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Traeger not reaching max temp? (Here’s Why)

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Traeger Not Reaching Max Temp

Cleaning and maintenance issues are some of the top reasons why a Traeger wood pellet grill might not reach the maximum temperature of 400 to 450 degrees.

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Though cold weather and compromised internal components could also compound this problem. 

Most Traeger wood pellet grills are rated to have a maximum temperature of up to 400 to 450 degrees. Though the newer Timberline and Ironwood series of Traeger grills can get all the way up to 500 degrees. 

If you’ve been lax in deep cleaning your Traeger grill after every 20 to 30 hours of use, it could be ash, soot, and other debris affecting peak performance.

A thorough deep cleaning, including cleaning the internal temperature probe might be all that’s needed to get your Traeger to reach the maximum temp. 

While deep cleaning your Traeger, take a moment to test the hot rod and the internal fan to make sure they are working correctly.

Each has a limited lifespan but is relatively cheap and easy to replace. 

If cold, wet, or windy weather is keeping your Traeger from reaching the maximum temp, try moving it to a more protected location and covering the grill with an insulated grill blanket. Turning up the Pause Setting on your grill might also help by delivering more wood pellets to the firepot without delay. 

What Is the Max Temp for Traeger?

The newer Traeger Ironwood and Timberline wood pellet are capable of getting all the way up to 500 degrees. Otherwise, most other Traegers are only capable of a maximum temperature of 400 to 450 degrees. 

On paper, the Traeger Ranger is rated to get to 450 degrees, but in the real world 375 to 400 is a more realistic maximum temperature. 

Why Is My Traeger Not Getting Up to Temp?

If you have a bad habit of not deep cleaning your Traeger grill excess ash, grease and soot come be affecting the firepot’s performance. It could also be that grease and soot have built up on the internal temperature probe causing it to give an inaccurate reading. 

If you try to deep clean your Traeger, you should also take the time to make sure that any internal fans or the hot rod are working properly. The hot rod should glow bright red when the grill is set to high and the lid is open. 

If the hot rod isn’t heating up properly, or you have a fan that’s stuck, it can affect the heating performance of the grill. Luckily replacement components are relatively inexpensive and the installation doesn’t require a lot of mechanical skill. 

Bad weather can also make it hard for your Traeger to get up to temp. If it’s unseasonably cold, windy, or rainy, try moving your Traeger to a more protected location. Covering it with an insulated grill blanket in bad weather might also help your grill get up to temp. 

What Should I Do If My Traeger Won’t Hit Max Temperature?

If your Traeger grill can’t get within 10 to 15 degrees of the maximum rated temperature, the first step is to clean the temperature probe as part of a thorough deep cleaning. While you’re at it, check to make sure that the internal hot rod is glowing red and the internal fan is moving air. 

If a component isn’t functioning correctly, and you are still within the three-year warranty period that comes with all Traeger wood pellet grills, you should contact Traeger’s customer service at 1-800 TRAEGER. 

If your Traeger’s warranty has expired, you can still order a replacement hot rod for around $20 to $25 online. A replacement fan for a Traeger ranges between $35 to $90 depending on the model. 

If bad weather is preventing your Traeger from getting up to the maximum temperature, you should move the grill to a protected location, and perhaps cover it with a grill blanket. You might also want to turn up the P-Setting by one to two higher numbers to deliver more wood pellets to the firepot with less delay. 

Making Sure Thermometer Is Accurate

The thermometer inside a Traeger grill can sometimes get coated with soot and grease causing it to give an inaccurate reading. Most of the time, you can simply clean it and then restart the grill to test its accuracy with a surface thermometer

Ideally, the internal thermometer should be within 10 to 15 degrees of the target temperature set on the control panel. Any more than that and you might have a problem with the thermometer, which needs replacing. 

In the case of a WiFIRE-enabled Traeger grill, you might also need to recalibrate the temperature probe used to monitor the internal temperature of the meat. This is something that should be done every month, or anytime you suspect the meat probe isn’t giving you an accurate reading. 

How To Make My Traeger Git Max Temperature

Thermal efficiency can play an important role in making sure your Traeger grill is hitting the maximum rated temperature. This starts with making sure the grill is properly cleaned and placed in an area that is protected from the elements. 

You can cover your Traeger grill with an insulated grill blanket to help trap more of the heat energy inside the cooking chamber. This will also boost the internal smoke density surrounding the meat. 

If the weather is particularly harsh, you might want to try increasing the P-setting. The “Pause Setting” regulates the number of wood pellets delivered to the firepot in a given span of time. Turning it up one to two numbers higher will feed more fuel to the firepot for a higher possible temperature. 

Is It a Pellet Issue

Assuming you don’t have a wood pellet jam in the auger shaft or the lower part of the hopper, then it might be that the P-Setting of your Traeger grill is too low for the weather conditions.

By turning the P-setting up one or two notches, you can deliver more pellets from the hopper to the firepot in a shorter period of time. 

You can use the following steps to adjust your Traeger’s Pause Setting

Step One: Look in the upper right corner of the control panel to find the P-setting button. It is often under a sticker that says “Call Service.”

Step Two: Gently remove the sticker, which will expose a small hole. 

Step Three: Use something like a paper clip, a tiny screwdriver, or a wooden grill skewer to poke the tiny button inside the hole.

Step Four: Look at the display screen. Every time you press the button it will take the P-setting up more until it reaches the top of the scale and resets back to zero or one. 

Step Five: Press the button one or two times until you see a number that is one lower than the original P-setting of your Traeger grill.

Final Thoughts

A lot of times a Traeger grill that won’t reach the maximum temp is caused by Cleaning and maintenance issues. Though mechanical faults and cold weather are also common problems that can affect a wood pellet grill’s performance.  

The majority of Traeger grills have a maximum temperature of up to 400 to 450 degrees. Newer models like the Timberline and Ironwood can get slightly hotter up to 500 degrees. 

If you haven’t been deep cleaning your Traeger grill every 20 to 30 hours of use, ash, grease, soot, and other debris is affecting its thermal performance. Many times thorough deep cleaning of the firepot and carefully cleaning the internal temperature probe is enough to get your Traeger to reach the maximum temp. 

You should also take the time to check the hot rod and the internal fan to ensure they are working correctly. If either one has a problem, you should be able to replace it cheaply and easily.  

If bad weather is preventing your Traeger from reaching the maximum temp, you might need to move it to a protected location and cover it with an insulated grill blanket.

If this still isn’t enough to get it to reach maximum temperature, you might need to increase the P-Setting to get the Traeger to deliver a higher volume of wood pellets to the firepot in a shorter amount of time.  

This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.

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