Traeger Won’t Ignite (Troubleshooting Guide)

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Matt Richard

You’re ready to cook some delicious barbecue. Only one problem: your Traeger pellet grill won’t ignite. But don’t panic!

This guide walks you through the troubleshooting steps to get it back up and running quickly.

Key Takeaway

If a Traeger pellet grill doesn’t ignite, check the power supply, inspect the pellets for moisture, clean the firepot of ash and debris, ensure the hot rod is properly positioned, and verify the temperature settings.

Basic Considerations That You Shouldn’t Overlook

Skipping these steps may seem tempting, but it’s important to complete them as they often play a role in causing the issue.

Step 1: Confirm There Are No Power Supply Issues

Before considering other troubleshooting steps, verify your pellet grill is plugged into a working power source. If the display screen is on, you know it works.

However, if the screen isn’t on, unplug the grill and plug another device into the electrical outlet to see if it works. If the alternate device doesn’t work, the outlet is the issue.

If you’re using an extension cord, ensure it works properly, or try plugging the grill directly into an outlet. Also, remember to check the grill fuse and replace it if needed.

Step 2: Check if There Are Error Codes on the Display Screen

Your Traeger can self-diagnose and display error codes to inform you of any problems. At least most of the time.

Check for these error codes if your Traeger won’t ignite:

  • Err/Er1: There’s a connection issue between the control panel and RTD temperature probe.
  • LEr: The grill has fallen below 125°F for at least 10 minutes.
  • HEr: The grill’s temperature is above 550°F and has automatically shut off.

In a Traeger pellet grill, the rate at which the auger transfers pellets from the hopper to the fire pot depends on the desired temperature.


Heat increases as more wood pellets are pushed into the fire pot (because there’s more wood burning). Therefore, if your Traeger grill isn’t igniting, there may be insufficient pellets in the fire pot.

Remember to consider environmental factors like weather, which can throw off the temperature sensor. After all, your Traeger pellet grill is a big black metal box sitting outside.

Step 3: Verify the Control Panel Isn’t Malfunctioning

Control panel malfunctions can prevent your Traeger grill from igniting and functioning correctly. To remedy this issue:

  1. Turn off your pellet grill and disconnect it from the power supply.
  2. Carefully remove the control panel.
  3. Inspect the panel for any visible damage, dirt, or loose connections.
  4. Clean the panel thoroughly with a soft cloth or shop vac if there’s dirt build-up.
  5. Reassemble the control panel and reconnect the power supply.
  6. Test your pellet grill to see if it ignites properly.

The control panel is the brain of your Traeger. That’s why it’s one of the first (and most important) items to check.

Advanced Troubleshooting Steps for a Traeger Not Igniting

If you followed the steps above and the issue persists, continue to the measures below.

Step 4: Confirm the Hot Rod Heats Up and Turns Red

The hot rod, located in the firepot of your grill lights the wood pellets, creating heat. If the hot rod isn’t working, the pellets won’t ignite, and the grill won’t produce heat.

You can verify the hot rod is functioning if it heats up and turns red for the first 4 minutes after ignition.

If the hot rod doesn’t heat up, confirm that the connector (at the end of the wire) is fully seated in place. You can disconnect and then reconnect to ensure it’s not loose.

Step 5: Verify the Auger Is Moving Pellets to the Fire Pot

To keep the fire going, the auger transfers wood pellets from the hopper to the fire pot. If there aren’t enough pellets, the flame will go out.

You can check if the auger is operating by listening to its “hmm” sound when starting up and observing if it is turning. The auger may be jammed if you don’t observe it rotating.

To check for a jammed auger:

  1. Remove the lower and upper grill grates, the drip tray, and the heat baffle.
  2. Clear any ash or debris from the firepot.
  3. Clean the auger using a brush or vacuum and remove the jammed pellets.

Step 6: Ensure the Induction Fan Is Spinning

The induction fan circulates hot air from the fire pot around the grill to heat its interior. If the fan isn’t working, the pellets may not remain lit.

If you notice any issues with the fan or unusual sounds, inspect the Molex connector, wires, and control panel. If these components are in good condition, you may need to replace the fan.

Additional Factors to Consider

Here are other factors that may prevent your Traeger from igniting.

Use High-Quality and Dry Wood Pellets

When I first heard I should buy “high-quality pellets,” I thought it was a marketing ploy. However, I was wrong.

Low-quality pellets don’t burn as smoothly as quality ones, and as a result, there’s more ash buildup.

Pro Tip

The wood pellets must also be dry, or they’ll clog up the auger. I advise storing them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Wind and Cold Weather Can Impact the Smoker’s Ignition

Cold weather and wind can impact your Traeger smoker’s ability to ignite, primarily due to their effects on the grill’s internal temperature and airflow. Here’s how each of these factors can affect ignition:

Cold Weather

The temperature inside the pellet grill can drop significantly in cold weather, making it challenging for the grill to maintain the required temperature for igniting the pellets.

Additionally, the colder temperature may cause the pellets to be less combustible.

Heavy Wind

Proper airflow is crucial for maintaining combustion and allowing the pellets to burn efficiently.

A strong wind can blow out the flame or disrupt the ignition system’s operation, making it difficult for the pellets to ignite.

Mitigating Cold Temperatures or Windy Conditions

Here are a few tips:

  • Allow more time to preheat: The pellet grill may take longer to reach the desired temperature if adverse weather conditions exist. Remember to account for that when you’re planning.
  • Use a thermal blanket: Consider using a thermal blanket or insulation cover designed for your pellet grill. This cover helps retain heat and protect the grill from the impact of cold weather.
  • Block the wind: Position your pellet grill in a location shielded from strong winds. You can use a wind blocker or place the grill beside a wall or fence to create a barrier.

Taking these precautions can improve your Traeger’s chances of igniting successfully and maintaining a consistent temperature, even in cold or windy conditions.

Regularly Clean Your Traeger Grill for Optimal Performance

Cleaning your pellet grill is crucial for several reasons:

  • Food safety: Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of bacteria, mold, and other harmful contaminants. Over time, grease and food residue can accumulate on the grill grates, drip tray, and other surfaces, prompting bacteria growth.
  • Improved flavor: A clean pellet grill makes your food shine with its natural flavors. Grease and residue accumulating on the grates and other surfaces can impart unwanted flavors to your food.
  • Optimal performance: When parts of the grill (like the fire pot, for example) are dirty, airflow can be impeded, resulting in uneven cooking and temperature fluctuations.
  • Extended lifespan: Routine cleaning and maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your pellet grill. If left unattended, grease and debris can cause corrosion and damage to the grill’s components.

Now, let’s break down how often you should clean specific parts of your pellet grill:

  • Grill grates: Clean the grill grates after use with a brush or soak in warm, soapy water for tough grime. Rinse and dry before reattaching.
  • Drip tray and grease bucket: Clean the drip tray and grease bucket after each use to prevent odors and grease fire risk.
  • Fire pot and burn pot: Clean the fire pot every 3-5 uses. Use a brush or vacuum for ash and debris. Try a scraper to remove buildup.
  • Exterior and control panel: Clean the grill and control panel with warm, soapy water and soft cloth. Don’t get water inside the control panel or electrical components.

I try to perform a deep clean of my pellet grill every 6 months to keep it in top shape.

This process involves removing and thoroughly cleaning all of the components. It also means looking for worn-out parts that need replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about your Traeger not igniting? Check out the FAQs below.

Do You Have to Prime the Auger on a Traeger?

If there are no pellets in the auger, you’ll need to prime it so pellets flow into the fire pot. The “prime auger” function is in the settings on the display screen.

Does a Traeger Need Pellets to Ignite?

A Traeger pellet grill requires wood pellets since those are the fuel source.

Do Traegers Have a Fuse?

Traeger pellet grills have a fuse in the control panel.

Do Traeger Grills Have a Reset Button?

There isn’t a reset button on Traeger pellet grills. However, you can reset the grill by unplugging it from the electrical outlet.

Final Thoughts

Following the steps outlined in this guide can help you identify and fix common issues preventing your pellet grill from igniting.

Remember to check the power source, inspect the pellet hopper, clean the fire pot, and ensure proper airflow. Additionally, maintain and clean your grill regularly to prevent future ignition problems.

With these troubleshooting techniques, you’ll be back to enjoying delicious, smoked meals in no time.

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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.

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