Why Does My Traeger Keep Shutting Off?

Key Takeaways:

  • Cold weather, wind, obstructed vents, and power surges are common causes of Traeger grills shutting off.
  • Issues with the fire pot, pellet feed, and meat probe can also lead to unexpected shut downs.
  • Try troubleshooting solutions like cleaning the fire pot, ensuring proper pellet flow, and checking connections.
  • Relocating the grill to a sheltered area or using a thermal blanket can help in cold climates.
  • Contact Traeger customer support if you are unable to resolve the issue through troubleshooting.

Traeger grills are designed to provide succulent, smoky barbecue flavor in a convenient, user-friendly package. However, one of the most frustrating issues Traeger owners face is when the grill unexpectedly shuts itself off during the middle of cooking.

Nothing can ruin an anticipated meal more than opening the grill lid expecting beautifully caramelized meat, only to find the grill has switched itself off. Before you kick your Traeger in anger or call the manufacturer in a rage, take a deep breath and consider what may be causing the sudden shut downs.

In many cases, there are relatively simple explanations and fixes for why your Traeger keeps shutting off unexpectedly. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the most common culprits and provide actionable troubleshooting tips to get your grill back up and smoking in no time.

Why Is My Traeger Shutting Off – Common Causes

There are a handful of usual suspects that cause Traeger grills to shut themselves down during operation, including:

Is the Cold Weather or Wind Shutting Off Your Traeger?

Traeger grills, as with all pellet grills, can be sensitive to operating in very cold or windy exterior conditions. The combination of low temperatures and wind cooling the grill can make it difficult for the fire pot to maintain sufficient heat to keep pellet combustion going consistently.

As a safety precaution against potential fire hazards or malfunctions, the grill will shut itself down if it has trouble maintaining the right temperature in cold weather conditions. Wind blowing across the grill has an additional cooling effect that can compound the issue.

Is a Blocked Fire Pot Causing Your Traeger to Shut Off?

The fire pot is the heart of any pellet grill, housing the igniter rod and holding the wood pellets which provide fuel for cooking. Over time, residual ash can build up and clog the fire pot, restricting proper air flow and combustion.

If the fire pot becomes overly congested with ash, it can prevent the igniter from heating up sufficiently to light the pellets on fire consistently. The grill may start up and run for a short time before shutting back down due to problems with the fire pot.

Do You Have Pellet Feed Issues?

For the fire pot to work properly, it needs a constant supply of fresh wood pellets entering from the feed system or auger. Problems with the auger jamming or failing to deliver pellets can starve the fire of fuel, causing it to weaken and shut off the grill.

A jam in the auger, foreign debris blocking the feed chute, or electronic issues with the feed motor can all halt pellet flow to the fire pot, resulting in the grill powering down as the fire dies out from lack of new fuel.

Is the Meat Probe Malfunctioning?

Many Traeger grills come equipped with a meat probe built into the controller panel which enables setting custom cook temperatures based on internal meat doneness. If this probe becomes disconnected, damaged, or otherwise fails, it can trip the safety controls and cause the grill to power down.

Double check that the meat probe is properly connected to the control board if you have one installed. Swapping in a replacement meat probe may be required if the original is faulty or damaged.

Did a Power Surge Cause the Traeger to Shut Off?

As with any sophisticated electrical appliance, power surges or fluctuations can cause issues with operation. Traeger grills have built-in controls that will shut the grill down as a protective measure if a major power disruption is detected.

This automatic shutdown helps prevent short circuits or electrical damage to sensitive components. Simply wait for power to stabilize and restart the grill normally once any surges have passed and electricity has normalized.

Are You Using the Wrong Fuel Pellets?

Traeger grills are designed and calibrated to only use proprietary Traeger brand wood pellets in order to control fuel quality. Using third-party or lower grade pellets in the grill is a very common factor leading to performance issues and malfunctions.

With improper fuel pellets, you may experience weak combustion, lowered heat output, jammed augers, or any number of other problems that can ultimately lead to abrupt grill shutdowns. Always use Traeger brand pellets specifically formulated for your grill.

Could an Obstructed Vent be Causing Problems?

Proper airflow both into and out of the grill is critical for maintaining the right combustion conditions. Both the combustion fan intake vent along the bottom of the grill, and the chimney exhaust vent on top must remain unobstructed.

If either of these vents becomes blocked by debris or nesting insects, it can restrict oxygen supply to the fire pot and cause the grill to lose adequate heating capacity, eventually shutting down when it can no longer sustain the fire. Periodically inspect and clean these vents if necessary.

Now that you understand what factors most commonly cause Traeger pellet grills to shut off unexpectedly, let’s go through some troubleshooting steps you can take to identify and resolve the issue when it happens to your grill.

Troubleshooting Traeger Shutdown Problems

If you’re experiencing repeated or spontaneous power down issues with your Traeger grill, work through these troubleshooting tips sequentially until you isolate the specific problem:

Relocate the Grill to a Sheltered Area

If you live or are grilling in a colder northern climate, the first thing to try is moving the grill out of direct wind and into a more protected area, such as under an outdoor overhang or patio cover. You can also group items like chairs, plants, or other objects around the grill to help block wind exposure.

This may allow the grill to maintain heat consistency and continue running uninterrupted, even in chilly weather.

Use a Grill Blanket or Cover

In very cold temperatures, you can place a heavy duty thermal welding blanket or purpose-made grill cover over your Traeger when not in use to retain more passive heat. The retained warmth gives the grill a head start when firing up, reducing struggle to ignite and maintain the fire pot. Just be sure to remove any coverings before lighting.

Clean Out the Fire Pot

Sometimes the simplest solutions do the trick. Carefully remove any cooking grates or heat shields to expose the fire pot interior. Once cool, brush out any accumulated ash, dried grease, or other debris that may have collected in the fire pot. Scrape off any clinkers or residue on the igniter rod as well. A clean fire pot frees up proper airflow for combustion.

Check for Pellet Feed Blockages

Inspect along the entire pellet feed chute and auger for any visible obstructions that could be jamming flow. Look inside for any foreign objects like sticks or rocks that may have entered the hopper and cleared them out. Ensure the exit hole where pellets drop into the fire pot is clean and unblocked too. Removing obstructions restores smooth pellet intake.

Ensure Proper Pellet Flow

Even after cleaning the feed system, continue monitoring pellet flow during subsequent grill startups. Check that pellets are dropping into the fire pot at a steady rate once the grill ignites. If the pellet flow seems sluggish or inconsistent, further mechanical adjustments may be needed, or you may need to replace the feed motor.

Verify Meat Probe Connections

For grills with a built-in meat probe, carefully inspect that the cables are properly plugged all the way into the control board receptacle. Look for any damage to the probe wires that may be causing connectivity issues. If the meat probe and cables check out fine, the probe itself may need replacing if it is not functioning correctly.

Let Power Surges Pass

For cases where you strongly suspect a power surge was the culprit in the shutdown, simply wait 10-15 minutes to give your home’s electricity time to stabilize, then restart the grill as normal. The controller should reset and allow the grill to resume function after any temporary disruptions have passed. Consider plugging the grill into a surge protector in the future.

Switch to Traeger Brand Pellets

Experiment to see if the problem persists when using 100% genuine Traeger pellets, purchased directly from an authorized Traeger dealer if possible to guarantee authenticity. Many grill issues can be chalked up to low quality or improper pellets in the hopper. Always stick to the recommended fuel source for your specific model.

Check for Vent Blockages

Peek under the grill cabinet to make sure the intake fan vent is unobstructed and clear of debris. Look down into the chimney exhaust vent as well if you can do so safely, and use a long bristle brush to clear out any buildup of ash, nesting materials, grease, or other accumulations if present. Keeping both vents open enables proper temperature regulation.

When to Call Traeger Support

If you have worked through all of the troubleshooting tips above, including isolating variables like weather, pellets, and vent blockages, but find the grill still continues shutting down prematurely, it may be time to request technical support.

Contact Traeger’s customer service department directly to explain the issue. Be prepared to provide the grill model number, date of purchase, and a full timeline of events leading up to the problem. Traeger may request you email photos or videos documenting the abnormal shutdowns as well.

With this information submitted, their support team can better diagnose if your shutdowns stem from an underlying grill defect covered by the warranty, and determine the proper solution whether it be replacement parts or recommending qualified service.

Getting professional assistance from the manufacturer takes the guesswork out of resolving shutdown problems and ensures your grill gets back on track to delivering perfect smoked barbecue results quickly and reliably.

Preventing Unexpected Shutdowns

While occasional Traeger shutdowns are bound to happen despite your best efforts, implementing some proactive maintenance and usage practices can significantly reduce the chances of malfunctions disrupting your cooks.

Keep the Grill Protected from Weather

Find a sheltered location for your Traeger that avoids prevailing wind or rainfall exposure which exaggerate heat loss. Place a grill cover over the unit whenever not in use for long periods. Avoid grilling in extremely cold weather if possible.

Perform Regular Cleaning

Make fire pot cleaning a part of your standard grill maintenance routine. Remove grease and ash buildup before it gets severe enough to impact performance. Keep the pellet hopper clean and empty of debris as well.

Buy High Quality Pellets

Always stick to 100% genuine Traeger pellets to prevent combustion or heating difficulties. Lower tier or generic pellets often cause issues. Only use fuel specifically recommended for your grill model.

Check Component Connections

Inspect wires, probes, sensors, and other connections on a periodic basis to catch any potentials issue spots early, and ensure all points integrate properly together allowing normal operation.

Install a Surge Protector

Adding a reputable surge protector into the power outlet chain supplying electricity to your grill provides critical protection against power spikes that commonly disrupt electronic devices.

Firing Up the Grill Successfully Again

Having your grill power down unexpectedly, especially mid-cook, is incredibly frustrating for any barbecue aficionado. Thankfully by methodically troubleshooting the most common underlying issues, you can get to the bottom of your Traeger’s shutdown problems.

Pay special attention to fire pot cleanliness, pellet quality, weather factors, vent blockages, meat probe connections, and electrical issues. Addressing the true root cause will stop the shutdown cycle and have you flipping juicy burgers and smoking tender brisket again in no time.

With the savory smell of wood-fired cooking filling the air once more, you can fully appreciate the satisfaction of having revived your prized grill and continue enjoying quintessential Traeger barbecue experiences for years to come. Now get outside and fire it up!


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