How To Clean Pit Boss RTD Temperature Probe & Why It’s Important

Most people don’t think about the RTD temperature probe until they see temperature fluctuations in their Pit Boss grill. If this you, then you’ve probably heard the term RTD temp probe thrown around in online grilling forums. So what is it and how do you clean a Pit Boss RTD temperature probe?

How To Clean Pit Boss RTD Temperature Probe

To clean the RTD temperature probe, you’ll want to use a wet remove the bracket surrounding the sensor with a screwdriver, use a wet washcloth to remove the black residue from grilling.

how to clean a Pit Boss RTD temperature probe

Cleaning the temperature probe inside the Pit Boss pellet grill should be a part of the regular deep cleaning. That said, if you use the grill often, it will accumulate black soot-like stuff on it that can the grill to NOT function properly.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through on how to clean the RTD Probe step by step with pictures. But first, lets find what it is and why it’s important to keep it clean.

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What Is The Pit Boss RTD Temperature Probe

Pit Boss and every pellet grill regardless of the brand has an RTD (Remote Device) Temperature sensor probe that sits inside the grill. The probe is usually located on the left-hand side of the cook chamber, where the hopper is.

Its only purpose is to read the temperature inside the grill and sends the signal back to the control board.

The control board then displays the temperature reading on the LED screen, letting you know the grill’s temperature.

Where Is The Temperature Probe on A Pit Boss Pellet Grill?

The temperature probe can be hard to miss, especially, if you’re new to pellet grills. It sits on the hopper side, inside of the grill. A new RTD probe is chrome or silver in color and is about 6ft long, including the attached cord.

That said, when looking at the probe from the inside, you’ll only see the actual probe which is about 3″ inches long, give or take.

If you don’t know where to look, it’s easy to miss. Because it sits behind a barrier that protects it from breaking. Scroll down to step one on this article, to see one looks on a grill that is used consistently.

The Importance of A Clean RTD Temperature Sensor

If the sensor is never clean, it will accumulate black residue, making it hard to give an accurate grill temperature. A dirty probe will also make it difficult for your grill to maintain a consistent temperature.

Pit Boss RTD Temperature Probe Cleaning

Cleaning a Pit Boss RTD probe is easy, but they are also known to be extremely fragile. They can break easily if the pellet grill is moved around a lot, or if you apply too much pressure while cleaning.

If you notice the RTD probe is broken, it should be replaced immediately. They are not expensive to replace, and it’s not that difficult of a job. But that’s an article for another day, this article is about how to clean one.

What You’ll Need

Before you get started cleaning the RTD probe, ensure you have the following:

  • Phillips screw driver
  • Wet washcloth or an old toothbrush
  • Bucket of soapy water

Before performing any maintenance or cleaning of your grill, ensure it’s disconnected from the electricity.

Step One: Remove the Bracket Surrounding the RTD Probe

removing the bracket surrounding the RTD probe

Use the screwdriver to remove the bracket surrounding the sensor. Trying to clean the sensor with the bracket in place will allow you to clean the top, but the bottom of the sensor will still be dirty.

You can leave the grates inside the grill during the cleaning process.

As you can see in the image above, I tried cleaning the sensor with the bracket in place. When the bracket is removed, you can clean the entire sensor and the bottom of it.

Make sure you don’t lose the screws as you will need them when you put the bracket back on.

Step Two: Wet Your Cloth and Gently Remove the Black Residue

Some people use an SOS pad to clean their sensors. I’ve found that a wet washcloth works just as well. Wet the washcloth in soapy water and wring it out completely before cleaning the sensor.

You don’t excess water dripping down in the electrical components of your grill. Now, use the cloth to scrub the black residue. You’ll want to use your fingernails to remove the residue, especially if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while.

Work your way around the sensor getting as much as the black soot off. Making sure you don’t pull up on the sensor or push on it too much, otherwise you will break it.

Step Three: Clean The Bottom of the RTD Probe

clean Pit Boss temperature probe

When the bracket is removed you can clean the entire probe, even the bottom where it sits. The bottom where it sits is not as important as cleaning the sensor, but since you have access to it, won’t hurt to clean it.

Step Four: Replace the Bracket and The Screws

Once the sensor is clean, replace the bracket that protects the sensor. You might be tempted not to replace it because it makes the process of cleaning it next time easier, but the bracket it there for a reason.

How Do I Know If The Pit Boss Temperature Sensor Is Clean?

Clean Pit Boss Probe

A clean sensor will look silver, not black or brown. It will never look like it did when it was brand new, but you will see a noticeable difference when cleaned.

Can You Use Oven Cleaner to Clean An RTD Temperature Probe?

The Pit Boss manual clearly states to avoid using oven cleaner, abrasive cleaners, or abrasive cleaning pads on the outside of the grill. That said, this video shows a pellet grill owner cleaning the RTD sensor using oven cleaner.

Personally, I avoid using any type of harsh chemicals inside my pellet grill. This is where you cook your food, and I don’t want my food exposed to any chemical residue that may be left behind.

Some people on forums like this have had success using vinegar and CDN probe wipe, which are basically alcohol wipes that come individually prepackaged.

That said, it’s your grill so you clean it however you choose.

What If You Can’t Get the RTD Sensor Clean?

If you’ve had your grill for several years and the black buildup is impossible to get clean. Try using the method above or browse some online grilling forums. This Reddit thread has some great tips on cleaning a pellet grill temperature probe.

If none of the tips above work and you still can’t get it clean, consider replacing the RTD sensor, especially if you’ve noticed huge temperature swings.

A brand new RTD temperature sensor for a Pit Boss is inexpensive, and it’s fairly easy to replace. The one below is an RTD temperature probe sensor that is compatible with Pit Boss.

RTD Temperature Probe Sensor Grill Replacement...
  • Perfectly Compatible: Compatible with Pit Boss P7 Series and Pellet Smokers.
  • Perfect Match Accessories: The RTD Meat Barbecue Temperature Sensor Probe reads the internal temperature inside your BBQ and sends a signal back to the controller to maintain consistent grill temperatures.
  • Temperature Probe Parameters: Temperature Probe Sensor 3/16" (3cm) Internal Grill Sensor 14" (35cm) Stainless Steel Wire Lead、c/w SM female connectors Screw and nut are not included.
  • Professional Manufacturer: We have 10 years of experience in the BBQ meat thermometer probes and temperature probe Pit boss,providing temperature sensors or probes for most of the world's leading thermometer brands.
  • Service: The probe sensor Replacement Part completed with a One-year protection.If the probe once failed on your pellet grills and smokers, simply contact us for a replacement.

Tips for Keeping Your RTD Temperature Sensor Clean

One of the easiest ways to keep the sensor clean or at least make it easier is to clean it after every low and slow cook. It’s going to get dirty after every cook.

But during a long cook, the sensor is going to accumulate more black residue. If you don’t clean it after every cook, you want to make it a habit to check the cleanliness after every 3-4 cooking session.

The most important thing to remember is to clean it when it becomes too dirty, otherwise, you’ll experience huge temperature swings.

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Final Word

Grill maintenance isn’t as fun as cooking on the pellet grill. However, getting into the habit of cleaning the RTD temperature sensor will make for a better cooking experience.

A little Dawn and elbow grease is all it takes to clean the temp probe so it can read the temperatures in the cooking barrel correctly!

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