Pressure cookers have become an essential part of everyday cooking. As they don’t have any complicated functionalities, they are quite easy to prepare.
However, in technological aspects, a pressure cooker is a bit complicated. In order ensure user-safety, they have been equipped with different safety features – among them safety valve is a crucial one.
In this article, we will be covering all the aspects of safety valve in a pressure cooker that included its problems and solutions as well.
And lets first start with the main question – what is a safety valve in pressure cooker?
Pressure cookers have to deal with a lot of steam pressure in the cooking process. At some point, it has to release the excess steam to prevent the cooker from blowing up or exploding.
This release happens through the safety valve that holds weight. When the pressure is too high, it lifts the weight and steam escapes through making a buzz sound.
If this safety precaution fails for any reason, then the steam builds up without releasing and can lead to dangerous explosion.
How Exactly Does a Pressure Cooker’s Safety Valve Works?
Usually, a pressure cooker comes with two in-built valves for releasing the pressure inside the appliance.
One of them is a classic whistle with pressure regulating valve and another is pressure regular valve present a little away from the first one. It is fixed onto the cooker lid and made from synthetic rubber like hardened viton or neoprene which helps in maintaining the pressure and good seal.
When the pressure inside the cooker increases, the inner part of safety valve will sense the elevation. And when it exceeds the normal levels, the rubber will start to melt and disc will lift.
This creates an outlet that lets the high-pressure steam escape into the air from the inside of the cooker.
Once the excess pressure is released, the disk goes back into its position. And the safety valve will open only when other means of steam release have failed as a last resort to prevent any explosion.
Possible Causes for Steam Coming Out from Safety Valve
Pressure or steam release doesn’t always mean danger. It mostly indicates some dysfunctions that need attention. We have mentioned some of the possibilities below for your reference.
- Blocked or damaged regulating valve – Sometimes the safety valve can be clogged or blocked due to dust, food particles, and grease.
- Damaged gasket – Usually, a rubber ring is present to seal the cooker. When there is a damage to it or if placed unevenly, it can compromise the cooker seal and let the pressure escape through the safety valve.
- Overfilled pressure cooker – If the appliance is filled up with food ingredients without any space left for the steam, then this can block the regulating valve due to food expansion or foaming.
- Due to wear and tear, older pressure cookers can open up the safety valve.
- If the pressure cooker is made from cheap quality and from on an unknown brand, then they are a safety hazard as they compromise on the protection and health of a consumer. They often have low-quality safety valve which malfunctions easily and lead the steam to escape.
- When the food and water quantity is little and water boils away, this can result in burnt and empty cooker. And the temperature gets too hot very quickly, leading to break down of the safety valve.
- If the pressure cooker is placed over a larger burner and on a high flame, then the flame starts licking the sides of the appliances, leading to high temperature build up and damaging the safety valve.
- Not cleaning the pressure cooker regularly can lead to clogs in the pressure regulating valve and this lets the safety valve to emit the steam from the cooker.
- Some of the models come with a manual setting sealing feature. In such case, never forget to turn them on or else the steam takes safety valve for escape.
Is it Possible to use the Pressure Cooker When the Safety Valve is Broken?
The answer to this question is actually both no and yes. But we highly recommend ‘NO’. safety valves are present in a pressure cooker for a reason.
If there isn’t a safety valve, then cooking in it can lead to dangerous consequences.
This can be avoided by just replacing the damaged safety valve. You have to remember that health is more important than saving a coupe of bucks.
Can we Repair the Pressure Cooker’s Safety Valve?
If you suspect the pressure cooker is not because of the safety valve, then the first thing is to take the appliance to the nearest service centre. You can use the cooker without the lid on but it is better to avoid using it with the lid until you get it repaired.
Can we Replace the Pressure Cooker’s Safety Valve?
Yes, it is possible to replace safety valve of a pressure cooker. And moreover, it is recommended to replace it if the valve is out of friction or damaged.
Replacing the safety valve can be done in two methods – one includes changing it from inside and another from the outside. Below are the clear instructions for the same.
- Replacing from the outside – You have to insert a blunt knife and turn the screw into the hole from outside. Make sure to hold the screw on the inside while doing it. Turn the knife by turning the screw which loosens it up eventually.
- Replacing the from the inside – Using a tong or wrench, you have to turn the screw completely to remove it.
Once the old and damages safety valve is replaced, you have to screw back the new one in its place.
For some models, you may have to remove the handle for accessing the actual valve. It depends on the model of pressure cooker you have.
Tips to Avoid Steam Coming From a Safety Valve
- Make sure the pressure cooker is filled up to only 2/3 full and the rest of 1/3 part has to be empty so that the foods have enough space to swell and foam.
- It is important to add adequate amount of liquid into the pressure pot. If not, the water runs out quickly, cause rapid heat increase and lead to explosion. Not to say that burns caused food burns as well.
- You have to check the pressure regulating valve and safety valve before hang. It has to be clean and free from any cracks or damages.
- Never place cooker on large flames as they engulf the walls and create temperature inside too quickly.
- Always purchase pressure cookers from trust-worthy reliable brands. Because quality is an important aspect which cannot be taken lightly.
- Avoid washing them in a dishwasher as it can affect sensitive parts like gasket and safety valves.
- Make sure you properly place the gasket and lid with correct alignment. If the rubber gasket is loose, it is better to replace it.
- Never use strong chemicals or apply too much pressure while cleaning pressure cookers as the rings and valve can get damaged.
- Handwash it immediately after cooking with light detergent or baking soda vinegar is the best solution.
To maintain the pressure cooker longevity and prevent any disasters, it is important to check the safety valve and gasket on a regular basis. If there is any damage, getting it repaired or replacing is very important. Safety valve in a pressure cooker plays a very significant role.
We believe any questions and doubts about the safety valve has been clarified by the information present in this article. If it hasn’t then, write them to us in the comment section below.