Can Pellet Grills Explode? (How to Prevent a Fire!)

You’ve probably heard rumors that pellet grills can explode…but are they true? We have the answer in this article. 

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • Whether or not pellet grills can explode
  • How to properly shut down your pellet grill 
  • And much more

Can Pellet Grills Explode?

Pellet grills are great for grilling and smoking, but you’ve probably also heard that it is possible for them to explode. But is this rumor fact or fiction?

It’s true, pellet grills do have the potential to explode, especially when they are shut down improperly. But if you read your owner’s manual and use your pellet grill as directed, it is unlikely you will have an issue with your pellet grill exploding. 

Want to learn more about preventing your pellet grill from exploding? Let’s look at why pellet grills can explode and what you can do to keep your investment safe. 

And if you’re in the market for a new model, check out our guide on the best pellet smokers.

Related >> Can You Use an Extension Cord for a Pellet Grill?

Are Pellet Grills a Fire Hazard?

Although there is a slight risk of a fire when using a pellet grill, it’s important to know that these explosions or fires only happen when the pellet grill is used improperly. If you follow all the directions and always start up and shut down your pellet grill as directed, you shouldn’t have to worry about it exploding. 

Related >> How to Put Out a Grill Fire + Grill Fire Prevention Tips

But, just like with any grill, it is a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your home just in case anything were ever to happen. 

Here’s how to start your pellet grill properly.

Pellet Grills Can Explode: Here’s How to Avoid It

The idea of your pellet grill exploding is a scary thought! You can avoid it, though, just by taking some small precautions as you use your pellet grill. 

Shut Down Your Pellet Grill Properly

The main reason pellet grills explode is because they are shut down improperly. After you set up your pellet grill, take the time to read the owner’s manual to ensure you know the proper start-up and shut-down sequences for your pellet grill. 

Despite common belief, you cannot just “pull the plug” when you are done using your pellet grill. There is actually a proper shutdown procedure that must be followed to keep your pellet grill from exploding. If you just “pull the plug,” the flame won’t be extinguished, and it could travel through the auger and back into the pellet hopper, causing a large fire. 

Related >> Can You Cook on the Smoke Setting of a Pellet Grill?

Check Your Fire Pot Before Starting Up

Just because you always take the proper precautions when shutting down and starting up your pellet grill, this doesn’t mean that other things can’t happen. Maybe there was a power outage at your home, or maybe someone else used your grill while you were away. Either way, check the fire pot before starting the grill again to ensure it is empty. 

If it isn’t empty, perform a quick clean and remove the unburned pellets before starting it up to ensure you can do so safely! 

Related >> Pellet Grill Keeps Shutting Off? (Flame Out Troubleshooting)

Clean Your Pellet Grill Regularly

Another cause of pellet grill explosions is a fire pot which has a buildup of pellets and excess ash. While you don’t need to clean the fire pot after every single use, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning it regularly, and by that, we mean weekly or every 3ish cooking sessions. Allow the pellet grill to cool down, then use a vacuum to get all the excess bits out of the fire pot!

Related >> How To Clean a Pellet Grill

Run Your Pellet Grill From a Generator

This might seem a little out there, but if you live in an area that is frequently affected by power outages, then it is a good idea to run your pellet grill off of a generator. This way, you won’t have to worry about the power going out and your pellet grill exploding while you are not in the vicinity! 

Related >> Can You Use A Pellet Grill In The Rain?

Maintain Your Grill

Grill maintenance is essential, especially as your grill gets older. If you clean it regularly, you shouldn’t have too much maintenance to perform, but every now and then, it’s a good idea to take an in-depth look at your grill. If you see any rust or other signs of damage, it’s a good idea to replace the damaged part before using your grill again! 

Related >> Pellet Grill Tips & Tricks

Inspect Anything Abnormal

There have been stories of people having their pellet grill shut down, and they think it’s because they are out of pellets, so they add more pellets and start it back up only to find out the fire pot wasn’t empty, and then they have a large fire on their hands. 

If your pellet grill ever shuts down on its own, inspect the fire pot, hopper, and auger before starting it back up. This will take some time, and you will need to move your food indoors while you do this. But it will be worth it to not have your food on fire due to an explosion! 

Related >> Can I Leave My Pellet Grill Unattended?

How to Shut Down a Pellet Grill Properly

As mentioned above, shutting down a pellet grill properly is essential for ensuring it doesn’t explode. While the exact directions will vary from grill to grill, below are some basic instructions to get you out of a pinch!

Step 1: Clear the Food From the Grill

Remove any leftover food from the grill and place it in the fridge. 

Step 2: Turn the Grill to Shutdown

Your pellet grill should have a setting that says “cool down” or “shut down cycle” turn the dial to this setting and wait for about 15-20 minutes. If you cannot locate a shutdown cycle button, check your manual. Some pellet grills (mainly Traeger) use a non-marked button which you have to press and hold to initiate the shutdown cycle. 

Related >> How to Manually Light a Pellet Grill: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 3: Wait

Continue to wait until you hear the fan shut off. Once the fan shuts off, it is safe to turn the dial to off. (Note that some grills make take as long as 30 minutes for the fan to shut off)

Step 4: Unplug the Grill

After turning the dial to off, you can unplug your grill and move it to where you wish to store it until your next smoking session. 

Related >> Can I Leave My Pellet Grill Plugged In?

What Do You Do if Your Pellet Grill Catches Fire?

No matter how careful you may be, it is still possible your pellet grill catches fire. When this happens, immediately do the following.

  • Step back.
  • Do not open the lid or the pellet hopper.
  • Move the grill away from buildings or people, if able.
  • Do not pour water or flour on the fire. (You can use a fire extinguisher if you have one on hand).
  • Wait for the fire to go out (it should go out on its own).
  • If the fire is growing larger or is in danger of hurting you or your home, call 911 immediately. 

It’s important to remember that any fire in your pellet grill should be considered a grease fire. This means dumping water or flour on the grill will not help.

Related >> Are Pellet Grills HOA Approved?

Photo of author

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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