What Is a Temperature Swing?
What do we mean when we say "temperature swings?" A temperature swing is when your grill's temperature rises above and below your set temperature on an extreme level and returns to your set temperature or reverts in the opposite direction — like a swing.
Are Temperature Swings Normal?
Yes! It is completely normal for your Traeger's temperature to rise and fall throughout your cook. In fact, it's by design!
Traeger grills use an algorithm unique to each grill to give you the most accurate cooking experience. It's normal to see some variation in temperature as the algorithm works to create a true average temperature across the entire cooking surface.
On a typical, good-weather day, your grill should fluctuate no more than ±25°F/14°C. If your grill is fluctuating more than that, let's continue to figure out what may be contributing.
These fluctuations are actually a key component in creating the smoke flavor we at Traeger love. Because of this, you'll likely observe larger fluctuations when grilling at lower temperatures and when using Super Smoke.
Common Contributors to Temp Swings
Many factors can affect your grill's ability to maintain an average temperature, such as the following:
- Pellet quality & sawdust
- Lack of oxygen & poor air circulation
- Opening the lid too often
- Starting or shutting down your grill incorrectly
- Changing the grill's temperature often
- Using foil as a drip liner
- Damaged or missing drip tray or heat baffle
- Causes specific to touchscreen grills
Pellet Quality & Sawdust
Low-quality or old pellets are the #1 cause of temperature management issues. Check the pellets at the end of the auger or in the firepot to make sure they have a nice sheen and a nice "snap" to them when breaking. If the pellets crumble or look dull, try a new bag of pellets.
Make sure there's not an accumulation of sawdust at the bottom of the hopper. Since sawdust won't ignite, if sawdust is making its way through the auger into the firepot, you'll experience temp issues.
Fire needs oxygen, and if there's not enough, the fire won't stay lit.
- Maintain an inch clearance from the edge of the grill when placing food on your grill or when using large pans.
- If your grill has a chimney, make sure there's a thumb-size gap between the bottom of the cap and the top of the chimney pipe..
- If using foil as a drip tray liner, make sure it's flush against the drip tray. Loose foil can disrupt air circulation through the barrel.
Opening the Lid too Often
Repeated opening and closing of the lid too often can cause temperature issues. Remember, "If you're looking, you ain't cookin'!"
Incorrect Startup & Shutdown
Changing the Temperature too Often
If you change the temperature too often during a cook, this can cause issues with maintaining temperature. Instead, give time between changing temperatures so the grill can keep up with the changes.
Using Foil as a Drip Tray Liner
If you choose to use heavy-duty foil in place of a drip tray liner, make sure the foil is wrapped tightly around the edges of the drip tray. If the foil is fanned out, this can cause airflow issues.
Damaged Drip Tray or Heat Baffle
If the drip tray or heat baffle is damaged or placed incorrectly in the grill, you may experience temperature issues. Damage that can cause temperature swings would be extremely warped components (note that mild warping is normal) or rusting to the point that there is a hole in the tray or baffle. For damaged parts, please get in touch with Customer Service.
Causes of Temp Swings in Touchscreen Grills
In addition to the common causes listed above, the following causes are specific to Traeger's new touchscreen Timberline and Ironwood models.
Firepot Installed Incorrectly
Firepots on new Timberlines sometimes get caught on the auger tube. Make sure your firepot is installed flush with the grill barrel and that the cardboard from packaging is removed.
Using a Drip Tray Liner
You should never use foil or a drip tray liner on new Timberlines and Ironwoods.
These models conduct heat more effectively than other models, so using foil or drip tray liners can significantly affect your grill's ability to maintain consistent temperatures.