Why Isn’t My Pit Boss Heating Up? [Possible Causes & Solutions]

The Pit Boss pellet grill is a reliable grill that produces amazing foods with the added flavor of cooking over wood. However, anytime you’re cooking with electrical appliances, there’s always the chance of something going wrong. But most problems can be easily fixed with a little troubleshooting. So let’s take a look at the most common reasons a Pit Boss grill won’t heat up and what to do about it.

Why Isn’t My Pit Boss Heating Up?

A Pit Boss that doesn’t heat up, is most likely due to a deteriorated hot rod also known as an ignitor. The hot rod is located at the bottom of the firepot. It ignites the hardwood pellets (without you having to use a lighter) and keeps the fire burning throughout the cook. Pit Boss hot rods will wear out after a couple of years, depending on how much you use the grill.

why isn't my pit boss heating up

As mentioned, a bad hot rod ignitor is the most common reason a Pit Boss won’t heat up.

However, there are other reasons such as inefficient airflow, unusable outlets, tightened chimney cap, ash buildup, etc.

*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

How do I know all this? I was getting ready to cook a steak on my Pit Boss the other day when I noticed that it wouldn’t heat up like it normally does.

After spending some time researching my problem, I was able to get my Pit Boss back to full temperature and I wanted to share what I learned.

7 Reasons The Pit Boss Won’t Heat Up

Below are some of the most common reasons a Pit Boss won’t heat up. If you’re having issues with your smoker, I suggest running through each issue individually. I’ve done my best to provide you with the problem and the fix to help you get back to cooking as quickly as possible.

Bad Hot Rod

A bad hot rod is the most common reason a Pit Boss pellet won’t heat up. The hot rod is the “ignitor” that lights the grill. It’s similar to how the ignitor works on a gas grill.

To check whether you have a faulty hot rod, place your hand over the fire pot (without touching it). If you don’t feel any heat, then you have a faulty one.


Replacement hot rods can be purchased on Amazon, or on the official Pit Boss website. Depending on the age of your grill, you can contact customer support to have them send you a new hot rod.

If you’re a DIY type of person, you can replace it yourself, as it’s not that hard to do.

Not a DIYer, then search online for appliance repair experts to have it serviced for you.

If the hot rod goes out and you don’t want to wait for the new one to arrive, you’ll have to light it manually. This video will walk you through how to manually start a Pit Boss pellet grill with a bad hot rod.

Here are the steps outlined in the video above:

  1. Pull the grill away from any combustible materials and away from the house.
  2. Connect the grill to an extension cord and plug it into a grounded 110V outlet.
  3. Fill the hopper with high-quality pellets.
  4. Remove the top shelf, cooking grates, and flame broiler.
  5. Remove any ash from the firepot.
  6. Add a small number of pellets inside the firepot.
  7. Pour a small amount of cooking oil onto the pellets. Never use lighting fuel, it leaves a bad taste on the food and can be dangerous.
  8. Use a handheld lighter, to light the starter.
  9. Keep the fire over the pellets until they you see a fire, and let it burn for about 3-5 minutes.
  10. Replace the internal parts, careful not to burn yourself.
  11. Turn the grill to the “Smoke” position.
  12. Finally, set the grill to the desired cooking temperature to allow it to heat up.

Ash and Debris Buildup

Another culprit that prevents a pellet grill from heating up, is too much ash in the firepot. If there is too much ash in the firepot, the new ones won’t be able to burn cleanly. Excess ash buildup will also affect the airflow in the chamber, preventing the grill from heating up.

A dirty grill not only affects ignitor issues, but it can also lead to auger jams, flameouts, fires, and ruining your food.


The Pit Boss manual recommends vacuuming and cleaning the grill after every 5-6 cooks. After every cook, do a proper burn-off to burn off food and debris from the grates. Check out this article for a comprehensive guide on how to deep clean the Pit Boss pellet grill.

Bad Weather

Bad weather is one of the biggest culprits for a pellet grill. Wind, rain, snow, humidity, sleet, direct sunlight, hot weather, and cold weather all affect the Pit Boss temperature and can cause wild temperature swings. This means that cold weather can prevent the grill from getting hot or taking longer than normal.


Use a weather app to monitor the local weather to make sure it’s suitable for grilling. Avoid keeping your grill outside, as the elements can affect the electrical components affecting how it works. Read this article for tips on how to store your Pit Boss grill in different climates.

Weakening Combustion Fan

The combustion fan circulates the air inside the cavity, helping the food cook evenly., similar to how a convection oven works. A combustion fan will work for several years, without any interaction on your part.

However, normal wear and tear will cause it to malfunction, making it impossible to heat the grill up or maintain a consistent temperature throughout the chamber.


  1. Unplug the Pit Boss and remove the bottom plate of the hopper.
  2. Clean the small fan located in the hopper.
  3. Use your finger or screwdriver to make sure it rotates without a lot of effort.
  4. If it’s damaged, you can buy a
    replacement combustion fan on Amazon.
    • Heavy Duty Replacement combustion fan motor
    • Compatible with all Traeger grill mode and Pit Boss wood pellet grills (EXCEPT PTG)
    • 110V PA66, White nylon fan blade that will last for years
    • Easy Installation, 4 Screws and plug/play wire
    • Wood-fired food is delicious for any meal so don't stop the flow

Here’s what the fan looks like when you open the plate on the bottom of the hopper.

Pit Boss combusion fan

RTD Probe

The RTD probe is the probe that monitors the internal temperature of the grill. It is located on the inside of the grill on the hopper side. It is responsible for reading the temperature inside the grill and relays the signal back to the control board. When not functioning properly, it will be hard to get an accurate reading.


The most common problem is a dirty RTD temperature sensor. If it has black residue on it, clean the temperature probe, so it can read the internal temperature. To check if you have a faulty sensor, place an oven thermometer on the rack, as close as possible to the RTD sensor.

Then compare the readout on the LCD screen to the oven thermometer. If the readings are way off, it’s time to replace the temperature sensor.

LCD Screen Issues

When the grill is plugged in the LCD screen will light up. If the LCD doesn’t work, the grill won’t be able to get hot. Here’s what to check if the LCD isn’t lit up on your Pit Boss.

  • Ensure it is plugged in properly.
  • Check the fuse on the grill and the circuit board.
  • Power on the grill.

Bad Outlet or Extension Cord

Finally, make sure the grill is plugged in. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t realize that pellet grills are electrical. They won’t work if they are not plugged into a 110V electrical outlet.

That said, if the grill is plugged in and it’s still not heating up, then use the steps below to see if it’s the cord or the electrical outlet.

  1. Inspect both the extension cord and the one on the grill for any tears or damages. If any of the cords are damaged, they should be replaced before using, to avoid any hazards.
  2. Use a circuit tester to make test whether the outlet is grounded. Never use an ungrounded outlet as it increases the chances of electrical fires.
  3. Ensure you’re using an outdoor extension cord that is designed for use with a GFCI circuit and has at least a minimum 12/3 gauge. I’ve put together a list of the best extension cords for a Pit Boss to help you find the right one.

Corroded Burn Pot

If your Pit Boss is stored outside without a cover, moisture can enter the chamber causing the corrosion to build up. This usually happens to older grills that aren’t sealed properly or left out in the elements.


Unfortunately, the only solution is to replace the burn pot. You can purchase OEM products such as the QuilMetal Fire Burn Pot Replacement parts that fit both Traeger and Pit Boss grills on Amazon or purchase one directly from the manufacture on the Pit Boss website.

QuliMetal Fire Burn Pot Replacement Parts for Pit...
  • 🔥【COMPATIBILITY】- The fire burn pot for Traeger and most Pit Boss pellet grills (NOT ALL). 🔥【Not Fit】- Don't fit Traeger Tailgater 20 and Pit Boss 1150 grills
  • 🔥【DIMENSIONS】5" x 3 1/2" x 3 3/4", 7 Large air holes, 14 gauge steel wall. 🔥【MATERIAL】Made of heavy duty stainless steel to ensure long-lasting use, more substantial and durable
  • 🔥【EASY TO INSTALL】Installation is a breeze. The burn pot can be assembled in a short time with basic tooling
  • 🔥【PACKAGE】Item includes screws and fire pot (SAVING your time to purchase screws from hardware store), if our bonus screws can't work on your grill, please use your old screws
  • 🔥【NOTE】Please make sure you are purchasing from QuliMetal with brand-name package to enjoy excellent service

This video will walk you through how to replace the corroded burn pot and install the brand new one.

Final Word

If your Pit Boss grill isn’t heating up, it’s likely due to a bad hot rod or a dirty grill. Hopefully, the tips above will help you solve the issue so you can get back to cooking.

If the grill still isn’t working after trying everything, then it’s time to contact the Pit Boss support for more in-depth troubleshooting.

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