How To Fix-Troubleshoot Your Pressure Canner Problems

Guest post: by Christine Coburn

There is nothing more frustrating than when you have worked hard to get a batch of food prepared to can and then your canner doesn’t work right or for you to have Old Faithful erupting on your stove instead of staying in Yellowstone…

After 30 years of canning I have learned several “tricks” All of them the hard way. In order to understand what is causing a problem and how to fix it then you need to understand how each part of the canner works together with the rest of the parts.

The normal run of the mill canner: (mine is a Mirro 22 qt made in 1980, it has been in service full time for 31 years)
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-1

Various parts of the canner:

Pot (See the locking lugs all the way around)
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-2

Lid
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-3

Gasket
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-4

Canner Racks.. One is always placed on the bottom of the pot under your jars. The other is placed on top of the first level and then a second level of jars on top of it. This is when you are canning pints or half pints and are doing a second level. You can not stack quart jars. Failure to use these will cause your jars to break in the canner.
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-5

Stem
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-6

Pressure regulator (this is what regulates the amount of pressure in your pot)
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-7

High pressure relief valve (this is the safety mechanism to keep you from blowing the lid thru your ceiling)
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-8

Lid locking mechanism (this is also a safety mechanism to keep the lid from blowing thru your ceiling)
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-9

 

Problem: The lid will not fit on right
Possible cause and solution
1. The locking lugs are not properly lined up
a. Place the lid on top of the canner with the lid handles a little off set from the pot handles. Line up the lugs by sliding it back and forth until the lugs fit together and the lid slides down. Then turn the lid until the handles on the pot and the lid line up.
b. If your lid doesn’t not want to slide easily once it has seated on the lugs then coat the gasket with a small amount of vegetable oil to help the gasket to slide on the pot.

Problem: Canner will not reach correct pressure.
Turn off your burner and Slide the canner to a cool spot to cool down before trouble shooting the problem.

Possible cause and solutions:
1. Gasket not sealing
a. Soak gasket in hot water for 15 minutes
b. if gasket seems loose on the lid then you can stretch the gasket by working your way around with both hands pulling on it
c. try a coating of vegetable oil
d. Replace gasket
2. not enough heat
a. Increase heat
3. If you have a canner with wing nut type clamps then it is possible one of your clamps is not tight.

Problem: Old faithful erupting on stove.
Steam is pouring out from under the lid. Slide the canner to a cool spot to cool down before trouble shooting the problem.

Possible causes and solutions
1. Lid locking mechanism did not lock
a. Try Jiggling the lid to get the mechanism to lock. Some canners are very picky about the lid placement and this mechanism.
2. Food is hung in the lid lock mechanism
a. Make sure your lid and jars are clean before processing.
b. Check the gasket, under the gasket and the lid lock mechanism for pieces of food.
3. Gasket not sealing
a. Soak gasket in hot water for 15 minutes
b. if gasket seems loose on the lid then you can stretch the gasket by working your way around with both hands pulling on it
c. try a coating of vegetable oil
d. Replace gasket if it is dry, hard, cracked or torn.
4. If you have a canner with wing nut type clamps then it is possible one of your clamps is not tight.

Problem: The high pressure valve just popped
(Hurry and throw a damp rag on top of the valve so that you do not lose your jars, do not get your hand in the way of the steam it will burn you). Slide the canner to a cool spot to cool down before trouble shooting the problem.

Possible causes and solutions
1. Stem is clogged
a. Always make sure your pot and lid is clean before you use it and make sure your jars are clean when you put them in.

Problem: The pressure regulator quit jiggling and is now just blowing a steady stream of steam
Possible cause and solution
1. Too much pressure in pot
a. Turn down your fire a bit

Problem: The pressure regulator quit jiggling and is not blowing steam out
Possible cause and solution
1. not enough pressure in the pot
a. Turn up your fire a bit

Problem: You just bought a new gasket for your Mirro Canner and now it won’t seal or the gasket only lasts a few times of running the canner before it fails again.
Possible cause and solution
1. Turn your pot over and look at the manufacturing date. You see the 12 80 on mine (See picture below). The Mirro 22qt made before 1983 requires a different gasket than is sold at the hardware store now. You probably have the wrong gasket. There are several sites on the internet that sells the older replacements. You can call the manufacturer to make sure of what part you need. Gaskets that are used regularly should last 3-5 years. Usually what causes them to fail is not using them and they dry out.
troubleshoot-pressure-canner-problems-10

Problem: Lids not sealing
Possible causes and solutions
1. Rims not clean when lids are placed on
a. Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth before placing your hot lids on them
2. Pressure being dropped too fast
a. Never drop the pressure artificially. Allow the pot to cool on its own. By dropping the pressure it causes negative pressure in your pot and will pull the jar contents out into the pot from under the lids.
3. Using used metal lids
a. Never reuse a metal lid. The only lids suitable for repeated use are Tattler lids with gaskets.
4. Not enough headspace
a. Leave about ¾’s of an inch between the top of your food and the top of your jar. The jars will boil in the canner and if you do not have enough empty space in the jar then the contents will be pushed out of the jar causing grease and food to get under the lid.
5. Rings not tight on metal lids
a. Tighten rings over metal lids prior to processing
6. Rings too tight on tattler lids before processing or not tightened down after processing.
a. Tighten and then back off the rings over a Tattler lid ¼ inch then tighten the rings after the jars are processed and removed from the canner. Use an oven mitt the jars are HOT!!!

 

Remember: if at any time you lose the pressure in your pot you have to start retiming the food from the time you rebuild pressure!!

Remember: Always let the canner vent steam for at least 10 minutes before placing the weight on the stem. This allows the air to evacuate the pot and makes sure the stem is clear.

Remember: Always make sure your canner is clean and the jars are clean before canning or you can clog your stem. Inspect it before each use.

Remember: Always make sure you have enough water in the pot to run the entire processing time. If you let a canner run dry you will warp the pot and break your jars.

Remember: NEVER drop the pressure purposely by removing the weight or running cold water over the pot. Always allow the pot to cool naturally by only sliding it to the cool side of your stove or counter. Failure to do this can cause steam/burn injuries, broken jars and seal failure.

Remember: Any time there is a problem with your canner gently and carefully slide it to a cool place and then leave it alone until the pressure has subsided. If too much pressure builds it will make a howling sound from the steam escaping the escape valve or from under the lid. The escaping steam will burn you!!!

All American Pressure Cooker/Canner

 

 

(submit your own guest post here)

Be Prepared. If you enjoyed this, or topics of current events risk awareness and survival preparedness, click here to check out our current homepage articles…

 

129 Comments


Modern Survival Blog is a Top Prepper Website

  1. Christine January 22, 2012 3:29 PM
    • Sally August 20, 2012 10:01 PM
  2. sam January 23, 2012 9:41 AM
  3. lisa santiago July 9, 2012 11:50 AM
    • Ken July 9, 2012 6:44 PM
  4. Ouijaboy19@aol.com November 16, 2012 8:29 PM
    • Toxed June 27, 2015 3:48 PM
      • Glenda June 28, 2016 12:37 AM
    • bratwoman58 October 9, 2016 6:31 PM
  5. Terry April 14, 2013 6:52 PM
  6. TinMan May 29, 2013 2:15 PM
  7. Beth July 6, 2013 5:55 PM
    • Ken Jorgustin July 6, 2013 6:28 PM
    • NDahl September 18, 2016 2:41 AM
  8. Jane July 26, 2013 11:43 PM
  9. Sandy August 10, 2013 2:01 PM
  10. kent August 13, 2013 1:38 PM
    • Ken Jorgustin August 14, 2013 6:17 PM
  11. ABEE August 17, 2013 5:26 PM
    • Stephen November 13, 2013 12:06 PM
      • kathyinozarks May 9, 2014 5:26 PM
    • Sharon Quinn December 14, 2015 6:50 PM
  12. Paul September 22, 2013 3:09 PM
    • Paul September 23, 2013 8:07 AM
      • Anonymous October 31, 2013 9:22 PM
  13. Judy October 19, 2013 1:02 PM
  14. Mollie slater October 26, 2013 10:59 PM
    • Qwerty October 27, 2013 3:08 PM
  15. allyson October 28, 2013 5:55 PM
    • mustangsue December 14, 2015 2:56 PM
  16. Dano November 19, 2013 10:08 AM
  17. Warner November 21, 2013 6:48 PM
  18. Lyn November 25, 2013 7:45 PM
  19. Jean April 9, 2014 10:35 PM
  20. Lynn April 29, 2014 1:26 PM
  21. Frank June 8, 2014 11:02 PM
  22. Kim July 17, 2014 10:24 PM
  23. Mavis September 26, 2014 8:53 PM
    • Chuck October 22, 2015 7:40 PM
      • Laurie February 19, 2016 1:32 PM
    • Chuck October 22, 2015 7:56 PM
  24. Frank November 4, 2014 6:22 PM
  25. pressure gauge November 15, 2014 5:54 PM
    • Anon November 15, 2014 6:34 PM
  26. Grace Smith November 21, 2014 12:17 PM
    • Anon November 21, 2014 1:28 PM
  27. Metal Ring on Handles of 349M 4 qt. Mirro January 5, 2015 10:09 PM
    • Beth August 3, 2016 12:40 PM
  28. carolyn April 16, 2015 7:47 PM
  29. BC July 19, 2015 7:02 PM
    • Anon July 19, 2015 7:47 PM
  30. Marcia July 21, 2015 9:48 PM
  31. NRP July 21, 2015 10:31 PM
  32. Lulu July 24, 2015 10:27 AM
  33. Susie July 31, 2015 8:27 AM
  34. Venting question August 8, 2015 2:41 PM
  35. Denise August 10, 2015 11:40 AM
    • Charlie January 2, 2017 11:28 AM
  36. Mike August 24, 2015 2:35 PM
  37. Erin August 25, 2015 1:43 PM
    • NRP August 25, 2015 1:53 PM
    • Anon August 25, 2015 3:44 PM
      • Debbie August 26, 2015 9:38 PM
        • Anon August 26, 2015 9:51 PM
  38. Ien in the Kootenays August 31, 2015 1:31 AM
  39. Ann September 3, 2015 11:51 AM
    • NRP September 3, 2015 12:43 PM
    • Emily September 25, 2015 8:40 PM
  40. Jim H September 9, 2015 8:49 AM
    • Anon September 9, 2015 2:22 PM
  41. Anonymous September 12, 2015 6:26 PM
  42. Frustrated Novice Canner September 14, 2015 6:53 PM
    • NRP September 15, 2015 10:16 AM
  43. Jerry September 21, 2015 10:19 AM
    • Louise August 3, 2017 6:25 PM
  44. NRP September 21, 2015 11:02 AM
  45. Pat October 20, 2015 9:46 AM
  46. Chuck October 22, 2015 8:39 PM
    • NRP October 22, 2015 8:42 PM
  47. Candace October 25, 2015 12:40 AM
  48. calley November 7, 2015 5:48 PM
  49. Drema November 8, 2015 1:44 PM
    • NRP November 8, 2015 1:50 PM
      • Louise August 3, 2017 6:28 PM
  50. SeanWilmNC November 14, 2015 11:25 PM
  51. Sharon Quinn November 28, 2015 7:15 PM
  52. Ann December 16, 2015 4:16 PM
    • NRP December 16, 2015 5:08 PM
      • Ann December 16, 2015 6:13 PM
        • NRP December 16, 2015 9:48 PM
    • Lauren December 16, 2015 6:09 PM
  53. Ann December 16, 2015 11:04 PM
  54. Hadia December 27, 2015 9:33 PM
  55. tina July 12, 2016 5:36 PM
    • NRP July 12, 2016 7:22 PM
      • tina July 13, 2016 11:10 AM
        • NRP July 13, 2016 11:53 AM
  56. Mamdrm July 26, 2016 9:57 PM
    • NRP July 27, 2016 10:03 AM
  57. aka July 26, 2016 11:17 PM
  58. Pressure Guage problem August 2, 2016 7:08 PM
  59. Don & Gerry August 3, 2016 6:14 PM
    • Lauren August 3, 2016 7:07 PM
    • Peanut Gallery August 4, 2016 5:34 AM
  60. Patricia August 4, 2016 5:35 PM
  61. Jen C. August 7, 2016 10:00 AM
    • NRP August 7, 2016 12:23 PM
  62. Stephanie Waibel August 12, 2016 11:37 PM
  63. Stephanie Waibel August 12, 2016 11:38 PM
  64. Marilyn August 22, 2016 10:55 AM
    • NRP August 22, 2016 1:40 PM
  65. Jeri August 24, 2016 5:52 PM
    • country August 24, 2016 7:54 PM
    • Louise August 3, 2017 6:32 PM
  66. lynn September 19, 2016 9:54 PM
  67. DONNA November 16, 2016 3:14 PM
    • NRP November 16, 2016 7:18 PM
  68. Lora January 22, 2017 4:41 PM
    • Peanut Gallery January 22, 2017 5:11 PM
    • Antique Collector January 22, 2017 9:55 PM
  69. Valerie January 23, 2017 2:54 PM
    • Just Sayin' October 19, 2017 1:24 PM
  70. Marcia September 1, 2017 7:32 AM
    • Ken Jorgustin September 1, 2017 8:02 AM
    • Skibum September 1, 2017 12:03 PM
  71. DIANA J GRIDER October 19, 2017 12:41 PM
    • NRP October 19, 2017 1:42 PM
    • Just Sayin' October 19, 2017 1:51 PM
Vote for MSB -Top Prepper Website

Read our Comment Policy

For off-topic discussion, visit the latest:
'Weekly Preparedness' post

For the most recent comments from all articles:
'Recent Comments' page

Leave a Reply

Email optional - will not be published