The Instant Pot has revolutionized home cooking, providing us a convenient way to quickly cook foods. However, these popular electric pressure cookers also come with potential risks if not used properly. In rare cases, Instant Pots can actually explode, leading to severe injuries for consumers.
This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about Instant Pot explosions, including common causes, safety tips, potential injuries, legal options if you are a victim, and more. We will provide key information to keep you safe when using your Instant Pot.
- Instant Pots can explode and cause severe injuries if misused or defective
- Adding sufficient liquid, properly sealing the lid, and releasing pressure safely are crucial
- Potential manufacturing flaws like faulty wiring or lid seals also raise explosion risks
- If injured by an exploding Instant Pot, consult a product liability attorney about compensation
- Never attempt to open a pressurized Instant Pot – wait for pressure release then inspect damage
- Follow all instructions carefully and consider models with enhanced safety features
- Report any explosions to the Consumer Product Safety Commission as hazardous incidents
What is an Instant Pot?
An Instant Pot is a brand name for one of the most popular models of electric pressure cookers. It combines multiple appliances in one, functioning as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and more.
Instant Pots use steam and pressure to rapidly cook foods at high temperatures, drastically reducing cooking times. Food and liquid are sealed inside the pot, where pressurized heat tenderizes ingredients and infuses flavors.
Key Instant Pot Components:
- Inner cooking pot
- Locking lid
- Sealing ring
- Pressure release valve
- Control panel
While highly convenient, applying intense heat and pressure does come with safety considerations. Used irresponsibly, Instant Pots can overpressurize and violently explode.
Common Causes of Instant Pot Explosions
While relatively rare, Instant Pot explosions do occur and can lead to severe injuries for unsuspecting users. Explosions are often caused by:
- Not sealing the lid properly
- Failing to add enough liquid
- Overfilling the pot
- Not releasing pressure safely
- Faulty wiring or electronics
- Weak lid seal
- Defective valves or sensors
- Compromised pressure release system
The vast majority of explosions are preventable by following instructions carefully. However, manufacturing issues can also create unpredictable risks.
Injuries from Instant Pot Explosions
When an Instant Pot explodes, the scalding contents and flying shrapnel can cause:
- Second and third-degree burns from superheated food and steam
- Lacerations from shattered pot fragments
- Loss of eyesight or eye injuries from debris
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Hearing loss from the deafening blast
- Emotional trauma from the frightening event
The injuries often require extensive medical treatment like skin grafts, surgery, and rehabilitation. Victims describe excruciating pain from severe burns covering their hands, arms, chest, face and neck.
Key Instant Pot Safety Features
Reputable Instant Pot models incorporate multiple safeguards:
- Locking lids that cannot be opened while pressurized
- Automatic pressure controls
- Excess pressure release valves
- Overheating and over pressurization sensors
- Electrical current and thermal fuses
- Anti-blockage venting systems
- Leak detection technology
When working properly, these features greatly reduce explosion risks. However, they cannot completely eliminate user error. Consumers must still take proper precautions.
Preventing Instant Pot Explosions
You can prevent most Instant Pot explosions by:
- Carefully reading the instruction manual
- Properly sealing and locking the lid
- Using recommended liquid amounts
- Not overfilling the inner pot
- Releasing pressure safely after cooking
- Cleaning valves and vents regularly
- Inspecting for damage before each use
- Purchasing from a reputable retailer
- Considering additional safety features
Stay focused and avoid distraction when operating your Instant Pot. Also supervise children to prevent horseplay and accidents.
What to Do If Your Instant Pot Explodes
If your Instant Pot does explode, follow these steps:
- Seek medical attention immediately for any injuries
- Contact Instant Pot to report the incident
- Keep the pot and damaged parts for inspection
- Photograph injuries and damage for evidence
- Speak with a product liability attorney about your legal options
Never try to open the pot or approach the appliance right after an explosion. The contents remain dangerously hot and pressurized. Call emergency services if severe injuries occurred.
Can I File an Instant Pot Injury Lawsuit?
If an exploding Instant Pot caused your injuries, you may have grounds for legal action. Defective products that compromise safety can make the manufacturer liable.
An experienced lawyer can investigate what went wrong and determine if you qualify for financial compensation. Potential grounds for a lawsuit include:
- Manufacturing defects like faulty wiring or weak lid seal
- Defective pressure release valve or sensors
- Failure to include adequate safety features
- Insufficient warning labels about potential dangers
- Lack of clear operating instructions
Victims of Instant Pot explosions have received settlements and verdicts averaging $2 million in some cases. Don’t hesitate to explore your legal options after receiving medical treatment.
Key Statistics and Trends
- Over 30 people have reported Instant Pot explosions since 2011, resulting in several lawsuits. However, the incidents represent a tiny fraction of total units sold.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 1.1 million Instant Pot units were sold in the U.S. in 2020 alone.
- Instant Pot dominates 85% of the electric pressure cooker market. Industry sales have grown over 300% from 2016 to 2022.
- Over 70% of households now use electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot regularly. Their popularity continues to rise.
- Instant Pot launched the first model with an automatic steam release in 2020 for added safety. More brands are adding similar features.
- Countries like Japan and South Korea have begun implementing stricter safety regulations for electric pressure cookers and appliances.
While still relatively safe, exploding Instant Pot incidents generate substantial media coverage and public concern whenever they occur. It underscores the need for ongoing vigilance, education, and safety innovation as electric pressure cookers gain mainstream popularity.
“My daughter was severely injured when a faulty Instant Pot exploded right next to her. No family should have to suffer such trauma in their own kitchen.” – Frank Willis, Parent of an Injured Child
“Never take shortcuts or ignore warning signs when using your Instant Pot. A moment of impatience can have lasting, devastating consequences if an accident occurs.” – Instant Pot Safety Advocate
Frequently Asked Questions
How common are Instant Pot explosions?
Instant Pot explosions are very rare, given the huge number of units sold. But the incidents get lots of publicity when they do happen. Only about 30 cases have been reported out of millions of devices in use.
What typically causes Instant Pot explosions?
User errors like overfilling, lack of water, or improper sealing are the most common causes. Manufacturing defects with the wiring, lid seal, or valves can also lead to explosions in some cases.
What safety features do Instant Pots have?
Instant Pots have locking lids, automatic pressure regulators, excess pressure release valves, anti-block vents, leak detectors, and other safeguards. Newer models may have more advanced safety tech.
Can I open the Instant Pot while it is pressurized?
Never attempt to open the lid until all internal pressure has been released. This can take 15-20 minutes after cooking. Forcing it open can lead to an explosive release of scalding steam and contents.
How can I prevent Instant Pot explosions?
Always read the manual thoroughly. Properly seal the lid, use recommended liquid amounts, avoid overfilling, and release pressure safely. Inspect for damage before use and replace worn parts regularly.
What should I do if my Instant Pot explodes?
Seek medical help immediately for any injuries. Call emergency services if there are severe burns, lacerations or other trauma. Report the incident to Instant Pot and keep damaged parts as evidence. Consider legal counsel.
Can I sue if my Instant Pot explodes and injures me?
You may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit if manufacturing flaws caused your injuries. An attorney can help determine if the company is liable and seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.
Are beans more likely to cause Instant Pot explosions?
Beans and other foods that foam and froth can clog the pressure release valve if not monitored, leading to risk of explosion. Always use natural pressure release and don’t fill pot more than halfway when cooking beans.
What are alternatives to Instant Pots?
Slow cookers, stove-top pressure cookers, rice cookers, crockpots, and traditional cooking methods like steaming, boiling, and baking are alternatives. Each has pros and cons to weigh for convenience and safety.
Can Instant Pots explode after the cooking cycle finishes?
Yes, explosions can still happen if pressure is not properly released by venting steam before attempting to open the lid. Never try to force open the pot while pressurized. Always allow time for pressure release.
Should I buy a new Instant Pot if mine exploded previously?
Do not attempt to use an Instant Pot that has exploded before. The damage makes it unsafe for further pressure cooking. Contact the manufacturer about a replacement or refund. Consider switching to an alternative appliance.
What should I look for when buying an Instant Pot?
Select a reputable brand with all the key safety features mentioned earlier. Compare pressure settings, size options, and ease of cleaning. Read reviews and instruction manuals thoroughly before purchasing.
Does home insurance cover Instant Pot explosions?
Standard home insurance typically covers injuries and property damage from appliance malfunctions and explosions. However, the extent of coverage depends on your specific policy terms. Contact your provider.
Stay vigilant, and use your Instant Pot responsibly so it remains an invaluable cooking tool rather than a dangerous liability. Prioritize safety above convenience when operating to prevent any danger.