Pot company website: Replacement parts (Disclosure: if you purchase from the site, I will receive a small commission)
  • Instant Pot Facebook group for parts: Instant Pot Parts Swap or Sale
  • ebay.com

16. Accidentally Poured Liquid into Instant Pot but Forgot to Put in Inner Pot/Liner

Hard to believe, but forgetting to put in the inner pot and accidentally pouring liquid into the Instant Pot base unit is a common problem!

People wash the inner pot in the dishwasher and forget to put it back in the Instant Pot base unit before cooking.

If this happens to you, don’t panic! According to the Instant Pot Company, here’s what you can do for water or food spills:

  • Unplug the Instant Pot right away!
  • Wipe the inside of the Instant Pot base unit and heating element with a dry cloth to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
  • Place the base unit upside down to let all the liquid drain out of the cooker base.
  • There is a plastic vent cover on the bottom of the base that you can take off by unscrewing the screws.
  • While you have the cover off, please be gentle with the wires and circuitry.
  • Try to carefully reach up into the cooker housing to see if you can remove any food debris (if necessary).
  • Clean and dry everything as much as possible for 72 hours. Use a fan to speed up the drying out.
  • Put everything back together, insert the inner pot and plug the unit in.
  • If it turns on, attempt to heat 2 cups of water in ‘Saute’ mode.
  • If that test is successful, do a water test to check if the Instant Pot is working. If it is, you’re all set.
  • If at any point, there is a burning smell, turn the unit off and unplug it. Create a support ticket with Instant Pot customer service.
  • If you can’t get the Instant Pot to turn on and successfully complete a water test, it’s probably time to get another Instant Pot. *

If oil spilled into the base unit, you can attempt to turn the pot upsidedown to allow it to drip out. However, there is no safe way to determine if it’s safe to use or not. Turning on the pot even to test would be a fire hazard.

* There are a few places you can go to for Instant Pot spare parts:

  • The Instant Pot company website: Replacement parts (Disclosure: if you purchase from the site, I will receive a small commission)
  • Instant Pot Facebook group for parts: Instant Pot Parts Swap or Sale
  • ebay.com

The best way to prevent this problem is to put something in the base unit while the inner pot is out that will help you remember to replace the inner pot (e.g. a long wooden spoon or ladle).

17. Upper Kitchen Cabinets are Getting Damaged

Instant Pot Problems - instant pot on counter but away from cabinets, steam release facing the side - Paint the Kitchen Red

When the Instant Pot is placed on the countertop, the steam release can shoot straight up toward the upper cabinets.

Many people solve this problem by placing their Instant Pot on the stovetop. But this can cause even bigger issues. See Instant Pot Problem #15 above.

What I do is I carefully turn the Instant Pot so that the steam release opening is toward the front or side and this allows the steam to be directed away from my upper cabinets.

Just be very careful when doing a quick release (QR); keep your hands and face away from the flow of steam!

Another solution is to use the Instant Pot on a side table or cart, away from the cabinets.

18. Instant Pot Says On But No Timer

Recently, a number of readers have reported this problem and I myself experienced it the other day for the first time. The Instant Pot display says On and the float valve comes up but it never starts counting down, but the food gets cooked.

If this happens to you, after the float valve comes up, just set a separate timer for the desired cook time and press Cancel when the time is up. Do a pressure release according to your recipe and continue as usual. [Read More: Instant Pot Natural Release or Quick Release?]

Clean out the Instant Pot thoroughly and do a water test and most likely you’ll find out that it was a one-time problem. If the problem persists, you might want to contact Instant Pot Support and open a ticket.

In my case, I have a suspicion it could have been too little liquid when I was cooking my Instant Pot Boiled Eggs. But that’s just a guess.

If your Instant Pot says On and your float valve does not go up, then you probably have an issue with the Instant Pot sealing. [Read more: Reasons Why Your Instant Pot is Not Sealing]

19. Instant Pot Keypad is Unresponsive. Instant Pot Buttons Don’t Work.

First, check the power supply: make sure your Instant Pot plug is pushed into the outlet all the way and if you have a detachable power cord, make sure it’s pushed into the Instant Pot base unit properly.

Once you’ve checked the power supply, if you’re still having the issue it’s worth trying out this a solution from one of my readers that actually works for some people. Thank you for sharing this hack, David!

If the issue persists, your keypad’s electronics/circuit board is likely faulty. You will probably need to contact Instant Pot Support and open a ticket.

If you found this article to be helpful, please share it on social media using the social media share buttons at the top and bottom of this post. Thank you so much!

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