Uh oh! Your pressure cooker’s safety valve melted. Take that as a warning sign. When the safety valve melts, the trapped steam tried to escape through the safety vent. Left unchecked, your pressure cooker could explode, shooting scalding hot water and food in every direction.
People have died or been maimed because of exploding pressure cookers. Don’t ignore a melted safety valve because it signals danger.
How to Fix a Melted Pressure Cooker Safety Valve
First, you need to learn what caused the safety valve to melt. You can’t replace the pressure cooker safety valve without pinpointing the cause because you will simply melt a second one.
Some of the most common causes of a melted pressure cooker safety valve include:
- Blocked steam vent
- Damage to the pressure cooker
- Oil added to the pressure cooker
- Overfilled pressure cooker with food
- Lack of maintenance
Any one of these things can cause your pressure cooker to overheat, and this sends the steam shooting out from the safety valve melting it. You need to understand why it melted because if it happened from damaged equipment, you risk having it happen again. Identify the cause and fix what caused it. If it happened because you overfilled the pressure cooker, never fill it more than two-thirds full.
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Most Important Safety Component
Never operate a pressure cooker with a melted safety valve. You need to replace it because it lowers the risk that it will explode. In fact, without it, the safety valve could suddenly burst without warning.
When the valve’s nozzle senses increased temperature, the disk in the valve lifts to release the excess steam. Once the pressure in the container decreases, the disk drops back down to close the outlet. A melted safety valve indicates that dangerous levels of steam and pressure exited the valve.
How to Keep the Safety Valve from Melting
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. First, avoid doing the things that we mentioned above. Second, clean the safety valve every so often to maintain it. This goes a long way to making sure that it lasts for years. You should also inspect the safety valve every six to 12 months.
To clean the safety valve, pour hot water over it and scrub the valve after a few minutes. Gently scrub black stains from the valve with 3 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with water. You will use vinegar to eliminate mineral deposits because the acid wipes it clean.
Inspect the safety valve at the end of each use to see that it remains in good condition. Replace the safety valve if you see signs of cracking or brittleness. For maximum safety, you should check the safety valve, but you need to check the other parts too like the gasket and the pressure regulator.
Safety Valve Melted: What Do You Do?
Whether your safety valve melted or shows signs of damage, you need to replace it as soon as possible. Pressure cooker safety valves don’t cost much running between $2 to $17. You could even pick up a spare in case one breaks, which means that you can replace it right away without interruption.
After a pressure cooker safety valve melts, you can replace it using one of two methods. You can either replace the valve from the inside or the outside.
To replace it on the outside, use a screwdriver to turn the screw. Hold the screw on the inside to keep it from twisting. This will remove the melted valve. You will take the valve and toss it in the garbage because you won’t need it anymore. Next, take a cotton swab and dab the area with the cotton to eliminate debris that you may have left behind.
Provided you already troubleshot what caused the valve to melt, you can simply put the new valve into the pressure cooker.
Let’s say that you want to replace the safety from the inside. Take a wrench and unscrew the safety valve from the inside. You might still use the screwdriver on the outside to hold the screw and keep it from twisting. Once you release it, use the cotton swab and replace the valve.
Don’t over-tighten the valve when you screw it back in. Use the minimum hand tight to put it back into place.
Important to note: The safety valve disk of your pressure cooker should move freely. Check this beforehand because it ensures safe operation. Along with that, the valve should point away from you and not toward you.
Replace the Melted Safety Valve Right Away
Some people may wonder if they can wait to replace the safety valve. Don’t wait. Pressure cooker safety valves don’t cost much to replace, and they serve as one of the most important safety features of a pressure cooker. Never forgetting this device’s infamous reputation for exploding, pressure cookers need a safety valve to keep you safe. You don’t want the pressure cooker to explode without warning.
When the pressure cooker’s safety valve goes out, it gives you an advanced warning. Without it, you’d have no way to tell. Most modern pressure cookers will turn on the safety valve light once steam exits it as another warning. You can use that to lower the temperature before the safety valve would melt, causing an explosion.
Redundant Safety Valves: Do I Need to Replace Them?
Let’s say that one of your safety valves melted, but because you bought a modern pressure cooker, most come with two or three safety valves. The multiple redundancies protect your pressure cooker from exploding. Even if one or two of the safety valves blow out, you still have one more place to release the excess steam.
If one of the safety valves melts, we would always advise that you replace it right away because one extra safety valve can mean the difference between an explosion and avoiding catastrophe. Take proactive measures and don’t wait until danger knocks on your doorstep. Even with the redundancies, pressure cookers still pose a danger if you don’t address them.
The other thing is that once a safety valve melts, it leaves a vent open that will prevent your pressure cooker from building up steam in the future.
Respect Your Pressure Cooker
Provided you take the right precautions, most pressure cookers won’t threaten your safety any more than a stove would. Proper maintenance and usage prevent the pressure cooker from ever melting the safety valve or causing an explosion.
Along with the safety valve, check to see that the pressure regulator works well. The pressure regulator controls the pressure cooker’s internal pressure to reach a fixed maximum. It works in partnership with the safety valve.
Most pressure cooker regulators will operate on two thresholds. You want this to work because it maintains the pressure within the cooker.
Designed to Melt for a Warning
Did you know that when the pressure cooker safety valve melts, it does this to provide a warning? As intimidating as it might sound, manufacturers added this feature purposely through the right design. The safety valve uses a low melting point alloy. This lets the steam escape through a vent to drop the pressure without causing an explosion.
In fact, if you see a melted safety valve, it means that you averted a crisis through the valve melting. That is why these safety features matter so much.
Class action lawsuits against pressure cooker companies exist because of how many people suffered injuries from them. To give you an idea about a class-action lawsuit means that 20 people or more filed a lawsuit against a company. This means that at least 20 people were injured because of pressure cookers, but that number can stretch into hundreds of cases.
New Models Protect You Better
We wouldn’t advise that you use an old pressure cooker. Even if it came from a deceased relative that you cared deeply about, outdated pressure cookers don’t have the same safety features to protect.
Hence, they explode more often, and back in the 1950s, you often heard of them exploding. Most modern pressure cookers have 10 or more safety features. As we said, they usually have two or three safety valves to protect you. Redundancies ensure that if one clogs up, the other will melt to release the pressure.
An outdated model may not include these features.
Wrap Up: How to Fix a Melted Pressure Cooker Safety Valve
You can’t fix a melted pressure cooker safety valve because once it melts, you can’t give it form again. Luckily, it doesn’t cost much to replace a melted safety valve, and you can switch it out in 10 to 20 minutes.
The straightforward process means that almost anyone can replace it. Your safety valve serves as the last line of defense. Once this melts, the pressure cooker will explode if you can’t release the pressure within the container. In the past, the safety valve may have contained lead in it, but modern safety valves don’t have lead in them.
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