Grill Temperature Dropping Mid-Cook

What's in This Article?

Is your grill's temperature dropping in the middle of your cook? Let's try to get your grill normalized again so you clean get dinner on the table. 

What Causes a Grill's Temperature to Drop?

There are several other possible reasons the temperature could suddenly plummet hours into a cook:

  • Bad Pellets
  • Dirty Grill
  • Damaged Parts
  • Improper Startup
  • Improper Shutdown
  • Non-Traeger Controller
  • Frozen vs Thawed meat
  • Broken RTD/Thermocouple
  • Poor Air Flow

What to Do If Your Grill's Temperature Drops in the Middle of a Cook 

Before we get too deep, is the grill temperature dropping or the food temperature dropping or stalling? If you're looking for culinary help with your protein's temperature dropping, check out, Meat Temperature Stopped Rising.

It is also important to remember that opening the grill lid causes temperature fluctuations. Opening the lid often can cause the temperature to plummet or even go out, sometimes resulting in a LEr or a Low Temp Error.

Consider moving your food to a preheated oven to continue cooking while you troubleshoot your grill's temperature.

1. Check your pellets.

  1. If the grill is hot and on, look in the hopper to see if you can see slight movement indicating that the pellets are moving.   
  2. When did you last replace the pellets and vacuum out the hopper? Are the pellets moist, or have they been exposed to water? Are the pellets whole, or are they broken and dusty?
    1. Check for a shine and snap. 
      • Pellets may be compromised if they are light in color, dull, dusty, break easily, or if the bag the pellets came in has a lot of sawdust.
    2. Pellets that have been in the hopper a long time could be compromised as all types of weather can affect pellet quality over time.
    3. Sawdust can settle at the bottom of the hopper and eventually make its way through the auger. Educate the customer that they should vacuum out excess sawdust from the hopper when cleaning their grill.
  3. Empty the hopper vacuum out any sawdust and replace the pellets with new ones.  

2. Check for the proper Startup. 

  1. Use the How to Start Your Traeger Pellet Grill to make sure you are following the correct startup procedure for your grill. 
    • An improper startup can have adverse effects on the grill, even hours into the cook. 
  2. If you started yourr grill incorrectly, shut down your grill and restart correctly.

3. Did you shut down your grill correctly the last time you used it? 

  1. The proper Shutdown Cycle must be completed after every cook, or the grill will experience other issues such as error codes or even grill fires. 
  2. The grill needs to be allowed to run its whole shutdown cycle before it can be powered off.
    • Excess ash from an improper shutdown can block the hot rod from igniting the pellets or block correct airflow.
  3. If the grill was previously shut down incorrectly, shut down the grill, wait for it to cool, and clean out the firepot before restarting again. 

4. When did you last clean your grill?

  1. Pellet grills should be cleaned at least every 20 hours of cook time, more often if you have cooked saucy or greasy foods.
  2. If you are using foil in lieu of a drip tray liner, make sure the foil is wrapped tightly around the edges of the drip tray.
    1. Extra or fanned out foil can disrupt airflow leading to temperature irregularities. 
  3. Check the drip tray & heat baffle
    1. Look for holes in the drip tray or heat baffle. 
    2. Make sure the drip tray and heat baffle are installed correctly.
  4. Check the firepot
    1. Note any buildup of ash and the overall cleanliness and maintenance of the grill. 
    2. Direct the customer to clean and clear the firepot of ash and pellets. 
    3. Look for any additional holes or damage to the firepot.  

5. Are you using a Traeger controller?

  • Some customers will replace the controller with a third-party controller. Unfortunately, in this case, we cannot correctly troubleshoot the grill to determine the cause since we don’t know how the controller works or is calibrated.

6. Check the Induction Fan.

  1. Is there any scraping, clicking, or squeaking, is coming from the fan? 
    1. Noisy fans are typically due to grime built up on the fan, a wire, or other object hitting the fan when turning. 
    2. Check the underside of the hopper by removing the bottom grill grate to see if you can locate if something, such as a wire or zip tie, is hitting the fan.
    3. Remove the obstruction. 
    4. If there is nothing visibly hitting the fan, manually spin the fan with their hand to help break up any grime that has built up. This should resolve the noise. 
  2. It is possible for the induction fan to break during a cook, which could cause the temperature to plummet mid-cook from a lack of airflow. Perform the following to check the induction fan:
    1. Remove the internal components: grill grates, drip tray, and heat baffle.
    2. Turn on your grill and ignite.
    3. Hover your hand over the firepot (be sure not to touch the hot rod). You should be able to feel air blowing into the firepot from the fan. If there is no air blowing into the firepot, contact Customer Service.

7. Check the RTD/Thermocouple.

(NOTE: To accurately check an RTD/thermocouple, the grill must be turned off and cooled down.)

  1. On WiFIRE grills, ensure the protective cap from shipping is not on the thermocouple.  
  2. Check for Damage.
    1. Verify that your RTD temperature sensor is not bent or chipped.
    2. A broken, bent, or chipped RTD may still work as designed. Continue additional validation steps.
    3. Is the RTD touching another part of the grill?
      1. If so, gently bend the RTD away from the wall or object it touches and continue troubleshooting.
  3. Check the Ambient Air Temperature.
    1. Turn on the grill and ignite to any temperature.
      Take note of the initial temperature displayed on the controller, indicating the starting point of heating, and then compare it with the outside temperature.
    2. A working RTD should read within 20°F/10°C of the ambient air temperature.
      1. If a customer's grill is reading more than 20°F/10°C off from the local temperature, contact Customer Service.

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