Traeger Won’t Ignite (Troubleshooting Guide)

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It’s very common for a Traeger grill to have problems with ignition, so if you can’t get your Traeger started for a cook, don’t be worried. If you are looking for ways to troubleshoot your Traeger’s ignition system, you’ve come to the right place.

In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll learn:

  • What to do if your Traeger won’t ignite
  • Reasons your grill won’t ignite
  • And much more!
a traeger grill against a white background

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What Should You Do When Your Traeger Won’t Ignite

If your Traeger grill isn’t lighting up, don’t panic! There are a few simple troubleshooting steps you can try before calling a repairman.

First, make sure the grill is properly plugged in and the outlet is functioning. Check the circuit breaker and reset it if necessary. If the grill still won’t ignite, and you’ve ruled out any external points of failure, there may be an issue with the ignition system.

Read on to learn about some different reasons your Traeger won’t ignite and what you can do about it.

traeger pellet grill in the backyard on the patio

Reasons Your Traeger Grill Won’t Ignite

There are several potential reasons that a Traeger grill won’t ignite. Here are a few common issues and how to go about fixing them:

Not Enough Pellets

Trying to light a Traeger without enough pellets in the hopper could potentially harm the grill, since the burner sparks without anything to ignite. The small number of pellets in the hopper could also burn too fast, creating a smoke not suitable for a longer cook.

A Traeger can burn up to three pounds of pellets per hour, so make sure that your grill is well fed with pellets if you are cooking for a prolonged period. You should also take into account the quality of the pellets you’re using. If they burn unevenly or fail to ignite, your grill will not function correctly.

wood pellets in a pellet smoker hopper

Check the Fire Pot

The fire pot is where your wooden pellets are funneled to be burnt and create that great smoke to cook your food and impart flavor. If the fire pot is clogged, has a large build up of debris, or has other issues, your grill may fail to ignite. This is one of the most common reasons for ignition problems with a Traeger.

In order to clean the fire pot, first make sure that the grill is completely unplugged and powered off. Remove the fire pot and clean it of any debris or clogs. A wire brush or a scraper can be used to scrape off any caked up residue, and a hand vacuum can clear out any loose bits. Once the fire pot is cleaned and cleared of any blockages, make sure you position it correctly back in the grill and try to ignite it once again.

Check the Hot Rod

The hot rod is the component on your Traeger that ignites the pellets in the fire pot. It is also fairly common for this part of the grill to malfunction, so make sure to check on the hot rod next. If the hot rod is not fully functional, you will not be able to ignite your grill.

To check if your hot rod is malfunctioning, remove the grill grate, drip tray and heat baffle from your grill. Then, turn your grill on to the smoke setting and place your hand above the fire pot. If you feel heat, your hot rod is still functioning, if you don’t it is out of order.

If your hot rod is no longer heating up, replacing the component completely may be the most surefire way to solve the problem. However, if your hot rod is heating up, and your grill still won’t ignite, Traeger recommends sliding the rod closer to the center of the fire pot. To replace the hot rod, simply unscrew and disconnect it from the control panel, and replace it with a new one, making sure that it is screwed in and connected properly.

Check the Draft Induction Fan

The induction fan is located under the fire pot and circulates the heat and smoke within your grill, to ensure an even cooking and temperature throughout the whole barrel of your grill. If your induction fan isn’t functioning properly, your grill will not have enough heat to ignite.

The induction fan may sometimes stop functioning correctly if there is a large build up of dirt or grease inside the grill. The fan’s blades could also be blocked by wires or other physical blockages. If this is the case, simply clean your fan and remove any potential blockages, then check if it spins properly.  

If your fan still won’t spin, you may need to completely replace it. Replacing an induction fan is as simple as unscrewing and disconnecting the wires of your old fan and installing the new one in its place. Replacing an induction fan is a fairly simple fix, but you need to make sure that every connection is made tight, so that it can function correctly.

The Auger is Malfunctioning

The auger is the system that pushes the wood pellets into the hopper. If it is not functioning correctly, the pellets will not end up in the fire pot and your grill will not ignite. The auger can sometimes malfunction due to a jam, or if it has been left in the elements for a while.

To check on the auger, turn the grill to smoke mode and check if the auger is spinning correctly. Make sure it is clear of any potential blockages such as old pellets or any other debris. If it is not spinning, it may need to be replaced. Replacing the auger is also simple, simply unscrew and disconnect it from the control panel, and screw in and connect a replacement part.

Replace the Fuse

If the fuse on your control panel is burnt out or disconnected, your grill will fail to ignite properly. This can happen as your grill gets older in age or if it is used frequently for long periods of time. You’ll know that the fuse is the problem if your control panel will not turn on.

To check the fuse, make sure the grill is turned off, then unscrew the control panel from its spot on the grill, and pull it out to inspect the circuit board on the back side. The fuse may look different depending on the exact model of your grill, so be sure to check the grills manual to make sure you know what the fuse looks like. Once you’ve located the fuse, remove it and check if it looks black and burnt out. If so, replace it with a new fuse. You may want to keep a few spare fuses on hand in case of this problem.

Check Control Panel Connections

Sometimes, the connections of the cables used to power each part of the grill can come loose or undone if your grill is moved around a lot.

To check the connections, again make sure that the grill is turned off and unscrew the control panel. Inspect the wires connected to the circuit board and make sure that they are all plugged in properly, with no loose fits. The wires will be different colors. Black corresponds to the power cord, orange is the induction motor, red is the auger motor, and purple connects to the hot rod igniter.

Related >> Traeger Ironwood 885 Review

traeger ironwood 885 with lid open in garage

Tips for Keeping Your Traeger Grill Working Well

Once you have successfully troubleshooted your ignition problems, here are a few steps for upkeep and maintenance with a Traeger grill that will ensure that it works properly and efficiently throughout its lifetime:

Tip #1 Clean the Grill Regularly

Regular cleaning is essential to maintaining the performance of your Traeger grill. After each use, make sure to clean the grates, drip pan, and burn pot. Use a grill brush especially for Treagers to scrub the grates clean and a paper towel to wipe away any excess grease from the drip pan.

To clean the burn pot, unplug the grill and remove the burn pot. Use a wire brush to scrub away any debris, then reattach the burn pot to the grill. You can also use a hand vacuum to get rid of any loose debris in the grill.

Regular cleaning will help prevent build-up and ensure optimal performance.

Related >> How To Clean a Pellet Grill

Tip #2: Use High-Quality Wood Pellets

Using low-quality wood pellets can lead to problems with the ignition and overall performance of the grill. Stick with reputable brands to ensure consistent performance. Avoid using wood pellets that are too wet or clumped together, as these can cause problems with ignition.

Related >> Should You Soak Your Pellets?

Tip #3: Store the Grill Properly

When not in use, make sure to cover the grill and store it in a dry, sheltered area to protect it from the elements. This will help prevent rust and other damage to the grill. If you store the grill outdoors, make sure it’s protected from rain and other weather conditions.

Related >> Can You Use a Pellet Grill in the Winter?

Tip #4: Perform Regular Maintenance

Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule to keep your grill running smoothly. This may include replacing parts like the igniter rod and cleaning the pellet auger. Make sure to check the grill regularly for any loose or damaged parts and address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Tip #5: Use the Grill as Intended

Don’t use your Traeger grill for anything other than its intended purpose. Using the grill for purposes it was not designed for, such as burning trash or other materials, can cause damage and affect its performance.

Tip #6: Use the Correct Fuel Source

Make sure to only use wood pellets in your Traeger grill. Using any other type of fuel, such as charcoal or gas, can cause major damage to the grill.

Related >> Can You Use Charcoal in a Pellet Grill?

Tip #7: Fill the Hopper Properly

It’s important to only fill the hopper with the recommended amount of wood pellets. Overfilling the hopper can cause the grill to ignite improperly and may lead to problems with the ignition system. It’s also important not to underfill the hopper. As mentioned before, lighting the ignition system without a sufficient amount of fuel could also harm the grill.

Related >> What To Do if You Run Out of Pellets While Smoking

Tip #8: Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Make sure to read the owner’s manual carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using and maintaining your Traeger grill. This will help ensure optimal performance and prevent damage to the grill.

Tip #9: Check for Leaks

Periodically check for any leaks in the fuel system, such as around the pellet auger or burn pot. If you notice a leak, address it promptly to prevent further damage.

Following these tips will keep your Traeger grill performing at its best for years to come.

Hope Davis

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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