Traeger Smoker Not Heating Up (6 Easy Fixes)

Photo of author
Matt Richard

Traeger pellet grills are widely-known for their solid performance. Nonetheless, you’ll experience issues from time to time, like every other brand.

This easy-to-follow guide teaches you how to fix your Traeger pellet grill if it isn’t heating up.

Key Takeaway

If your Traeger smoker isn’t heating up, it’s likely due to low-quality pellets, a malfunctioning auger, a faulty induction fan, or a defective hot rod.

Common Reasons for Your Traeger Not Heating Up and How to Fix It

Below are the most common causes your Traeger may have issues producing heat.

Reason 1: Low-Quality or Damp Pellets

Low-quality pellets produce excessive ash because they burn less effectively.

This ash build-up can cover the hot rod in the fire pot and prevent proper airflow and combustion, reducing heat output and potentially causing the fire to go out.

As a result, stick with good-quality pellets that are specifically designed for pellet grills. Also, ensure the pellets are dry.

If they’re wet, you’ll have difficulty getting them to burn. Plus, damp wood pellets crumble more easily.

Reason 2: Jammed or Malfunctioning Auger

The auger moves the wood pellets from the hopper to the firepot. The firepot won’t receive enough pellets to sustain heat if the auger isn’t working.

The first step is to ensure the auger’s motor is functioning properly. You should be able to hear the auger when it’s activated.

If parts like the flighting or motor shaft are broken or worn out, they may need to be repaired or replaced.

Next, verify the auger isn’t jammed. You can tell if it works if you see pellets entering the firepot. However, if the pellets aren’t flowing, you may need to remove the housing and clear the auger.

Traeger has a helpful video that shows you how to clear a jammed auger.

Reason 3: Blocked or Faulty Induction Fan

The induction fan distributes heat from the firepot throughout the cooking chamber. If the fan isn’t working correctly, your Traeger pellet grill may not heat up.

Follow the steps below to address issues with the induction fan. Remember to turn off the unit and unplug it from the power source before attempting these steps.

  • Check for damage or blockages: Inspect the induction fan for visible damage or obstructions. Look for broken blades, loose connections, or debris obstructing the fan’s movement.
  • Clean the fan: If you notice any blockages or buildup of dirt, ash, or grease on the fan blades, clean them carefully. You can gently remove debris or buildup using a soft brush or cloth.
  • Ensure the blades spin: While inspecting the fan, manually rotate it to check for resistance or stiffness. The fan should move freely without any noticeable friction. If you feel any resistance, it may indicate a mechanical issue that requires further attention.
  • Lubricate if necessary: If the fan is stiff, applying a small amount of lubricant designed explicitly for grill fans may help. Use a food-safe lubricant and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.

Suppose the fan is damaged or severely worn, or cleaning and lubrication don’t resolve the issue. In that case, it might be necessary to replace the induction fan.

Reason 4: Defective Hot Rod

The heating element, also known as the hot rod, is a metal rod that’s 3 ½” long and ⅜” wide. Its purpose is to ignite the wood pellets in the fire pot.

If the hot rod can’t heat up, the pellets won’t burn, so the inside of your smoker won’t increase in temperature.

To inspect the hot rod:

  1. Power off and unplug your unit from its power source.
  2. Remove the four screws connecting the fire pot casing.
  3. Ensure there’s no damage or corrosion to the rod itself.
  4. Ensure the two wires are connected to the rod.

It’s unlikely the wires have become disconnected, but it’s worth checking before you order a replacement part.

Reason 5: Temperature Sensor Issues

If your Traeger smoker is not heating up, it could be due to a malfunctioning RTD temperature sensor.

Pressing the increase temperature button on your pellet grill increases the speed at which the auger moves wood pellets to the fire pot.

More pellets in the fire pot lead to a higher temperature inside the grill. Conversely, reducing the number of pellets results in a lower temperature.

Inspecting a Traeger temperature sensor involves a few steps to ensure proper functioning. Here’s how to examine the sensor:

  1. Power off the grill: Before inspecting your Traeger grill’s components, ensure it is powered off and unplugged from the power source.
  2. Locate the temperature sensor: The temperature sensor is typically located inside the cooking chamber. It’s a small metal probe that extends into the cooking area to measure the temperature.
  3. Check for physical damage: Inspect the temperature sensor for any signs of physical damage, such as bent or broken parts, corrosion, or loose connections. Ensure the probe is clean and free from any debris or residue that could affect its accuracy.
  4. Verify proper positioning: Ensure that the temperature sensor is positioned correctly. It should be centered in the cooking chamber, not touching any cooking grates, food, or other surfaces.
  5. Test the resistance: Using a multimeter set to resistance or ohms mode, you can test the functionality of the temperature sensor. Disconnect the sensor from the control panel and touch the multimeter’s probes to the sensor’s contacts.
  6. Clean the temperature sensor: If you notice any buildup or residue on the temperature sensor, clean it using a soft cloth or brush. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could damage the sensor.
  7. Reconnect and reassemble: Reconnect the temperature sensor to the control panel once you’ve completed the inspection and cleaning. Ensure all connections and seatings are secure.

Once you’ve reassembled everything, you can power on the pellet grill and set it to the desired temperature.

Monitor the temperature display on the control panel to ensure it reads accurately, and look for any error codes on the screen like the ones below.

  • Error Code 1 signifies a poor connection or total disconnection between the RTD probe and the control panel.
  • Error Code 2 means that the RTD probe, also known as the temperature sensor, has encountered a malfunction.

Reason 6: Control Board or Fuse Malfunction

A control board is essential to a pellet grill. It serves as the brain of the grill, regulating various functions such as temperature, pellet feed rate, and fan speed to ensure precise and consistent cooking.

Resetting the control board can be a simple solution if your grill is not heating up properly.

To reset the control board:

  1. Ensure the grill is connected to a power source.
  2. Turn off the grill.
  3. Wait a few seconds, then turn it back on.
  4. Confirm the induction fan is functional and listen for clicking sounds indicating ignition.

If you don’t see the display screen turn on, check if the control board fuse is blown. You’ll know the fuse is blown if you see blackening. If that’s the case, the pellet grill won’t work.

How to Prevent Your Traeger Pellet Grill From Encountering Issues

Follow these guidelines to maintain your Traeger and ensure it functions well for years to come.

Regularly Clean and Inspect It

To keep your Traeger pellet grill operating efficiently, it’s essential to inspect and clean it regularly.

Start by cleaning the grill grate, heat baffle, and drip pan to prevent ash and debris build-up that can restrict airflow.

Pro Tip

Don’t forget to empty the ash from the fire pot and ensure the auger isn’t jammed with old pellets. I recommend vacuuming the firepot after a long cook or every 3 regular uses.

Additionally, I suggest a deep clean every 3 months. This deep clean includes the smoke stack, grease drip, and all exterior and interior components.

Use an Insulation Blanket in the Winter

If you live in a state that gets cold, snowy winters, I recommend purchasing an insulation blanket (specific to your grill model).

Using an insulation blanket on my Traeger Pro 575 greatly stabilizes the cooking temperature and reduces pellet consumption.

Ensure to Store the Pellets Properly

New pitmasters commonly make a common mistake: leaving wood pellets outside or exposed to weather conditions.

I recommend storing unused pellets in an airtight container to keep them from absorbing moisture. Store that container in a cool, dry place.

If the pellets accrue moisture, they’ll jam your auger and won’t ignite as they should.

Keep the Firmware and App Updated

Traeger grills equipped with WiFIRE technology require regular firmware and software updates to ensure ease of use and prevent issues like not heating up.

Periodically check for updates or enable automatic updates in your Traeger app’s settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have more questions about your Traeger smoker not heating up? Browse the FAQs below.

Why Is My Traeger Taking Forever to Heat Up?

If your Traeger smoker is slow to heat up, check pellet levels (and ensure they’re not wet), inspect the igniter, and verify the induction fan generates airflow.

How Do I Know if My Traeger Hot Rod Is Bad?

If you suspect a faulty Traeger hot rod, look for signs like difficulty igniting pellets, failure to reach proper temperature, excessive ash buildup, strange noises/electrical issues, or error codes on the display screen.

How Long Does It Take a Traeger to Heat Up to 350°F?

On average, a Traeger pellet grill takes 15 to 20 minutes to reach 350°F. However, environmental and other factors can slightly impact this time.

Why Is My Traeger Not Getting to 450°F?

If your Traeger pellet grill isn’t reaching the desired temperature of 450°F, check the wood pellet levels, clean the firepot and burn grate, verify the temperature settings, inspect the hot rod, ensure the induction fan is rotating, and consider environmental factors.

Final Thoughts

If your Traeger smoker isn’t heating up, there could be various reasons, such as a worn-out hot rod, low-quality pellets, insufficient pellets, blown fuses, debris in the firepot, or a broken induction fan.

Following the troubleshooting steps in this guide should resolve any of the above issues. However, if you need a replacement part, I suggest purchasing it directly from Traeger to ensure it’s quality-made.

Photo of author
Hey, I'm Matt Hollingshead, a BBQ enthusiast, beer connoisseur, and the founder of Grill Mentor. When I'm not trying new recipes with my Traeger or sampling a craft beer, I'm publishing articles for this site.

You May Also Like...

Traeger Pro 575 Review (Bought and Tested)

Grill Mentor is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. ...

Traeger Keeps Shutting Off? 12 Quick Fixes

I’ve been there before. You’re trying to smoke a nice rack of ribs, but your Traeger keeps ...

Traeger Won’t Turn On? Follow These 7 Steps

A Traeger pellet grill not turning on can be a frustrating experience. There can be various reasons ...