Venting & Sealing for the IP-Ultra
Now that the new IP-Ultra is out, more and more questions are popping up asking about how to use the new venting & sealing mechanism.
So I’m going to step out of my usual Hot Mess in the kitchen universe, and try to actually be serious and useful for a moment.
Here are all my answers in one place, complete with video examples, so I don’t have to keep uploading them over and over again as answers to individual questions. 🙂
Venting & Sealing Mechanism vs. Pressure Release Vent Cover
IP-LUX and IP-DUO
On the earlier LUX and DUO models of the Instant Pot, one single physical object acted as (1) the venting & sealing mechanism, and (2) the pressure release vent cover. This object has a lever on it that is turned towards the word “venting” or towards the word “sealing”.
When turned to the “venting” position, the steam then shoots out of this object right next to your hand.
But on the IP-Ultra, these functions are now two separate objects. The pressure release vent cover looks similar to that on the LUX and on the DUO — but it does not have a lever, and turning it has no effect.
Instead, the IP-Ultra has a new venting & sealing button. This gets your hand a little more away from where the hot steam is being ejected, plus it gives the IP company a little more control over how venting & sealing works (more on this later).
This button has three positions, for three venting & sealing purposes:
- Venting / Full Quick Release: All the way down, and locked in place
- Venting / Controlled Release: Held part way down by the user
- Sealed: All the way up
Pressing this button on the IP-Ultra manipulates a little silver lever that sits below the pressure release valve cover. Pushing the button down causes the lever to rise, which in turn causes the edge of the pressure release valve cover to lift — allowing the steam to be released.
Releasing the button returns this lever to its original position, lowering the pressure release valve cover, to seal the valve and stop the release of steam.
- Button Down = Venting
- Button Up = Sealing
Venting Button – Top View
This video reveals how the new venting & sealing mechanism works.
The first part shows it with the venting valve cover removed — to reveal the functionality of the silver lever. The second part has the valve cover put back on, to show the effect of the silver lever.
Note that for a full quick release you must push the button all the way down, until you hear it click and lock in place. Otherwise you’ll be doing a controlled quick release by holding the button down yourself.
The little tab on the side of the button is the “unlock switch”. It is how to make the button pop back up. The lid and the manual say to “turn”, and it took me awhile to figure out how to get it to work.
It’s really more of a flick, than a turn, as this video demonstrates.
Venting Button – Side View
This video gives the side view for pushing the button all the way down, until it locks in place, and then unlocking it so it can pop back up.
Auto-Seal Mechanism Functionality
This new venting button, and flick-to-seal method has allowed the IP company to integrate a nice new, very needed, feature into the IP-Ultra. The new auto-seal mechanism uses a small pin inside the rim of the lid to detect when it has been placed on the pot.
That pin triggers the pop-the-button-back-up mechanism, as you can see in this video.
If you look closely, just above my fingers, you can see the other end of the little silver pin pop out — and stay popped-out until I release it.
Auto-Seal Mechanism in Action
This lid-closure-detection-pin does not get triggered by just putting the lid in place — it gets triggered just as you begin to turn the lid to close it. If you listen closely in this video, you can hear the click when the button pops up — and then see me pause before closing the lid the rest of the way.
It is important to note that while this auto-seal mechanism will be exactly what you need at least 95% of the time — if you are putting the lid back onto a hot pot for additional cooking time, this auto-sealing feature may thwart you.
Just like with the LUX and DUO models where, in this situation, you need to change the valve to venting to alleviate enough pressure to close the lid again, so too must you open the valve on the Ultra when putting the lid back on over hot food.
But on the Ultra that means pushing the button down right after it pops up via auto-sealing — and then remembering to flick the lever to pop the button back up into the sealing position.
Venting & Sealing in Action
Lastly, here is the lid completely in action, first coming to pressure, then some controlled quick releases, a full quick release, and then return to sealing before all the pressure has finished releasing.
Do note that I am aware of one IP-Ultra user who was unable to get her button to lock down. She, like me, was an early purchaser through Sur La Table. Unlike me, she’s lucky enough to live near a Sur la Table store, so was able to easily exchange it for a new one. She reports that this new one works perfectly, and that her first one was definitely defective.
She advises: “If anyone else gets one & the button doesn’t lock in the venting position when you press it down all the way, you need to exchange it because it should. You shouldn’t have to physically hold the button down the whole time to do a quick release.”
So the best advice I can give all new IP-Ultra owners regarding the new lid mechanism is to just play with it on it’s own, before doing the water test.
- Practice several times pushing the button down to lock in place then flicking the lever to make the button pop back up, to make sure it is all functioning properly.
- Also test the auto-lock mechanism by pushing the button down to lock it in place, and then making sure the button pops up when you put the lid on the pot and close it.
Hopefully this helps clear-up many of the questions and confusions that are starting to emerge for the new lid on the IP-Ultra! Feel free to drop me a note in the comments below if you have a question about how it works that wasn’t addressed here.
Happy Instant Potting!
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