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How to Get Pellets Out of Traeger? (Explained)

How to Get Pellets Out of Traeger

Some Traeger models have a pellet purge door in the hopper to help get the wood pellets out after every grilling session.

Traeger notes that if you have one of the few models that don’t have a release door, you should still use a small shop vac to draw the remaining wood pellets out.

You should also run the auger afterward to ensure that all the wood pellets have been fully evacuated from the system. 

Removing leftover wood pellets from your Traeger’s hopper after every grilling session will go a long way toward preventing problematic auger jams.

Ambient humidity can cause the all-natural water-soluble lignin binder in the wood pellets to gradually break down. 

These compromised pellets release tiny wood fibers that tumble to the bottom of the hopper near the auger.

When enough of them buildup, they can cause auger jams or troublesome burn back problems in the middle of your next grilling session.

Clearing an auger jam can take as much as 15 to 20 minutes, and that’s after you’ve allowed the grill to cool down enough to safely work on the auger.

It also requires some simple tools to remove the auger housing, and controller before releasing the bushing to clear the auger shaft.

The amount of time this takes is enormous, compared to the mere seconds it takes to remove the wood pellets from the Trager’s hoper after every grilling session. 


Clearing a Traeger Auger Jam

Clearing an auger jam on a Traeger starts by turning it off and giving it time to cool down.

If the jam happened in the middle of a grilling session and you need to get back to it as soon as possible, you might want to wear some high-heat rated silicone grill gloves or welding gloves to let you handle the hot auger.

You then need to locate the screws that hold the auger housing.

A lot of models have four to six on the back of the grill near the hopper and on the bottom of the housing.

Though, you don’t want to immediately loosen them.  

You can use the following tools and steps to clear a wood pellet auger jam. 

Tools For Clearing an Auger Jam on a Traeger

7/64 Allen Key

Pipe Wrench

Pliers

Flat/Pan Head Screwdriver

Phillips Screwdriver

Hammer/Mallet

Narrow Blade Putty Knife or 6-in-1 Multi-Tool

Chopstick or another narrow tool

Shop-vac

Canned air or shop air compressor

Step One: Loosen and remove the screws holding the controller in place, then pull the controller out, and gently turn it sideways to slip through the mounting hole.

This lets the controller remain safely connected to the other auger components when you pull the housing off. 

Step Two: Carefully loosen the screws holding the auger housing to the Traeger grills frame. Keep a hand on the housing while you back the screws out so the hopper doesn’t fall.

Step Three: Left up the auger housing and pull it away, making sure it doesn’t catch on any of the controller wiring as you remove it. 

Step Four: Locate the shear pin holding the auger motor to the auger shaft. Then loosen it with an Allen key and pliers. Once it’s loose, carefully remove the auger motor from the shaft and set it safely aside. 

Step Five: Use a screwdriver to loosen the screw holding the bushing. You might be able to move the auger shaft by hand, or carefully twist it with a pair of pliers.

This might be enough to free a minor pellet jam. If it’s completely fused, you might need to use a pipe wrench to manually turn the shaft. 

Step Six: If the auger shaft simply won’t turn with a reasonable amount of force, you’ll need to work the auger backward until it pulls free from the shaft.

Step Seven: Use a screwdriver or a pointed tool like a chopstick to loosen the wood fiber or wood pellet jam at the mouth of the hopper. This might take several attempts. 

Step Eight: Use a shop van to pull out any lingering wood particles. 

Step Nine: Use canned air or a shop air compressor to spray any wood pellet material off the auger, or the auger motor.

Step Ten: Insert the auger back into the auger shaft and then reassemble the entire auger assembly in reverse order of how you took it apart. 


Why Would You Need to Get Pellets Out of Traeger?

Removing or “Purging” the wood pellets from your Traeger grill prevents errant wood fibers from settling into the lower section of the hopper near the auger.

If too much dust and wood fibers settle out, it can jam the auger in the middle of a grilling session.

This can take up to 15 minutes to clear, even after the grill has been shut off and allowed to cool down enough to work on.

Traeger wood pellets are made from 100% natural wood fibers that are bound together using water-soluble lignin which can start to break down in a Traeger pellet hopper with time and high humidity.

Lignin is a natural glue of sorts that holds trees together and gives them structure. 

Even if dust and wood particles don’t cause an auger jam, just their presence in the auger shaft can increase the risk of a troublesome burn back.

This occurs when the fine particulate matter in the shaft starts to smolder from the ambient heat of the nearby firepot.

This can damage components in the auger system and even cause smoke to emanate from the Traeger’s wood pellet hopper.


Do Pellets Leave Ash After They Are Burned in Traeger?

Traeger claims that with proper combustion conditions their wood pellets will only leave 1% of ash behind for the weight of pellets used.

Meaning if you used 20-pounds of pellets which equals 320 ounces, you would be left with around 3.2 ounces of ash in the firepot.

While this might not sound like much on paper, it is more than enough ash to affect the combustion performance of your Traeger on your next grilling session.


What Does Removing Pellets Out of a Traeger Do?

Removing the wood pellets from.

Your Traeger hopper and running the auger until the entire auger shaft is clear will go a long way toward preventing auger jams and potential damage from a burn back incident.

Like most high-quality wood pellets, Traeger uses all-natural, water-soluble lignin as a binding agent to hold the wood fibers in their pellet form.

When exposed to high humidity, for a long enough period of time, the lignin can start to break down releasing wood fibers and dust particles that settle into the lower portion of the hopper near the auger system.

If enough of them are allowed to build up, it can lead to nasty auger jams that take a lot of time to clear or dangerous burn back problems in the auger shaft.


Final Thoughts

A lot of Traeger wood pellet grills have a special purge door in the hopper to help get the wood pellets out after every grilling session.

If you own one of the few models that don’t have one of these doors, Traeger recommends using a small shop vac to draw the remaining wood pellets out.

Then make sure to run the auger afterward to evacuate all wood pellets from the system. 

Getting all the leftover wood pellets out of your Traeger’s hopper after every grilling session helps problematic auger jams and possible burn-back issues.

If the wood pellets are left in the hopper, ambient humidity in the air can cause the all-natural water-soluble lignin binder in the wood pellets to gradually break down. 

These compromised pellets can release tiny wood fibers and dust that deposit at the bottom of the hopper near the auger.

If enough of this material builds up, it can cause auger jams or troublesome burn-back problems in the middle of your next grilling session.

When you consider that it can take as much as 15 to 20 minutes to clear a wood pellet jam after you’ve allowed the grill to cool down, it only makes sense to take a few seconds to empty your Traeger’s wood pellet hopper after every grilling session.