A Traeger grill getting too hot is a common problem in many homes, irrespective of the type or model. But this problem has many potential causes, and you need to investigate every issue to prevent your Traeger grill from overheating. So, why is your Traeger grill getting too hot?
A Traeger grill usually gets too hot due to an initial flare-up, high ambient temperature, or broken thermocouple. Also, your Traeger grill may have a faulty auger motor, induction fan, hot rod, or control board. Sometimes, the pellets and firmware could be the problem.
Traeger grills display the real-time temperature on the LED panel, so fluctuations of 20 °F (5 °C) or so from the selected heat setting are not a concern. However, you may find your Traeger grill getting hotter by a hundred degrees or more. Read on to know all the causes so that you can fix them.
1. The Firepot Has a Flare-Up at the Start
A Traeger grill may have an initial flare-up as you start the appliance if the firepot has leftover pellets. Also, if the pellets are moist or of poor quality and take too long to ignite, there may be plenty of them by the time you have a proper fire. Thus, the initial ignition could cause a flare-up.
How To Fix
Remove the partially burnt pellets, then clean and vacuum the firepot. Starting with a clean and empty firepot is the easiest way to prevent an initial flare-up. Also, your Traeger grill manual contains comprehensive instructions about the initial firing. Ideally, you should always follow this guide.
2. The Ambient Temperature Is Too High
Traeger grills can get too hot when the ambient temperature is extremely high. Normally, the grill with its RTD (resistance temperature detector) should regulate the internal temperature, but hot summer days are not particularly forgiving. So, you must calibrate the grill based on your needs.
How To Fix
Adjust the P-Setting on your Traeger grill. This setting regulates how long the auger should pause before you can feed new pellets into the firepot. You will find the following P-Settings on your grill:
- P-0: 45 seconds pause.
- P-1: 55 seconds pause.
- P-2: 65 seconds pause.
- P-3: 75 seconds pause.
- P-4: 85 seconds pause.
- P-5: 95 seconds pause.
The default setting is usually P-2. Increase it to P-3 or P-4, as necessary. P-5 may be required if your grill is too hot in smoke mode. Otherwise, the maximum P-Setting may not sustain a fire.
Here are the steps to change the P-Setting:
- Look for the tiny hole in the control panel next to the LED display. If you see a black round sticker, remove it to access the P-Setting hole.
- Use a pen, paperclip, drill bit, or screwdriver to poke the calibrator inside the hole. The first poke should display the current or default P-Setting.
- Poke once to increase the setting to P-3 or twice to select P-4. You may go up to P-5 in rare cases, but watch if the fire sustains.
3. The Rtd or Thermocouple Is Dirty or Broken
The resistance temperature detector (RTD) in Traeger grills is a thermocouple. A dirty or broken thermocouple will not sense the temperature correctly. Thus, your grill will continue to heat when it should sustain the attained temperature. This problem is quite common in most grills.
How To Fix
Clean the thermocouple or RTD with a clean rag or lint-free microfiber cloth. If the sensor is too sooty and grimy, use a scrub pad, hard-bristled brush, or sandpaper to do the cleaning. However, if the thermocouple is broken or damaged, you need to replace this essential sensor.
4. The Removable Components Are Not in the Grill
Most Traeger grills have the following components:
- Grill grate
- Drip pan
- Heat baffle
These three components must be inside the grill and properly aligned for your Traeger to heat and function efficiently. Sans these parts, your grill will have fewer components to absorb the heat generated by the fire. Therefore, your grill may get too hot.
How To Fix
Check if the removable parts are inside the grill and perfectly aligned. Also, clean these parts frequently, especially the drip pan or grease tray and grill grate. Soot and grime inside a grill can affect the heat buildup, thus you may see a temperature spike beyond the selected setting.
5. One or More Removable Parts Are Damaged
Discoloration and minor warping of the main parts shouldn’t cause a Traeger grill to overheat. However, any serious damage, such as rusted and corroded components, holes in the drip pan or heat baffle, and other such structural deterioration, can lead to overheating.
How To Fix
Identify the part with significant damage and replace it. You can start with the grill grate, drip pan, and heat baffle. Also, check the firepot to see if it is properly aligned and has no structural damage. Anything that lets more heat through from the firepot can spike the temperature.
6. A Critical Component Is Malfunctioning
If none of the above issues explain why your Traeger grill is getting too hot, one of the following critical components is malfunctioning:
- Control board
- Hot rod
- Auger motor
- Induction fan
A malfunctioning auger motor will continue to feed pellets into the firepot even when it should pause. Thus, you will have a flare-up, which can happen at the start, while cooking, or at any stage. In most cases, the auger motor fails to stop due to a faulty control board.
Likewise, a malfunctioning control board may fail to regulate the induction fan. Generally, the fan should be running even after the auger stops feeding the pellets so that the firepot can burn all the wood before the next cycle. If the fan stops, the firepot may contain excess pellets and thus flare-up.
Similarly, if the hot rod is inefficient or failing, the igniter will take longer to light a fire. Meanwhile, the firepot will have more pellets fed by the auger. Hence, the grill may have a larger fire than necessary for the selected temperature.
How To Fix
Detect the failing component and replace it. Here are the standard solutions:
- Replace a bad control board as it is irreparable. However, check if all the other critical components are working fine before buying a new control board.
- Expose a bit more of a failing hot rod inside the firepot or replace it. You can watch the video below for reference.
- Check if the auger motor and induction fan are wired correctly. If these wires are swapped, the fan will stop before the auger motor.
- Replace a faulty induction fan if cleaning it doesn’t fix its efficiency. Make sure to match the part number when you buy a replacement.
Here’s how to increase an inefficient hot rod’s exposure in a Traeger grill firepot:
Check for firmware and app updates if you have a Traeger WiFIRE grill to avert inaccurate heat regulation. Also, use dry & quality pellets as recommended by Traeger. Finally, clean the grill and align the critical parts properly, i.e., the firepot, heat baffle, sensor, etc., to prevent overheating.