Traeger Not Heating Up: 7 Causes and Fixes

May 17, 2023

The most common cause of Traeger grills not heating up is a bad hot rod. The grill’s hot rod usually gets less effective after a couple of years. So, if you’ve been using your grill for a while, a bad rod may likely be the issue. 

However, if you haven’t been using your machine for a while and you experience these issues, the culprits may be windy weather, poor-quality wood pellets, or a malfunctioning fan. The Traeger Pro 575 has been my go-to smoker for years, and I’ve come across this issue a couple of times. I initially hired a repairman, and over time, he eventually taught me how to repair it myself. 

Today, I’ll pass down this valuable knowledge and show you how I fixed my Traeger from not heating up and discuss more on the possible causes.

traeger not heating up

Common Reasons Traeger Not Heating Up

Here are seven common causes of your Traeger pellet grill not heating properly.

1. Defective Hot Rod

In my experience, the main reason a Traeger grill doesn’t heat is because of a faulty hot rod. The hot rod acts as the “switch” to light the pellets in the fire pot, creating the spark that keeps the pellets burning and raises the cooker’s internal temperature.

Unfortunately, hot rods frequently wear out after a few years. So, if you’ve used your grill for a while and it’s not heating up as it used to, your hot rod may be the culprit. Fortunately, it is easy to check your Traeger’s rod.

First, start the smoker and set it to high heat. Then, open the lid after 5 minutes to check if the rod is glowing red. If the rod isn’t glowing red, then you may need to fix your grill’s rod. Other common symptoms of a faulty hot rod include uneven heat distribution and slow ignition.

How to Fix?

You can either buy a replacement hot rod and fix it yourself or get an expert to do it. If you’re a DIYer, here’s how to replace the rod:

  • Ensure the Traeger grill is disconnected. Then, locate the hot rod underneath the firepit.
  • Next, empty the pellet hopper, then take out the control panel screw before removing the rod.
  • Unscrew the pellet hopper body, then cut the cable zip ties and disconnect the white wires.
  • Remove the grill trays, drip pan, and heat deflector. Afterward, unscrew the nuts attaching the firepot. You’ll find the screw for the rod there. Loosen the rod screw and slide out the hot rod through the burn pot.
  • Get your new hot rod from Traeger and insert it through the hole on the side of the grill.
  • Lastly, reverse the steps to reassemble the parts and test if the fix works.

Note that you don’t always have to replace your Traeger grill’s hot rod. That situation can be salvaged by fastening a loose cord in the grill’s system.

2. Ash Debris in the Firepot

The Traeger’s firepot is where you put the wood pellets. This compartment supplies the fuel for the burning fire.

But for the pellets to burn effectively, they must be in a location that promotes combustion. As a result, the firepot has air inlets strategically placed around it. Your grill’s pellets will burn slower than desired in dirty firepots because the ash buildup restricts the airflow. Also. a dirty firepot will make your firepot rust quicker.

How to Fix?

Check all the inlets in the firepot and clean them with a brush. Then, pack the debris and throw it out. You could also wash the firepot, but make sure you dry it with a towel.

3. Windy Weather

Windy conditions are the foes of your Traeger. These conditions can expose your Traeger to too much oxygen or blow the smoldering flame into the firepot (all of which affect the cooker’s desired temperature). For this reason, it’s important to place your grill in an area protected from gushing winds. 

How to Fix?

The fix to this issue is straightforward. Simply position your grill in an outdoor shed protected from the wind. Make sure the shed has plenty of ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of incomplete combustion of pellets.

4. Low Quantity of Pellets in the Grill

Pellets burn through on Traeger grill rather quickly. Therefore, your grill won’t maintain the desired temperature if you don’t feed it enough pellets.

Not only will you be unable to maintain the grill’s temperature, but you will also waste the pellets because they’ll burn without raising the temperature.

How to Fix?

Make sure your grill has one to three pounds of wood pellets in it if it isn’t burning hot enough. Pay attention to your pellet pot and add pellets if you see it’s almost empty.

5. Poor-quality Wood Pellets

From experience, Traeger grills don’t work as well with low-quality or moist wood pellets. Poor-quality wood pellets don’t burn as well, so your cooking temperature will be affected when using them. Another issue with low-quality pellets is that they disintegrate faster and can clog your firepot.

How to Fix?

Make sure you always use high-quality wood pellets. Following this simple tip will save you a whole world of trouble.

6. Malfunctioning Auger

The Traeger’s auger is a drill-like tube that connects the fire pot to the hopper. This tube feeds the pellets to the flame, ensuring the grill’s temperature stays consistent. 

A broken auger may cause your pellets to be fed more slowly, which will affect the grill’s temperature.

How to Fix?

Luckily, the auger is easy to spot. You should see it at the bottom once you empty the hopper.

  • Remove the heat baffle, drip pan, and grill grate.
  • Turn on the Traeger grill and set it to smoke.
  • Next, check the firepot to see whether the auger is turning; it should be on a cycle of about 15 seconds on and 1 minute off. Check the hopper’s bottom if the auger isn’t spinning.
  • Then, check to see if the tiny fan that is connected to the auger motor is spinning.
  • If the auger doesn’t work, get a replacement unit, take out the defective component and replace it with a new one.

7. Faulty Induction Fan

An induction fan helps control the grill temperature. So, if the fan is broken, your grill will not cook evenly. Not only is this a pain while you’re prepping the grill, but it’s also especially frustrating when you’re cooking.

How to Fix?

Here’s how you can change the induction fan on your cooker. 

  • Power off the cooker and
  • Next, disconnect the induction fan cords and switch the old fan with your newly bought replacement fan. Connect the cords back in, and voila!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is My Traeger Grill Difficult to Ignite?

You may have issues lighting your grill because of bad weather, a faulty auger, or a bad induction fan. If you confirm that your grill isn’t affected by any of these, then you need to contact an expert.

2. Do I Need Electricity for a Traeger Grill?

Traeger grills are electric-powered equipment that can be powered with a standard 110V outlet. You will need an extension cord with an appropriate rating and length to power the grill properly.

The pellet grill uses electricity to run the fan—which circulates heat and smoke—and the auger, which in turn feeds wood pellets to the fire. This system produces a consistent flow of heat. 

Conclusion

The Traeger grill is renowned for providing a smoky flavor without the inconvenience of preparing your own flame. However, this machine may experience some issues down the line, one of which is failure to properly heat up.

So, if you notice your Traeger smoker isn’t heating up, your grill’s hot rod may be bad, or there may be excess debris in the firepot. Additionally, you may be a victim of harsh weather or using low-quality pellets. Whatever the issue, refer to my quick fixes to get your Traeger grill smoking as it should.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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