Why Is My Traeger Not Heating Up Properly?

If your Traeger wood pellet grill isn’t reaching the desired temperature, don’t worry. A few common issues could be preventing your smoker from heating up fully.


When a Traeger not heating up sufficiently, it’s often due to a faulty hot rod, poor airflow, ash buildup, or problems with the induction fan, wood pellets, or temperature probe. Thoroughly cleaning the grill, replacing worn-out components, and using high-quality hardwood pellets can usually resolve heating issues and get your Traeger back to optimal performance.

Troubleshooting a Traeger Not Heating Up

Faulty Hot Rod

The hot rod is responsible for igniting the wood pellets in the firepot. If it has worn out after extensive use, it may prevent the grill from generating enough heat.

To troubleshoot:

  1. Turn the grill on to a high temperature setting (450°F+).
  2. Wait 4-5 minutes and check if the hot rod is glowing red.
  3. If the hot rod doesn’t glow red hot within a few minutes, it likely needs to be replaced.

Poor Airflow

Adequate airflow is essential for the pellets to ignite and the grill to generate heat. If ash builds up excessively in the firepot, it can block the air holes and restrict airflow. An over-tightened chimney cap can also limit air intake.

To troubleshoot:

  1. Turn off and unplug the grill.
  2. Remove the grill grates, drip pan and heat baffle.
  3. Check for ash buildup in the firepot. Vacuum out any excess ash.
  4. Ensure the chimney cap isn’t screwed on too tightly.

Induction Fan Issues

The induction fan draws air into the firepot and circulates heat and smoke through the grill. If it isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to temperature problems.

To troubleshoot:

  1. Check the induction fan for grease buildup.
  2. Clean the fan blades if dirty.
  3. Spin the fan manually to ensure it rotates freely.
  4. If the fan still isn’t working, it may need to be replaced.

Low-Quality Wood Pellets

Low-quality or moisture-laden wood pellets won’t produce as much heat as dry hardwood pellets.

To troubleshoot:

  1. Make sure you are using dry, high-quality hardwood pellets designed for Traeger grills.
  2. Check the pellets for any signs of moisture or deterioration.
  3. Replace any moist or low-quality pellets with fresh, high-quality pellets.

Other Component Failures

Other possible causes of insufficient heating include a defective RTD temperature probe or problems with the auger that feeds pellets into the firepot.

To troubleshoot:

  1. Examine the auger to make sure it’s feeding pellets into the firepot. Remove any jams.
  2. If the grill still fails to heat up properly after checking all other components, the RTD probe may be faulty.
  3. Contact Traeger customer support for further assistance with component failures.
Traeger Not Heating Up

How Often Should Hot Rod Be Replaced

According to Traeger, the hot rod should be replaced every 1-2 years depending on usage. However, if your hot rod is functioning properly, there’s no need to replace it preemptively.

Signs that your hot rod may need replacing include:

  • Grill fails to ignite or takes a long time to heat up
  • Hot rod doesn’t glow red hot even after several minutes
  • Visible damage or wear on the hot rod

If you experience any of these issues, replace the hot rod to ensure optimal grill performance.

How To Replace A Bad Hot Rod

If your hot rod needs replacing, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the grill and remove the grill grates, drip pan, and heat baffle.
  2. Locate the hot rod under the firepot and disconnect the wires.
  3. Remove the mounting screws and take out the old hot rod.
  4. Insert the new hot rod and secure it with the mounting screws.
  5. Reconnect the wires and reassemble the grill components.
  6. Plug in the grill and test the new hot rod.

If you are unsure about replacing the hot rod yourself, contact Traeger customer support for assistance.

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While it can be frustrating when your Traeger grill doesn’t heat up fully, the fix is usually straightforward. By troubleshooting each potential cause step-by-step, you can often identify and resolve the issue yourself. This may involve cleaning the grill, replacing a faulty hot rod, ensuring proper airflow, using quality pellets, or checking on other key components. However, if problems persist after going through the troubleshooting process, it’s best to contact Traeger customer support for further guidance. With proper maintenance and care, your Traeger grill will continue to deliver amazing wood-fired flavor for years to come.