Like all other kitchen appliances, pressure cookers may fail to function properly for different reasons. This may interfere with the entire cooking process thereby making cooking a frustrating task. Although checking the user manual for troubleshooting problems can help, sometimes you may need more than just theory to get the job done. Fortunately, quite a number of pressure cooker problems can easily be fixed without the need for professional help. The next time your appliance stops functioning as it is supposed to, this guide on how to fix all sorts of pressure cooker problems should help you.
Many users experience this problem. It is usually caused by either a damaged or dirty gasket. You find that there is just too much steam leaking from the lid thereby preventing any pressure build up which eventually hampers the entire cooking process. Although your appliance may end up reaching the desired pressure, it takes a lot of time to do so, and when it finally does, it cannot actually contain the pressure for the required amount of time.
To solve this problem, the user needs to ensure the gasket of the cooker is perfectly fixed. The rim of the gasket should be free from any food residue or cracks along it. But if it has some food residue, carefully clean it with cold water and then put it back correctly.
Sometimes the lid may not seal properly or you may have difficulty trying to open it even after you have turned the stove off. One reason why the lid may not seal is because of dirty rims when the lid is placed on. Pressure being dropped too fast can also lead to this problem. So always ensure the rims are clean before placing hot lids on them and never drop the pressure of the cooker artificially.
On the other hand, difficulty in opening the lid is usually caused by excess internal pressure building up within the cooker. In case the pressure release is not adequate, the lid will eventually get tight and remain jammed. Fortunately, fixing this problem is as easy as learning how to use the appliance. You just need to pour cold water onto the lid and the excess pressure will be released thereby loosening up the grip of the lid. But in case this method fails to work, remove the pressure cooker valve and allow the cooker to heat on high.
Another common problem with this kitchen appliance is when it fails to build up adequate pressure. This is usually as a result of either worn-out gasket or old pressure valve that has lost its effectiveness. So check the gasket for any wear and replace it immediately. The gasket needs to always be replaced after every 18 months to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness. While installing a new gasket ensure you do it the right way. If the gasket is in good condition then consider replacing the valve if it is damaged or too old (more than 18 months old). But before replacing it, ensure it is well positioned because it needs to be properly secured in order to create enough pressure build-up and maintain constant pressure. Also make sure the valve is always clean before preparing any food using the cooker.
Water oozing out via the pressure valve or even vapors escaping along the lid’s rim is another common issue that most users face. As a first time pressure cooker user it may seem dangerous but actually it is very normal so you should not be bothered. It is even more normal if you are using an appliance with pressure regulating weights because such cookers usually drip-out water during pressure build-up process.
But in case your appliance is letting out to much vapor and there are traces of food particles in the vent pipe, then you should be alarmed. So to fix this problem, ensure you thoroughly and regularly clean both the pressure valves as well as the vent pipe to remove any debris.
In some cases, the food may take way too long than it is supposed to properly cook. There are different reasons why you may experience this problem. First, when you fill the appliance with either too much food or even water. To fix this always check the instructions manual for guidelines. Loosely-held cooker lid or handles may also cause inadequate pressure build up in the cooker thereby leading to more time needed to fully cook the food. So before using your cooker to prepare your favorite dish, always check the lid and handles of the cooker to ensure they are correctly placed.
Sometimes your pressure cooker may build up enough pressure but fails to maintain the desired level of pressure needed. If the valve is not closed properly, this problem may occur so always ensure the valve is well secured. Turning down the heat too soon or too low (in the case of a stove-top cooker) before the cooker has build up enough pressure can also be a potential cause of this problem. So use the instruction manual to know exactly when to turn down the heat. You may also check for any worn out gasket and have it fixed or replaced depending on how bad it is damaged.