Last Updated on February 16, 2023 by Claire
The Instant Pot has been a game-changer, with its ability to cook a variety of foods efficiently, especially for individuals who need to focus on other stuff while cooking. However, like any appliance, the Instant Pot can experience problems such as getting stuck on preheat. Instant Pot stuck on preheat is one of the most common issues that users face, and this article will explore the causes and proffer solutions to fix it.
What is preheat mode?
Before we dive into the causes and solutions for the Instant Pot getting stuck on preheat, let’s first understand what preheat mode is.
When you turn on your Instant Pot, it goes through a series of steps to reach the desired cooking temperature. This process is called preheating and it typically takes about 10-15 minutes. During this time, the Instant Pot will display “preheat” on the screen, heating the food and building pressure inside the pot. Once the Instant Pot has reached the desired temperature, it will start cooking the food.
In normal circumstances, the Instant Pot will only display “preheat” for a few minutes before moving on to the cooking process. However, if the Instant Pot gets stuck on preheat, it will continue to display “preheat” and will not move on to the cooking process.
Instant Pot stuck on preheat: what causes it
The Instant Pot’s diverse versatility has made meal preparation easier, faster, and more convenient. Nevertheless, the Instant Pot might become stuck on preheat mode at times, creating aggravation and a delay in cooking time. Let’s look at the numerous causes of the Instant Pot becoming stuck on preheat.
The lack of liquid in the pot is one of the most common causes of the Instant Pot becoming stuck on preheat. The Instant Pot requires a specific amount of liquid to function.
It requires a sufficient amount of liquid to create pressure and reach the proper cooking temperature. If there is insufficient liquid in the pot, the Instant Pot will be unable to pressurize and will remain on preheat.
Blockage in the steam release valve/vent
A blockage in the steam release valve or the pressure release valve is another cause of the Instant Pot being stuck on preheat. This is a crucial feature of the Instant Pot that allows steam to escape when cooking.
If the steam release valve is clogged, the Instant Pot may be unable to release pressure and will continue in preheat mode.
Faulty temperature sensor
A faulty sensor is another cause of Instant Pot getting stuck on preheat. The sensor is responsible for measuring the temperature inside the pot and sending the signal to the Instant Pot’s control panel. If the sensor is not working correctly, the Instant Pot will not be able to accurately measure the temperature, and it may get stuck on preheat.
An overfilled pot can also cause the Instant Pot to get stuck on preheat. If the pot is too full, there will not be enough space for the food to expand during the cooking process, which can prevent the Instant Pot from building pressure.
The Instant Pot has built-in safety features to prevent overheating. If the Instant Pot overheats, it will shut down immediately to prevent damage. However, if the Instant Pot becomes too hot, it may become stuck on the preheat setting.
Damaged heating element
The heating element is responsible for heating the Instant Pot. If the heating element is damaged, it will not be able to heat the Instant Pot, causing it to get stuck on preheat.
Lastly, If the power goes out or is interrupted while the Instant Pot is in preheating process, it will not be able to continue preheating, and it will get stuck on preheat.
Fix for Instant Pot if stuck on preheat
Below are simple ways to fix your Instant Pot that won’t get past preheat.
Reset the Instant Pot
In certain cases, resetting the Instant Pot may resolve the issue of being stuck on preheating. This is because, as a computerized device, the Instant Pot is susceptible to occasional glitches like all computers. Resetting can often eliminate any minor software issues causing the preheating problem, making it a recommended solution.
To reset your Instant Pot, follow these steps:
- Disconnect the Instant Pot from the power supply.
- Remove the Instant Pot’s lid and inner pot.
- On the pot’s body, look for the “Reset” button (usually located near the bottom).
- Hold the “Reset” button for about 3 seconds before releasing it.
- After a few minutes, reconnect the Instant Pot and hit the “start” button.
- Your instant pot should now be functioning properly.
If you want to reset your Instant Pot cooker to its factory defaults, do the following:
- Make sure the unit is turned off.
- Press and hold the “Adjust” button for about three seconds.
- Release the button.
- Your Instant Pot cooker has now been reset to its original factory settings.
Per the Instant Pot manual, you can reset to factory default settings by pressing and holding the “Adjust” button for 3 seconds, when the Instant Pot cooker is in the Off mode.
Check that the float valve is in the proper position
The float valve is a little metal element that plays a critical role in regulating the pressure inside the pot. When you turn on your Instant Pot, it will heat the water, and the float valve will work to maintain the pressure inside the pot.
In case the pressure builds up excessively, the float valve will pop up and release some steam to maintain the proper pressure. However, if the float valve is in the down position, it can prevent the steam from escaping, leading to a buildup of pressure and the Instant Pot becoming stuck on preheating.
To check if the float valve is in the proper position:
- Remove the Instant Pot’s lid to inspect the float valve.
- Find the float valve that is connected to the steam release valve within the pot.
- The float valve must be in the up position. If it is positioned downward, gently push it upward until it is upright.
Examine the sealing ring
The Instant Pot lid contains a small rubber ring known as the sealing ring, which serves to establish a tight seal between the lid and the pot. This seal enables pressure to accumulate within the pot.
In what manner does the sealing ring operate? Well, when the Instant Pot lid is shut, the sealing ring snugly fits into a groove encircling the pot’s rim, resulting in an airtight seal. This seal is vital to enable the Instant Pot to amass sufficient pressure to cook your food.
However, if the sealing ring is not correctly positioned, the Instant Pot will fail to achieve the required pressure to cook your food. In such cases, the Instant Pot might get stuck in the preheating stage.
Ways of inspecting the sealing ring:
- Open the instant pot, then take the cover off.
- Look inside the lid for the sealing ring. This rubber ring needs to be placed in the groove that surrounds the lid’s edge.
- Verify that the sealing ring is positioned properly. If not, gently press it until it fits into the groove.
To clean the sealing ring effectively, take it out of the lid, and immerse it in warm soapy water for approximately 15 minutes. Afterward, use a gentle brush to remove any leftover residue, rinse it thoroughly, and let it air dry entirely, or wipe it down with a clean cloth before reinstalling it into the Instant Pot.
Inspect the steam release valve for any potential blockages
The steam release valve on the Instant Pot is a safety feature that enables you to discharge the pressure that has accumulated inside the pot. Inadequate ventilation can cause the pressure inside the pot to rise to hazardous levels. Therefore, the steam release valve is designed to alleviate this pressure and avert the pot from exploding. To ensure that the valve does not get obstructed, clean it regularly.
In what way does the steam release valve operate? The Instant Pot features a steam release valve on top, which has a knob that you can turn to release pressure. When the knob is turned, the valve opens, allowing the steam to escape from the pot. The pressure within the pot decreases as a result, rendering the pot safe to open.
To check the valve, follow these steps:
a) If the steam release valve on your Instant Pot is obstructed, it can cause the pot to become stuck in the preheating stage. To rectify this issue, remove the lid of the Instant Pot.
b) Next, utilize a paperclip or another small object to dislodge any debris clogging the valve.
c) Subsequently, replace the lid and ensure that the valve is in the correct position before continuing to use the Instant Pot.
You may also need to examine the venting tube, which runs from the valve to the venting knob on the front of the pot.
In what way does the steam release valve operate?
The Instant Pot features a steam release valve on top, which has a knob that you can turn to release pressure. When the knob is turned, the valve opens, allowing the steam to escape from the pot. The pressure within the pot decreases as a result, rendering the pot safe to open.
To check the valve, follow these steps:
Your Instant Pot may become stuck in the preheating stage if the steam release valve is clogged. Take off the Instant Pot’s lid to solve this problem.
Then, use a paperclip or another tiny tool to remove any debris from the valve.
Before using the Instant Pot again, replace the lid and make sure the valve is in the proper position.
The venting tube, which connects the valve to the venting knob on the front of the pot, may also need to be checked.
If your Instant Pot is still not functioning correctly, even after cleaning the steam release valve, it may be necessary to contact the manufacturer for additional assistance.
Examine the pressure release button for clogs
The pressure release button on an Instant Pot is a crucial safety valve that releases pressure from inside the pot. If the button is blocked, the Instant Pot may get stuck in a preheating loop.
Here are the steps to check the pressure release button:
A pressure release valve should be in the “sealing” position.
Turn the pressure release valve to the “sealing” position if it is not already there.
- Turn the Instant Pot’s lid to the “sealing” position and replace the lid. (Meanwhile, a fix for lids that won’t close).
- To cancel, click the button.
- Choose “manual” or “pressure cook” from the menu.
- You can select a cooking time of 5 minutes by using the “+” or “-” buttons.
- Hit “start” to get started.
- Once the allotted cooking time has passed, allow the pressure to naturally relax for 10 minutes.
- Turn the pressure release valve to the “venting” position after ten minutes to let off any remaining pressure.
- Check the food’s doneness after removing the lid. Cook further for about five minutes or more if necessary.
Examine the heating element
To troubleshoot the issue of an Instant Pot being stuck on preheating, one of the steps to take is to inspect the heating element. The heating element is responsible for heating the water in the pot, and if it malfunctions, the water may not heat up enough to cook the food properly.
To examine the heating element, take out the pot from the Instant Pot and locate a small metal coil at the bottom of the pot, which is the heating element. If it is damaged or broken, a replacement is necessary.
If the heating element appears to be in good condition, the next step is to verify the pressure cooker valve.
An Instant Pot functions as a stove and pot hybrid, featuring a heating element at the base. If this heating element is defective, it will not heat up and cause a preheating problem.
Read also: how chefs simmer with Instant Pots
Getting an Instant Pot stuck on preheat can be a frustrating experience, but with a bit of troubleshooting, you can often identify and resolve the issue. By checking the liquid level, releasing pressure, and checking for faulty parts, you can often get your Instant Pot back to working correctly. Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never attempt to repair your Instant Pot yourself, as this can be dangerous and may void the warranty.