What is the “Water Test”? (and why you should do it)

This page is part of of my Facebook Warrior series. You too can be a Facebook Warrior by bookmarking this page for easy access and referral to others who may need it.  


What is this Water Test everyone keeps talking about?

I cannot find it in my manual!”

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Check page 14  of your manual

(screen captures for all models are below, to help you find it)

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


WHY you should do the water test:

  1. Confirms right away that your device is working properly.
  2. Provides familiarity with how your device works regarding time to heat up, time to cook, natural release time, how to manually (quick) release pressure, etc.
  3. Provides familiarity with how to use your device’s control panel
  4. Teaches you the difference between “Timer” and “+/-” for setting cook time (important for if you have an earlier model where the “Timer” exists, instead of saying “Delay Start”!)
  5. Cleans out any residual gunk left over from the manufacturing process.

HOW you can do the water test (non “Ultra” models):

For those of you who prefer video details, Frieda’s got you covered:

For those of you who prefer text details, I offer-up the following:

  1. Plug in your Instant Pot
  2. Put the stainless steel insert inside your base unit
  3. Pour 1.5 to 2 cups of water into the stainless steel insert (I recommend 1.5 to 2.0 cups just to make sure there is still water left inside the pot in the extremely rare case that it is not working properly, and much of the water boils away)
  4. Put your lid on and turn it closed
  5. Turn the vent knob so that it points to “Sealing” (for the Lux, this is pointing towards you; for the Duo and Duo Plus, this is pointing away from you!)
  6. Select the “Steam” setting
  7. Use the +/- buttons to change the time to be “3” (minutes). Do NOT use any button named “Timer” (that is a “Delay Start” button!).
  8. Wait a few seconds for the confirmation beep
  9. Sit back and watch your pot work
  10. It should say “ON” — this is the “preheat” cycle
  11. The pot will heat up the water, and then steam should start coming out, and eventually that steam will get really happy about exiting the pot, then suddenly get really quiet — this is the float valve pin sealing the pot, and the pot is now working on coming to pressure.
  12. Eventually it should beep several times and then the countdown timer will start — this is the “cooking” cycle
  13. Eventually the countdown timer will finish and it should beep several more times
  14. Leave it alone and watch the display now count-up — this is the “natural release” cycle
  15. You can now practice releasing steam: turn the venting knob SLOWLY from “Sealing” to “Venting”. SLOWLY!
  16. Notice that you can turn it back to “Sealing” if you get scared. *psst* *psst* *psst* — this is a Controlled Quick Release
  17. Notice that you can fling it all the way to “Venting” and jump* out of the way and let the steam fully release — this is a standard Quick Release (*note: jumping out of the way is optional, and not actually necessary)
  18. Once the pressure fully releases you should hear the pin drop *click*
  19. You will now be able to turn the lid unlocked — DO NOT EVER FORCE THE LID TO OPEN. Never, ever, EVER!
  20. Congratulations, you’ve now completed your water test

HOW you can do the water test (“Ultra” model):

  • Follow the basic idea outlined above for non-Ultra models, but using the Ultra’s new control panel to make your settings/selections, then press Start
    • Turn the dial to select Steam (Tip: turning the dial clockwise makes the selections change clockwise; turning the dial counter-clockwise makes the selections change counter-clockwise.)
    • Press the dial to accept your selection for “Steam” mode and to enter its details screen
    • The “Cook Time” field will be selected by default, so just click the dial again to enter “edit mode” for setting your time.
    • Turn the dial until the time reads 0:03 and the press the dial to accept your setting.
    • Turn the dial to move down to “Pressure”. If your pot is new, “High” should already be selected. If not, click the dial to enter “edit mode”, then turn the dial until “High” is selected, then click the dial to accept your setting.
    • Turn the dial again to move to the “Delay Start” field. Aaaoooga! Your time disappears and changes to 0:00 — this is good! You don’t want to delay the start so it should be at 0:00! Don’t do anything here!
    • Turn the dial again to move down to the “Keep Warm” setting. *phew* Your 0:03 reappears! The default is On for Keep Warm, and that’s fine.
    • Make sure your lid is on and turned to the closed position. Since you have an Ultra, turning the lid closed will make the vent/seal button pop up to the sealed position, so you’re all set.
    • Press Start, and you’re off to the races!
  • For the Ultra, you will instead have a graph on the screen showing you the preheating, cooking, and natural release cycles
  • While the pot is heating up, take the time to watch my videos about how to use the Ultra’s new lid: Venting & Sealing for the IP Ultra
    • Just as shown in my videos about the Ultra’s lid, when it is time to do so, you too should practice using the pressure release button for the controlled quick release and full quick release (locked down)


For IP-LUX v3: See page 14 of your Manual

For IP-DUO: See page 14 of your Manual

For Smart: See page 19 of your Manual

For DUO Plus: See page 14 of your Manual

For Ultra: See pages 14 & 15 of your Manual

Please note that comments moderation is on, so there is some lag time between when you submit a comment, and when I get an email notice and can go press the approve button so that it can appear on the page. After you get enough manually-approved comments, you are eligible for auto-approval going forward.

The views, information, or opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, and do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans, opinions or strategies of any company, entity or third party. Original "recipes" included on this site should not be taken seriously. No cookbook will ever be produced. "Recipes" may be shared only with credit to Dumpster Fire Cooking School, via a link back to this site, with a disclaimer that this is a parody site. This site is intended for entertainment purposes only, unless otherwise indicated by a post's assigned Category.

» » » » » » The posts that launched it all: Dumpster Fire Chicken Curry Stew, and Dumpster Fire Pork Ribs

Recent PostsPopular PostsCategoriesThemesArchivesSubscribe to PostsIP Recipe Speed Search

♥♥♥ ??? Remember! Likes, Shares and Comments keep bloggers motivated! Was this post worth your time? Let me know with the like & share buttons below, and / or by leaving a comment!


  • Beth Fuchs

    Good advise for everyone, but I’ll be the first to admit that I have not done the water test on either of my pots although I am very familiar with using pressure cookers so maybe that is why I didn’t bother. If I was a new user, I’d definitely do the water test.

  • Connie J Richardson

    I try and advise all Newbies to do the water/pressure test first for exactly the reasons you stated. Saves much grief for them later and wasted food.

  • Lisa Angermann

    OK, I’ll admit it… I did not do the water test either. I have been using my 3 manual pots for a good 30 years & I guess I thought I was exempt???

    • Jen Neefer

      Well the primary purpose is indeed to have people learn the control panel in a controlled situation. Anyone who doesn’t do the water test just handles the secondary purpose — to clean out any potential leftover gunk — via their first meal. 😉 😉

      P.S. Thanks for being a reader! You’ve posted enough comments now to graduate out of auto-moderation, so your comments will now appear immediately when submitted. 🙂

  • Charlaine Prefontaine

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! I was lost without it. This is the type of manual that should have been in the box. Instant Pot, and all manufacturers, take note: new users need thorough step-by-step directions! Hire this person to write your manuals!

Please be sure that you have read the Rules for Participation, prior to posting here. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Please be sure that you have read the Rules for Participation, prior to posting here. Thank you.