Pellet grills, such as Traegers, are incredibly convenient cooking machines that make smoking enjoyable and easy.
However, there is a little bit of occasional maintenance to make sure the pellet grill continues to run smoothly.
Pellet grills, such as Traegers, need to have the ash vacuumed out of the firepot and grill to continue to operate smoothly. Pellet grill firepots should be vacuumed out every 2-3 sessions. Firepots full of ash will smother the fire which will cause the cooking temperature to drop mid-session.
So let’s quickly cover how to clean out the firepot so you can get back to smoking your food and here’s a video tutorial I made where I clean out my Traeger’s firepot:
What Is A Firepot In Pellet Grills?
Firepots are the heating mechanism within the pellet grill that burns the pellets to create smoke and heat.
The firepot usually has a heat dispersion cover on top to distribute the heat and smoke throughout the grill.
Below in the photo my hand is over the Traeger’s firepot which contains pellets and ash from my last smoking session. I moved the heat dispersion cover to the right:
Pellet Grill Losing Temperature Or Failing To Ignite
Common symptoms of a firepot that is full of ash is that the pellet grill will fail to ignite or lose temperature.
Failing to ignite is an easy to spot issue since the pellet grill or trager will not raise in temperature. The auger will keep feeding pellets into the grill but the temperature will remain low or at air temperature.
The pellet grill losing temperature typically happens mid-smoke. The pellet grill losing temperature is caused by the fire in the firepot being smothered by ash. The temperature will continue to drop even though the auger will continue to feed pellets into the grill.
How To Clean Firepot With Photos
Here are the simple steps to quickly clean out the ash from the firepot.
Depending on how long the pellet grill has been running, you may need to vacuum out the grill every 2-3 sessions.
Personally I use a shop (wey/dry) vacuum since you may vacuum up ash, partially burned pellets, and other smoking debris. Here’s the shop vac I use on Amazon.
1. Lift Up And Remove The Grill Grate
2. Next Remove The Drip Tray That Is Underneath The Grill Grate
3. Slide Over The Heat Baffle To Uncover The Firepot
4. Vacuum All The Ash Inside The Firepot And Inside Of The Grill
5. Place 5 Or 6 Pellets In The Bottom Of The Firepot
6. Slide The Heat Baffle Back Over The Firepot
7. Insert The Drip Tray And Grill Grate Back In Place
Now your Traeger pellet grill is back in clean running condition and ready for your next smoking session.
Pellet grills are a great and convenient way to smoke food. Simply add pellets, turn on the smoker, and check in on your delicious food every few hours.
However, there is occasional maintenance that should be performed to ensure that the pellet grill operates smoothly.
Pellet grills use pellets to create fire and smoke in the firepot. Overtime the firepot will be full of ash which needs to be cleaned out. If the ash is not cleaned out then the temperature of the pellet grill may start dropping mid-session.
So make sure to give your pellet grill some love and clean it out so it can continue to create delicious smoked food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is the traeger failing to ignite?
A: Traegers will fail to ignite if the firepot is full of ash. Make sure to vacuum out the firepot in between sessions. Next make sure the pellets are not wet or damp as these pellets will not ignite.
Q: Why is the traeger losing temperature?
A: Traegers will lose temperature mid-cooking session when the fire is put out. The fire will go out if the firepot is full of ash. Make sure to vacuum out the firepot in between sessions. Next make sure the pellets are not wet or damp as this will also put out the fire.
If the air temperature is below 35 degrees then the grill body needs to be insulated in order to help the pellet grill maintain temperature. Insulated blankets are a great option to safely insulate the grill body.
Q: Can you add pellets to the traeger pellet grill while cooking?
A: Pellets can be added to the hopper at anytime. Whether the traeger is on or off, pellets can be added. Make sure to gently shift the pellets to get rid of any air pockets in the hopper so the pellets smoothly feed into the auger.
Q: How often should traeger pellet grill firepots be cleaned?
A: Pellet grills should be cleaned every 2-3 sessions. However, if the pellet grill has been on for 12+ hours in a session then it’s best to clean the grill after that longer session. Make sure the firepot is not full of ash.
Q: Why traeger keeps shutting off?
A: The traeger will keep shutting off if the firepot is full of ash or if there are no pellets left in the hopper. Make sure that the firepot is vacuumed clean and the hopper is full of pellets before starting the ignition sequence for the traeger.