Traeger not getting as hot as I want
New Traeger grills have a reputation for being able to reach extraordinarily high temperatures of nearly 500 degrees F. After time, owners sometimes notice a decline in performance by their grills, which aren’t able to heat up like they used to.
Fortunately, it is usually very easy to solve the problem of a Trager grill not getting hot with a few minor adjustments. This article will consider the main reasons a Traeger grill doesn’t heat properly, and discusses solutions to the problem.
Traeger won’t heat past 300
Weather and the outside air temperature, fuel, and the condition of the grill can all prevent your Traeger from reaching hot temperatures.
Most of the fixes described below require nothing more than some cleaning or some simple adjustments to your Traeger. A few require more substantial repairs.
Why isn’t my Traeger getting as hot as I want?
In bad weather, it will take longer for your grill to reach the desired temperature.
The grill should be kept in a sheltered area, and not exposed to rain, snow, or high wind.
If the weather is bad, you may wish to consider buying an insulated blanket to keep the grill warmer. Even in good weather, an insulated blanket may help by reducing fuel use, and in reducing the time it takes for the grill to heat.
If bad weather is not an issue, there are several possible reasons your Traeger isn’t getting as hot as needed for cooking.
Damp or wet pellets won’t burn properly, and this can reduce the heat of the Traeger.
The grill surface and vents must be kept clean and free of rust.
The heating element, or “hot rod” may need to be replaced. Hot rods keep a constant heat that ignites the pellet fuel.
They frequently burn out after two or three years of use, and need to be replaced. Replacement hot rods can be ordered from Traeger or other on-line suppliers.
Also, several other parts can fail. The augur, RTD probe, and induction fan can fail, and any of these can keep the Traeger from reaching the desired temperature.
What should I do to increase the heat in my Traeger
1) Check the quality of the pellets.
Pellets should be kept in a place with no moisture and must be dry in order to burn properly. Wet pellets will not burn well, and will prevent your grill from reaching hot temperatures.
To test the pellets, roll one between your fingers. A dry pellet will be firm and hold together well. A damp one will crumble easily.
2) Check the grill and clean it carefully. A clean grill surface will help distribute heat evenly and properly. Make sure the fire pot is clean and free of rust. If there is ash in the fire pot, the grill won’t heat properly.
Remove all the ash with a shop vac. The fire pot also has seven pre-drilled holes, which are designed to be an exact size. If there is any rust or corrosion around the holes, the airflow around the pot will be affected, and the grill won’t heat properly.
If the fire pot is badly rusted, it may need to be replaced.
3) Check the drip tray, and empty and clean it if necessary. Remove the grill gates, and use a griddle scraper to remove any grease from the surface using a griddle scraper.
Occasionally, the drip tray should be cleaned using soap and water, then thoroughly dried with paper towels.
4) Check and clean the smoke stack. The smoke stack must have free air flow in order for the pellets to burn correctly. Grease and soot can build up in the smoke stack and stop air flow.
The smoke stack should be cleaned every few weeks to remove any residue. You can scrape grease and soot out of the smoke stack with a screwdriver or other flat bladed tool.
5) Be sure the smoke stack gets enough air. The smoke stack needs to be open to allow air to circulate.
Closing the vent by putting the chimney cap on tightly will prevent air circulation, and will keep the temperature down. There should be at least a one inch gap between the smoke stack and the chimney cap.
6) Check the air temperature coming of of the chimney. You can verify the temperature by using a thermometer.
7) Check the augur. The augur moves pellets to be burned. It must turn at a certain rate in order to deliver enough pellets to keep the fire going. Time the augur speed by marking the augur with a pen and watching to determine how long the augur takes to make one complete turn.
A properly working augur should take between 35 and 40 seconds. If the augur takes longer, it may be necessary to replace the mechanism.
8) Check the induction fan. The fan may be turning too slowly, or it may need lubrication.
9) Check and clean the RTD probe. The RTD probe is a temperature sensor which checks the internal air temperature of the grill, and keeps steady heat inside the grill.
If it is dirty or defective, the readings it gives will be off, and the grill won’t heat properly.
The RTD probe is found on the left side of the grill. It should be kept clean, as soot can sometimes build up. Also, it should be straight, and not touching the inside of the grill itself.
If your Traeger isn’t heating properly, the quick tests listed above can help you solve many possible causes.
Many causes can be fixed at home with easy do-it-yourself tests or some simple cleaning. Other causes are more complicated, and require a call to Traeger customer service for parts or assistance.