Home » Camp Chef Smoker Not Igniting: A Step-by-step Fix!

Camp Chef Smoker Not Igniting: A Step-by-step Fix!

All things are meant to break down one way or another, no matter how good we take care of them, and my Camp Chef Smoker is no exception to that. I can still remember the first time it failed me.

I was dismayed because I was excited to try something new with my smoker. But with some thorough inspection, I was able to find the culprit. 

One reason why a Camp Chef Smoker won’t ignite or produce heat is that ash has built up. However, there may be more reasons such as a jammed auger, a soiled temperature sensor, or a faulty fan. There are times when the problem is not with the smoker but with the quality of the pellets.

Before you give up on your Camp Chef smoker, you can try to fix it on your own first. 

What To Inspect On Your Camp Chef Smoker

The only way to find out what is causing your smoker from producing heat and failing to ignite is by inspecting it. Technical and performance issues are the common problems you’ll encounter. Let’s focus on the technical aspect of the smoker.

Technical Components of a Smoker

  • Fuse
  • Auger and Motor
  • Fan
  • Hot Rod
  • Computer

The parts mentioned above are the parts that you should inspect when problems arise. You don’t really need to be a technical person to inspect and understand them. The important thing is knowing how these parts function and work together. Later on, I’ll discuss how to fix them in case you encounter any issues with the electrical components above. 

If you experience any problems, don’t lose hope easily and throw your smoker right away. Most of the time, it just needs a little cleaning to work properly again.

Common Issues And Step-by-step Guide To Fix Them

As promised, here are the most common problems you’ll encounter with your smoker and how to fix each one of them.

Ash Buildup

If your Camp Chef Smoker doesn’t ignite, the first thing you need to check is if there’s a build-up of ash. This usually happens when you don’t clean the smoker after each use. I was guilty of this before since I know that pellet smokers don’t usually produce too much ash. After the incident, I make it a point to clean it after I cook.

So, how do you fix it? It’s fairly easy in two simple steps.

  1. Inspect the smoker and check if there’s ash build-up
  2. Remove the ash and clean the smoker.

Jammed Auger

A common mistake made by new pellet smoker owners is leaving the pellets in the hopper for too long. While it’s fine to leave them in the hopper for a couple of days, leaving them there for weeks may cause problems.

Keeping the pellets in the hopper for weeks may cause moisture build-up. If the pellets have moisture in them when fed in the auger, they may cause the auger to jam because they tend to scrunch together.

Fixing a Jammed Auger

  • Take out all the pellets from the hopper
  • Clean the hopper carefully and thoroughly
  • Before adding new pellets on the hopper, make sure the interior is completely dry

In case you have done this and are sure that the problem is not caused by moisture, there may be an underlying issue with the smoker such as a broken component. If this is the case, you can get in touch with Camp Chef to get the problem fixed.

Filthy Temperature Sensor

Over time, your smoker’s temperature sensor can get dirty because of smoke vapour and grease. When this happens the temperature sensor might not work properly. An inaccurate temperature reading may cause the smoker to feed fewer pellets, making the fire go out eventually.

How to Fix a Dirty Temperature Sensor

  • Take off the temperature sensor
  • Mix a mild detergent with warm water and clean the sensor
  • Once the temperature sensor has been cleaned and rinsed thoroughly, dry it well
  • Put the temperature sensor back
  • Test it to check if it is working properly

Hot Rod Igniter

A busted hot rod igniter is a common issue after years of using a smoker, especially if you use it frequently. If this is the issue, there won’t be an ignition even if the pellets are still fed in the fire burn pot.

The replacement part can be replaced easily if your smoker is under warranty. Replacing it is easy and you can do it on your own. After replacing the rod, it can last around 1 to 3 years but it will still depend on how often you use the smoker.

How To Fix It

  • Take out the grill, heat diffuser and other components
  • Find where the firepot is located
  • Get the new rod and replace the old one
  • Put back the other components you removed
  • Test your smoker

Malfunctioning Fan

There are two reasons why your smoker’s fan may fail to function properly. First is failure to maintain your Camp Chef Smoker and the other reason is overuse. Grease may build up in the fan after years of usage. When this happens, the fan may not work or move properly. Your grill’s fan is important in burning and heating the smoker.

Fixing the Issue

  • Make sure to turn off everything
  • Using your hand, try to turn the fan several times
  • If debris and grease had collected on the fan, wipe the blades clean
  • Take out the fan and wash it
  • Dry the fan thoroughly and put it back 
  • If the fan is broken or can no longer be repaired, it is time to replace it

How To Clean Your Camp Chef Smoker

To prevent issues and damage to your Camp Chef Smoker, it needs to be well-maintained. One way to do that is by regularly cleaning your griller or smoker. So, here are some tips on how to clean your smoker the right way.

After Each Use

Before you complain about how hard it is to clean the smoker between each cook, I’m not suggesting you deep clean it. Emptying the ash cup, wiping food residue and grease spots, and scraping down the grill grates are all you need to do. However, if you are feeling extra meticulous, you can also clean the internal temperature probe with a mixture of water and vinegar and scrub the surface using a scouring pad. 

Deep Cleaning

When you reach at least 50 hours of cooking with your Camp Chef smoker, it is time to deep clean it. If you are in the habit of cleaning it after each use as recommended above, then deep cleaning it should be easier for you. Deep cleaning means getting rid of all the grime inside out. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Ensure the grill or smoker has cooled down completely, then unplug it.
  2. Remove all the pellets from the hopper to prevent them from getting wet.
  3. Using a stainless steel cleaner, spray some on the stainless steel and painted surfaces but never on the plastic components. 
  4. Don’t wipe the cleaner right away, wait for at least 30 seconds to allow dirt and grease to break down before wiping it using a rag or paper towel. 
  5. Remove the burn cup and get rid of the ash.
  6. Open the lid and take out the cooking grate, drip tray, extra racks, and heat diffuser. You can take a picture of how they are installed, so you won’t have a hard time putting them back.
  7. Using a wet/dry vacuum remove any debris and loose ash.
  8. Inspect the inside of your grill carefully and remove any grease that has built up using a pan scraper or anything with a flat edge.
  9. Clean the interior and all the pieces you have pulled out with warm soapy water and a rag and dry them.
  10. Wait at least 24 hours before cooking again to make sure that everything has dried up completely, particularly the hopper. 

Bonus Tip: To make cleaning faster and easier, you can cover the drip tray and heat diffuser with aluminium foil. Throwing and replacing the foil is so much easier than scraping and scrubbing off the drippings and grease.

Related Questions

Why is my pellet grill not heating up?

Not changing your pellets regularly is one of the most common causes why your grill is not heating up as it should. Pellets that are left in the hopper for a very long time will deteriorate and create moisture, making your grill unable to burn well.

Another reason for your grill not heating up well is when there are blockages on your fans. Having clogged fans won’t produce enough airflow and will cause your pellet grill not to heat up properly.

You should also make sure that you clean your pellet grill every after use because the temperature sensor may not function well when it’s dirty.

Why is my pellet smoker not producing smoke?

There are some reasons why your pellet smoker is not producing enough smoke. One is that your temperature might be too high.

Pellet smokers produce more smokes in lower temperatures. Other reasons include poor ventilation, jammed auger due to wet pellets, using pellets that are old and cheap, a broken fan, and clogged vents.

David Frangos
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