The float valve is the red or silver pin in the lid of the Instant Pot.
There are different styles of float valves for different models
& sizes of Instant Pots. Here are what some of them look like:
It’s very important to pay attention to whether the float valve is in the
Up or Down position. It indicates whether your pot is pressurized or not.
-When UP the pot is PRESSURIZED.
-When DOWN the pot is NOT PRESSURIZED.
To see what your float valve looks like in both the Up & Down positions
press up on the float valve on the inside of the lid while looking at the
pin on the outside of the lid, then let it drop down. Some pins come
up further than others so it’s important to know what your specific one
looks like in both positions.
HOW IT WORKS:
When pressure builds in the pot it pushes the float valve up.
There is a small silicone cap on the end of the float valve on the inside
of the lid. The cap holds the float valve on & also seals the hole shut
when the float valve rises, which stops the steam from coming out of it.
When the float valve rises it also engages the lid locking pin & the lid
will lock as a safety feature.
The float valve will drop down when the pressure drops & the lid will unlock.
At this point the lid will open easily. NEVER FORCE THE LID OFF.
This page has excellent info on the different pressure release methods:
IF FLOAT VALVE STICKS IN UP POSITION AFTER RELEASING PRESSURE:
Occasionally food may stick to the float valve causing it to get stuck in the
UP position instead of dropping down when the pressure is released.
If you have turned the steam release handle to the Venting position &
steam is no longer coming out, but the float doesn’t drop down, it is
probably stuck. Wait a couple minutes & then gently tap the float valve
with the handle of a wooden spoon, chopstick, etc. and it should drop down.
Be sure to take the float valve out of the lid & wash it well if this happens.
It’s also a good idea to remove the float valve & wash it every once in awhile
to prevent it from getting gunked up & sticking.
TO CLEAN THE FLOAT VALVE:
-Remove the silicone cap off the end that’s inside the lid.
-Wash the float valve & the cap in warm soapy water.
-Put float valve back in the lid & attach the silicone cap.
IF THE COUNTER STARTS AND THE FLOAT VALVE IS STILL DOWN:
On some models instead of getting a Burn Message the timer on
the pot will start counting down without the pot pressurizing.
If your pot does this it’s the equivalent of a Burn Message.
This page has info on what to do to resolve a BURN issue:
TROUBLE SHOOTING WHEN YOUR FLOAT VALVE WON’T RISE:
If your float valve doesn’t pop up it means the pot didn’t pressurize,
and there are several reasons this can happen. It could be recipe related
(like not enough thin liquid); operator error (like forgetting to put put
the steam release in the Sealing position); or it could just be that you
need to wait longer. Some things will take longer to pressurize, like
a full pot of soup.
This page goes over all the reasons: