Why is My Traeger Not Igniting
Trager grills are a top choice for both grill masters and beginners. They have excellent build, consistent performance, and easy-to-use controls. However, one thing Traeger grills owners complain about is ignition problems. Similar to other grills, Traeger grills need time to heat up to work correctly.
Ignition problems could be due to a damaged auger motor, wet pellets, low-quality pellets, faulty induction fan, dirty firepot, and a defective hot rod. If you’re having trouble getting your Traeger grill to ignite, read the troubleshooting guide to help you detect and solve issues preventing your grill from igniting.
How long should it take for my Traeger to ignite?
A functional Traeger grill takes about five minutes to ignite and establish with the lid open. However, there are factors that determine the ignition time of a Traeger grill, such as size, shape, and weather. For instance:
- Traditional Traeger grills will take a little more time to ignite and start than the modern ones with WiFIRE technology.
- Traeger grills come in varying models, with two distinct designs; open lid startup grill and closed lid startup grill. If set to the recommended temperature, the open lid startup models will take about 4 to 6 minutes to light and establish. If you set a low temperature, it will take longer to ignite.
- On the other hand, the closed-lid startup model takes about 10 to 25 minutes to establish. Also, if you set the igniter incorrectly, the ignition time will be longer.
- If your model has the WiFIRE technology, it might take 2 to 3 minutes for the grill to preheat properly.
Why is my Traeger taking forever to ignite?
After the ignition time has elapsed, you should hear the grill’s fan start to help maintain and strengthen the flame in the grill. If you do not hear this sound, there are problems with the grill’s components or assembly. If your Traeger grills are taking too long to ignite, here are some of the most common reasons and how to fix them.
Incorrect starting procedure
Igniting a Traeger grill for the first time is not difficult. But it may take forever if you’re using the wrong procedure. So here’s how to do it correctly.
- Pour some pellets into the hopper without filling it up.
- Plug in your grill to a working power outlet.
- Press the temperature control dial to turn on the Traeger grill.
- Select “Auger” from the menu and choose “Prime Auger.”
- Once you see pellets falling into the fire pot, select “Done” to switch off the auger.
- Turn the temperature dial to 350°F. It’s normal for your grill to start smoking.
- Once your grill gets to 350°F, leave it for 20 minutes before increasing the temperature to 450°F and leave it for an additional 30 minutes.
- Press and hold the knob for 3 seconds to turn off the grill.
- Once the shutdown cycle finishes, your grill has been seasoned and is ready for use.
If your wood pellets are damp or old, they will take longer to ignite. Try letting the pellets sit out for a bit so they can be dryer and easier to ignite.
If the issue persists, there may not be enough pellets for ignition. Traeger grills use up to three pounds of wood pellets per hour. Two-20-pound bags of quality wood pellets will let your grill for about 13 to 40 hours, depending on the size of your grill.
Quality is another factor. Traeger recommends their users use top-notch wood pellets with low moisture content to ensure the grills work as expected. Running the grills on low-quality pellets will affect ignition time, and when the grill starts, they’ll burn unevenly, thus affecting your cooking experience and product. We recommend using the Traeger grill wood pellets, which come in a mix of hickory and signature blend pellets.
If drying the pellets doesn’t work, there is likely an issue with the igniter. The igniter can accumulate dirt, debris, and oils over time, making it more difficult to heat the pellets. So first, try unblocking the ignitor; replace it if it’s too clogged. Fortunately, the igniter in Traeger grills is an easy part to replace yourself with the help of a few simple tools.
Faulty induction fan
The induction fans in your Traeger grills help circulate the heat, prevent overheating the exterior, and maintain pressure inside the grill. Traeger also has a sensor that prevents the grill from starting if the induction fan has broken. This is because running the grill without a fan can cause further damage. Fortunately, you can easily replace the induction fan if your Traeger grill takes forever to ignite or isn’t igniting at all.
Electrical power runs the induction fan, ignitors, auger, and hot rod. So if there is not enough power coming into the Traeger grill, it will take too long to ignite or won’t ignite at all. Avoid extension cords or splitters as they reduce current supply and increase ignition time.
You can also check the GFCI the grills plug into. Power overflow can trip the GFCI or the breaker in the breaker box. If this happens when plugging in the grills, something on the grill is malfunctioning, or the breaker isn’t adequate for the grill. To fix this:
- Unplug the grill, reset the breaker, then plug it in again to check if the breaker trips. If it trips, tighten every wire on the grill and look for blown fuses. Then replace any blown fuses.
- Move your grill closer to an outlet so you don’t have to use extension cords.
Damaged hot rods
The hot rods heat the grill and keep the wood pellets hot the whole grilling time. If the hot rods are broken or don’t get warm, the grills will take longer to ignite. This is a common issue if you’ve been using your Traeger grills for a few years. Excess rain, sunlight, moisture, and prolonged use will run down the hot rods. If you notice the hot rods are damaged, corroded, or clogged, replace them.
The auger in your grills is responsible for turning the wood pellets and pushing them into the hopper. So the wood pellets won’t ignite if the auger fails. Usually, augers are long-lasting since they don’t become as hot as other internal components in the grill. But a clog can lock the hopper or cause it to turn too slowly, thus causing slow ignition. So first, check if the auger is turning on its usual 15-second cycle. If it’s not spinning or spinning slowly, replace it.
Your grills will get cold during cold weather; hence take longer to ignite the pellets. This is because the heat the igniter produces flows through the grill’s metal before reaching the wood pellets. So help your grill light more quickly, move it away from open air if possible to reduce exposure to cold heat, then preheat it for 10-15 minutes before adding your pellets.
New Traeger won’t ignite.
Traeger makes quality grills; however, it’s normal for a new Traeger to take a bit longer to ignite than an older model. This is because new Traeger models have stringent emission control, which can prolong ignition time. But if your new grill refuses to ignite completely, you probably assembled it wrongly, or it got damaged on transit.
Here’s how you can troubleshoot a new Traeger grill that won’t ignite:
- First, ensure the power outlet your grills plugs into is working. The grill should be receiving 110V of power. However, smaller models like the Traeger tailgater will use a 12V to 110V inverter. Then check if the breaker in your breaker box has tripped. If resetting the breaker doesn’t work, look for a blown fuse and replace it.
- Inspect the power cable; sometimes, rodents can chew through the cable. If it is torn or broken, replace it.
- Ensure you’re using quality wood pellets with low moisture content.
- If none of the above solutions work, check the fuse on the back of the control panel. Unplug the grills and then unscrew the control panel on your grill. Sometimes, power surges can blow out the fuse in your Traeger grill and prevent it from restarting. If the fuse is black, the fuse wire has burned through, and you will need to replace it with a new 5A cylinder fuse.
- Replace the control panel and plug the grill again. If the control panel doesn’t turn on, the control panel is faulty and needs replacing.
- If the control panel turns on, turn the temperature dial to the ‘Off’ setting and shift it to the ‘Smoke’ function.
- The grill’s LCD screen will illuminate and show you everything is okay. If the GFCI trips again, contact Traeger customer support.
Traeger won’t ignite after running out of pellets.
The Traeger pellet grill uses wood pellets as fuel for the fire. Without the pellets, the grill won’t work. When your grills run out of pellets, it gradually cools down and eventually go off. Turning on your Traeger grills after it runs out of pellets is easy. Here’s what to do when it fails to re-ignite:
- First, you need to observe the grill’s temperature. If the grill is still at the set temperature, refill the hopper, and the grill should re-ignite.
- On the other hand, if your grill has already dropped in temperature, you will notice the LER error code on display, which means the hopper has no pellets. If you simply refill the hopper and ignite the Traeger grill without cleaning it first, you’re likely to run into more issues. Here’s how to restart a Traeger after running out of pellets, and don’t skip any steps:
- Remove your food from the grill, turn off the grill and allow the grill to cool down.
- Pull out the grate, drip tray, and heat baffle.
- Use a vacuum to clear out the firepot and inside of the grill.
- Fill the hopper with pellets and wait for the auger to fill up with pellets. The grill will start emitting smoke but do not set the temperature before the emission starts.
- Turn the grill on and set the temperature to ‘High.’
- Turn off the grill after five pellets fall into the firepot.
- Reassemble the pellet grill and then restart your grill using the regular ignition sequence.
- If the Traeger grills refuse to turn on, either the firepot is full of ash or unburned pellets. When refilling the grill, you need to clean out the firepot completely. Turning the grill back on without clearing the firepot completely will prevent the grill from igniting. If the firepot is full of unburned wood pellets, it will explode into a large fire once the pellets light up.
- Tunneling can also prevent your grill from restarting after running out of pellets.
- Tunneling occurs when the hopper feeds all the pellets to the middle of the grill, with a lot still left on the sides. Then, when pellets feed into the augur, they don’t’ fill into the space above them and form a hole or tunnel in the hopper. This will prevent pellets from going into the augur, and with no pellets coming in, the grill won’t ignite.
- If your wood pellets are clumping together, try stirring them with a long spatula to break down the clumps.
- Also, try opening the hopper occasionally during a long grill to even out the pellets as they descend into the hopper and prevent tunneling. You can also prevent tunneling by applying a silicon lubricant on the sides of the hopper wall.
Slow Ignition Warning, Please check pellets: Meaning, causes, and fixes
You will see the warning message “Slow Ignition Please Check Pellets” on the display panel of your Traeger if it’s taking longer to ignite. This warning message means that the pellets in the hopper are either wet or dirty. You need to clean out the old pellets, vacuum the hopper and pour in new pellets from the new bag.
Contrarily, in the WiFIRE-enabled grill, the slow ignition error is an alert that needs no action. The message means the grill is taking longer to reach the set temperature. This usually happens when the grill doesn’t have a significant temperature increase after 15 minutes or an overfilled firepot. You will notice that your grills will overshoot before leveling out after this message appears on display.
How to tell if Traeger hot rod is bad
The Traeger hot rods deliver the heat your need to cook your food evenly. Unfortunately, over time, the hot rods become rusty and deformed due to exposure to the elements and use. If the hot rod doesn’t heat up, you will not achieve the temperature you want to cook your food. Fortunately, it’s easy to know when your Traeger hot rod has gone bad. Check for the following ways to know if your Traeger hot rod is defective.
- Turn on the Traeger grill and set the temperature dial to the ‘Smoke” setting.
- Place your hand over the firepot, making sure you don’t touch it with your hand.
- The Traeger hot rod is faulty if you don’t feel the heat coming out of your grill.
- You can test the Traeger hot rod manually using the following steps:
- First, turn the grill off and unplug it from the power outlet.
- Next, disconnect the Molex connector of fiberglass-wrapped wires from the purple and white Molex connector.
- The switch on your Traeger smoker and run it for 5 minutes, then check if it works properly.
- If the hot rod fails to become hot, contact Traeger customer service.
- Next, go back to the Molex connector of the hot rod’s high-heat fabric wires and unplug the orange wires.
- Reconnect the wires.
- Turn on the grill and wait 3 minutes to see if the hot rod heats up.
Traeger grills have proven to be among the best in the market. However, like any grill, they do develop issues. Several factors cause ignition issues in your Trager grills, such as improper use, weather, defective grill parts, or power supply issues. Our article above will help you understand why your Trager failed to ignite and how to deal with those issues.