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7 Tips For Cleaning Out Traeger Pellets

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How To Clean Out Traeger Pellets

Most Traeger grills have a door on the side of the wood pellet hopper that let you quickly purge the old pellets after a grilling session. 

You should then let the auger run for a minute or two to empty all the lingering pellets out of the auger shaft. 

This prevents time and humidity from breaking down the lignin binder that holds the wood pellets fibers together. 

If the binder starts to degrade, excess dust and particulate material can release from the pellets settling in the bottom of the hopper near the mouth of the auger shaft. 

When you turn your Traeger on again, these wood fibers can feed into the shaft and the firepot. 

Not only can this affect the performance of your grill, but it can lead to auger jams, and even a potentially dangerous burn back that lights the wood pellets in the hopper on fire. 

Traeger advocates purging the wood pellets out of the hopper if you aren’t going to use the grill for another week. 

Though it’s wise to empty the hopper after every grilling session. 

The hassle, damage, and potential cost of a hopper jam or a fire are much worse than the few seconds it takes to purge the hopper and vacuum out the lingering wood pellets. 

Why Should You Clean Out Traeger Pellets?

As humidity starts to break down the water-soluble lignin binder in Traeger wood pellets it can release an excessive amount of wood fibers into the bottom of the hopper near the auger shaft. 

This can cause annoying auger jams or even a dangerous burn-back fire. 

How Long Can You Leave Traeger Pellets in the Grill?

Traeger themselves note that you should never leave wood pellets in your Traeger grill for more than a week. 

Though even in high humidity, the water-soluble lignin binder holding the pellets together can start to show minor degradation in less than 24 hours. 

Should You Clean Out Traeger Pellets?

When you think about the time, expense, and problems that can be caused by excess wood fibers in a Trager’s hopper and auger, it only makes sense to clean the wood pellets out of your hopper after every grilling session. 

After all, it only takes a few seconds to purge your pellets from the Traeger’s hopper and empty the auger shaft. 

You should then store the wood pellets in an airtight container, like a sealable plastic tote bin. 

This will prevent humidity from affecting them during storage. 

You should also sift your pellets again through a coarse sieve before adding them to the hopper for your next session. 

Do I Need to Clear the Traeger Auger Every Time?

It’s a good idea to clear the auger shaft after every grilling session. 

Left unchecked the pellets in the auger system can also start to break down turning into wood fibers that can cause an auger jam or increase the risk of a burn back incident. 

Final Thoughts 

Emptying the wood pellets out of your Traeger’s hopper and taking the time to clear the auger shaft only takes a few minutes. 

Yet it can save your hours of time and expense should degraded pellets cause an auger jam or a burn back problem. 

Traeger themselves recommend emptying the hopper if you aren’t going to be using the grill for a week. 

Though in times of high humidity the lignin binder holding the wood pellets together can start to degrade, releasing wood fibers into the hopper. 

If these fibers are pulled into the auger in your next grilling session it can lead to a costly auger jam or dangerous backburn fire. 

When you consider that it only takes a minute or two to purge the hopper and clear the auger shaft, it’s well worth it to make it a common practice after every grilling session. 

Then make sure to store your pellets in an airtight container to prevent further degradation. 

Before adding the pellets back to the hopper on your next grilling session, make sure to sift them through a coarse sieve to prevent stray dust from finding its way back into the hopper.