AC Grill Running Too Hot

What's in This Article?

Is your grill running hotter than the set temperature? We've got some tips to help you grill at your desired temperature.

Understand How Traeger Grills Read Temperature

Before diving too deep, it is important to note that Traeger grills, like conventional ovens, cook on average. The difference is that your Traeger will give you a real-time reading throughout the entirety of your cook, whereas conventional ovens will show you a real-time reading while it pre-heats but then show you the set temperature. Your grill is functioning properly if the average temperature is within 15°F of your set temperature.

Scout Grill Running Too Hot

Temperature issues seen on Scouts are a result of their small size. Try some of these startup tips to avoid overheating. 

  1. On startup, leave the lid open until the temperature on the smoke peaks.
    • Peak meaning it slows down and stalls on a temperature and stays there; however, this temperature will vary based on the outside temperature.
  2. When it hits the peak stall point, shut the lid and leave on smoke for another 10 minutes to make sure it goes up to 200°F (remember, overshooting is normal) and then back down to 160°F (settles) and repeats.
    • If it stays calm after 10 minutes, move to step 3 below.
    • If it still overheats past 20°F, open the lid again to let out some heat. Let the temperature drop to 150°F, shut the lid again and watch to see if it regulates.
  3. If it doesn't regulate, follow the steps in What to Do if Your Grill is Running over the Set Temperature below for further help.
  4. Increase the controller to the desired temperature and allow it to preheat completely.

What to Do If Your Grill is Running Over the Set Temperature

1. The NUMBER ONE cause of temperature issues is poor pellet quality. Remove and replace your pellets and vacuuming residual sawdust from the hopper and the auger tube.

  1. Low-Quality Pellets: Good pellets should have a nice sheen, and you should hear a nice 'snap' when breaking.
  2. Improper Pellet Storage: It's vital to store pellets in a dry, airtight container to prevent moisture and humidity from compromising pellet quality.  

2. How clean is your grill?

  • Check out our Grill Maintenance for an in-depth review of what to check.
  • Pay special attention to grease buildup as that is the main culprit for running hotter than the set temperature.

3. Check your grill's internal components.

  1. Make sure the grease tray, heat baffle, grill grates and firepot are all undamaged and are placed correctly inside the grill.
    • General wear and tear, such as minor discoloring or warping are completely normal.
    • If you notice severe damage, such as rusted or burnt holes through the heat baffle or drip trays, contact Customer Support.
  2. Before starting your grill, check that the firepot is empty. Excess pellets in the firepot during startup will cause a flare-up at the beginning of the cook. 

4. Check the chimney height.

  • A chimney with too large of a gap can allow too much airflow, causing the fire to burn too hot.
  • If your grill has a chimney, the space between the chimney and the chimney cap should be about 3/4 inch (2 cm) or the width of your thumb.

5. Did you use the correct startup procedure?

  • An improper startup can affect the temperature of a cook even hours in. Visit Grill Startup Guide to find your proper startup.

6. Did you use the correct shutdown procedure?

  • Like the startup procedure, your grill's controller tells your grill to do specific functions upon shutdown. But, like a home computer, shutting down your grill incorrectly can result in future problems.

7. Are you using the SMOKE setting?

  • Is your controller set to SMOKE? The SMOKE setting maintains a temperature range between 160°F and 180°F. As long as the temperature is in or close to that range, the grill is operating correctly.
  • You may also notice some temperature spikes--remember that Traeger grills cook on an average; is the grill maintaining temperature on an average?

8. Is the weather particularly hot?

  • If you are trying to grill during the heat of Summer, you may find that your grill runs hotter than normal. This is because higher temperatures outside may cause the grill to run a little hotter than expected.
  • On particularly hot days, try moving your grill out of direct sunlight. Grills are typically black pieces of metal, and your grill will absorb even more heat when placed in direct sunlight. You may also try doing longer, low-and-slow cooks such as brisket during later and early hours of the day when the heat is not as strong.
  • See P-Setting below to understand how to account for higher ambient temperatures.
  • For additional weather-related troubleshooting, check out Weather Effects on Grilling.

9. Have you tried adjusting your grill's P-Setting?

  • Some grills have P-Setting functionality. If your grill has this function, you will notice a small hole, a blank black sticker, or a sticker that reads “Call Service” on the controller to the LED screen's right.
  • You can adjust the p-setting by using a paper clip to press the button in the small hole. Adjust until the controller flashes “P-3.” Then, if the grill continues to run too hot, adjust to “P-4.”
    • We do not recommend adjusting past “p-4” as this can cause the flame to go out during the cook.

If you still find that your grill is running hotter than you would expect, give us a call, and we'll be happy to help further diagnose your grill.


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