Is your vacuum sealer not sealing properly? Your gasket might have worn out. Here are 6 reasons why.
Vacuum sealing is no joke. Whether you’ve used this method for preserving an important piece of clothing, or for preparing delicious meals, you know that the advantages it has over other storage solutions, is quite significant.
That being said, even with all their incredible features, a fail proof model is yet to be invented, which means that your appliance could give you trouble from time to time, and stop sealing properly. If you’re here, this has probably already happened to you, and there’s only one question on your mind.
There are several reasons that could explain why your vacuum sealer is not sealing properly. From a wet bag, to a gasket that needs urgent cleaning or replacement.
In order to properly troubleshoot and find the right answer, you need to know exactly what to look out for, which is why I’ve prepared the list below.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Fixing a Failing Vacuum Sealer
As you know, these appliances can be very sensitive. Failing to meet even the most seemingly negligible conditions can contribute to poor vacuum sealing, and an apparent malfunction.
Surprisingly, in most cases, the appliance is not to blame. More often than not, the issue stems from user error, or other external factors you haven’t considered yet.
It’s very important that we go about this process in a detailed and orderly way to find the optimal solution without wasting too much time, or money.
Without further ado, here are the main reasons why your vacuum sealer might not be sealing properly:
- A wet bag
- An overfilled bag
- A broken bag
- A dirty or broken gasket
- A malfunctioning heating bar
#1 Dry Your Bag
Use disposable towels when cleaning raw meat
As stated above, while it might not seem like an overly complicated process, vacuum sealing is heavily dependent on a number of conditions that must be met.
And one of them is dryness.
In order to properly vacuum seal your bags, and the food inside them, your appliance must come into contact with a dry surface.
I know how this might seem counterintuitive, especially when the heating bar’s temperature should be able to easily shrug off any excess moisture, but even all that heat can’t make up for the humidity in the bag.
If your vacuum sealer is not sealing properly, chances are you accidentally got the sealing end of the bag wet with the food you’re trying to preserve.
Solution: Carefully wipe the sealing end of your bag after you’re done putting your food inside it. This will allow your appliance to seal it properly, and hopefully solve this problem.
Please try to use a disposable kitchen towel or a napkin when cleaning off juice from raw chicken or other meats, as using a cloth or anything else you might reuse later, could put you at risk of catching salmonella.
#2 Don’t Overfill Your Bag
Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations
Okay, so the sealing end of your bag is completely dry, but your appliance is still not sealing properly. Why?
Most vacuum sealer bags are designed to hold a specific amount of food inside them. Exceeding this limit can compromise your unit’s ability to create a proper seal.
If everything in your machine is working properly, but you’re still not getting the results you want, this is probably the reason why.
Solution: Read your user manual again. You’ll probably find in there the maximum recommended filling capacity of every bag that you own.
Alternatively, if you constantly find yourself in the need to store and preserve larger batches, you can always consider getting either a bigger appliance, or larger bags.
You can easily find them in all shapes and sizes at online marketplaces.
#3 Check Your Bag
Assuming that your bag is both dry, and adequately filled, we can safely move on to considering the possibility of tears on it.
While your vacuum sealer’s bags are not as fragile as those you can find at supermarkets, they are certainly not indestructible. If they’ve been around the block a couple of times, or if you use them quite frequently, some eventual wear and tear should be expected.
As you can imagine, even the smallest tear on your unit’s bag will make it impossible to create a vacuum seal, so please treat your accessories with care.
Solution: If you don’t want to spend money on new bags for your vacuum sealer right now, you can always try to patch up the tears with duct tape or any other flexible adhesive, but honestly, I’d advise against it.
Firstly, the material your bags are made of is designed to contract in a very specific way, which is something any adhesive you use, might not be able to do. Secondly, these adhesives will not guarantee a perfect vacuum seal, so using them is definitely not a long-term solution.
I know that spending money on repairs or replacements is annoying, but you’ll end up having to do it anyway. It’s best to nip this in the bud.
#4 Replace Your Gasket
Clean your gasket regularly
Without a properly functioning gasket, vacuum sealing is impossible. It’s that simple.
As you probably know, your gasket is the rubber part that surrounds the lower section of your appliance’s lid, which guarantees a perfect seal, and allows for the process to be carried out normally.
If your vacuum sealer is not sealing properly, there’s a very good chance that this little component is either dirty or broken.
Solution: Removing the gasket should be fairly simple. All you need to do is locate it, and carefully but decidedly, pull it from your appliance’s lid. It should come off without opposing too much resistance.
Once you have done that, you can analyze it for damage. Provided that there is none, and the part is only dirty, you can clean it under running water, let it dry completely, and then put it back where it belongs.
On the other hand, if it is damaged or torn, you will have to replace it, but don’t worry, it should be easy to get a new one from either your manufacturer, or your nearest hardware store.
Excessive temperatures can kill your appliance
Your vacuum sealer might not be human, but it can definitely be overworked.
While these machines are designed to operate for extended periods, going over a certain limit can be detrimental.
As you know, your appliance uses heat to melt the sealing ends of your bag together. While this normally causes no problems, continuously carrying out this process for several minutes or hours, could cause the unit to overheat.
Having this happen a couple of times might not do too much harm to your machine, but letting it happen frequently can decrease its lifespan dramatically.
If your vacuum sealer is not sealing properly, it probably needs a break.
Solution: Stop using your machine, let it rest from anywhere between 20-30 minutes, and then resume normal operation.
While overworking it is not the only possible explanation to overheating, it’s usually the most common.
#6 A Malfunctioning Heating Bar
No heat, means no sealing
Lastly, let’s check out your heating bar.
Without this part, your vacuum sealer would be incapable of melting the sealing ends of your bags together. I’d go as far as to say that it is the lifeblood of your appliance.
How does it work, you ask? It’s fairly simple.
Inside every vacuum sealer there is a small component called a heating element which is responsible for turning the electrical energy drawn from the wall outlet, into usable heat.
When it fails, things can go one of two ways.
You can either be stuck with a machine that does not generate heat, or one that generates too much.
If your vacuum sealer is not sealing properly, there is a very good chance that you’re suffering from the former condition.
Solution: To fix this, you will have to go in. Please follow these steps:
- Carefully unplug your appliance, and let it cool down
- Locate the screws at the bottom of your unit, and undo them with a screwdriver
- Remove the upper plastic casing to expose your machine’s guts
- Gain comfortable access to the heating bar, and replace it if necessary
On some models you might be able to test the heating bar with a multimeter without having to open the vacuum sealer, but in case you get null readings (0) on your device, you’ll still have to follow the steps above to replace the part.
A vacuum sealer that does not seal is like a plane without wings. Sure, it looks pretty, but, for all purposes, it’s useless.
Not all is lost, though. As you’ve learned on this piece, there are several issues that could be causing this, and most of them are easy, and quick to address. More often than not, slightly modifying your user habits, or buying a new sealing bag will do the trick.
And even when you do have to replace an internal component, the process should, for the most part, be very straightforward, and non-challenging.
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