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Traeger not getting above 350? (Explained)

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Traeger not getting above 350

There are many reasons why a Traeger grill might not go up to the desired temperature. Climate, the siting of the grill, its maintenance, and its fuel can all contribute to lower temperatures. This article will consider the causes for lower temperatures in a Traeger grill.

Why is my Traeger not getting up to temperature?

Various issues can keep your Traeger from reaching a hot temperature.

Climate can affect a grill. While Traeger grills are designed to work on even the coldest days, the grill still has to work harder to heat on a colder day than on a warmer one.

Wind, rain and snow can also prevent the grill from heating efficiently. If you are grilling on a very cold or windy day, consider a grill blanket to keep the temperature from fluctuating too much.

Airflow is also important for the grill.

While one might want to push the grill up against a wall to keep it out of the wind, this will also cause the grill to have poor air circulation. One needs to give the grill enough space to ensure the induction fan can draw air in properly. Similarly, the exhaust must be free from obstruction as well, for the air to flow properly.

The grill must be in good working order. The grill must be cleaned, with all soot and grease cleaned from the smoke stack, and all ash cleaned from the fire box. 

Several parts must also function correctly for the grill to work properly.

The thermocoupler and hot rod must both be functioning correctly, and may need to be replaced.

The induction fan should be able to run, as it is designed to run constantly in the grill.

Different sorts of fuel pellets burn differently in the grill. Hardwood pellets may burn hotter, and you may wish to experiment with them.

Opening the lid often causes the temperature to drop.

The grill is designed to be used with a closed lid. Every time the lid is opened, heat is lost.

While some opening of the lid is needed to check temperatures, you must not give in to the temptation to constantly check up on how the meat is cooking.

The lid must also fit against the grill. A gap of no more than one-quarter inch is allowable.

If the grill is at an extremely low temperature, there may be fuel pellet issues.

Fuel pellets that are old or wet will not burn well, and the grill temperature won’t rise to the desired level.

Lower quality pellets from an off-brand manufacturer may burn incompletely, leaving a lot of ash.

A quality pellet will burn more fully, leaving less ash, and will also burn hotter. 

The grill augur could also be tunneling into the supply of fuel pellets.

The augur takes pellets from the middle of the fuel pile. If the pellets do not settle correctly, a hole in the pile may develop, which will lead to the augur simply delivering air, rather than fuel, to the fire box. In this case, the temperature will fall.

The augur may also be turning at the wrong speed. To test this, mark the augur with a pencil, and time the augur as it makes one complete rotation.

The augur should turn fully within 36 seconds. If it doesn’t, it needs to be replaced.

The RTD probe, located on the left side of the grill, may need cleaning, or it may be malfunctioning.

It can be cleaned simply by wiping it free of any soot buildup, or cleaning it with a bit of vinegar. If it is dirty, it will not show the correct temperature. The probe should be straight, and should not touch the sides of the grill.

The hot rod of the grill heats the pellets and causes them to burn.

A bad hot rod will keep the grill from heating properly. Replacement hot rods can be purchased directly from Traeger or from on-line vendors. It is a simple part to replace, and you can easily do it yourself, or you can take the grill in for service.

Finally, you must make sure the grill sensors are measuring temperature accurately. Thermometers and temperature probes must be calibrated accurately to ensure they give an accurate reading.

How do I get my Traeger hotter?

To get your Traeger hotter, make sure the grill surface is clean, that the smokestack is free of soot and grease, and that it’s cap has no more than a one-inch gap from the smokestack itself.

Hardwood pellets of good quality burn hotter than some other types of pellets, and you may wish to consider those.

A grill blanket can help retain heat, as can firebricks placed at the bottom of the grill.

Make sure the grill was started up correctly, and allowed enough time to get to the desired temperature.

Final thoughts:

Grilling temperature is affected by a variety of factors. While you cannot control the weather, you certainly can control the maintenance of the grill, its placement, and the quality of fuel used.

By paying careful attention to your grill techniques, you can ensure your meat is grilled or smoked to perfection every time.