Home » Pit Boss Smoker Not Igniting: How to Fix It

Pit Boss Smoker Not Igniting: How to Fix It

Growing up, our family would always spend the weekends grilling and smoking different meats, and it is no wonder why I became passionate and interested in smoking and grilling.

Over the years, I have tried several smokers and grillers, and one common problem I always encounter is they sometimes fail to ignite and produce heat. The Pit Boss smoker is no exception to that.

There are several reasons why Pit Boss smokers won’t ignite, such as a problem with the control board or the fuses are blown. However, sometimes the problem might not be with the smoker but with the electrical outlet, the extension cord, or the weather. 

Finding the real reason your Pit Boss smoker won’t ignite and produce heat may need some inspection and troubleshooting.

What To Do When Pit Boss Smoker Doesn’t Ignite

It is common to experience some problems with any electrical appliance. Most brands offer a warranty for their products, and Pit Boss is one of them.

If your Pit Boss smoker fails to light up or ignite and it is still within its warranty period, then you can reach out to Pit Boss and let them check what the problem is. However, if it is older, then you may inspect it by yourself.

But of course, you can always reach out to their customer support even if your smoker is past the warranty period and you are not too comfortable troubleshooting it on your own.

But if you are confident that you can do it by yourself, here are some things you need to do:

Inspect The Extension Cord

Before you get too stressed out with your Pit Boss smoker, check the extension cord first, as it may be the culprit why your smoker is not igniting. Look out for any cracks, open wires, and check if it is too hot to touch. If the problem is with the extension cord, it is time to replace it. 

When replacing an extension cord, be sure to use an outdoor one or at least for indoor/outdoor. Also, ensure that it is a 3-prong grounded and is the correct gauge. Don’t forget to use it with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) breaker.

Check The Outlet

Your Pit Boss smoker is probably using an outdoor outlet, and it’s a GFCI outlet. To check if it is an outlet problem, plug the Pit Boss smoker directly into the outlet.

If the smoker still doesn’t work, there is most likely a problem with the outlet. You can try plugging a different appliance into it and see if it works. If nothing happens, then it might be time to call an electrician.

Check The Connections

Sometimes loose wiring is the reason your Pit Boss smoker won’t ignite or produce heat. To check if the wiring is loose, remove the control board and make sure the wires are properly connected.

It is easy to identify which wire to plug in since Pit Boss uses a colour-coding approach. Check the purple and white wires as those are the igniter wires. Loose wiring or misconnected cords usually happens when you recently replaced the fuses or control panel.

Check The Combustion Fan

If your Pit Boss has been with you for years, it is possible that the combustion fan may start to fail due to grease buildup. This normally happens if the grill is not well-maintained. If the fan can’t move properly, it won’t be able to pull air in the firepot to produce fire and blow smoke.

When this happens, the Pit Boss smoker’s heating capacity will be affected. One way to solve this is by cleaning the combustion fan. Be sure to turn off everything before cleaning it. If cleaning it didn’t do the trick, maybe it is time for a replacement. 

Check If The Igniter Is Working

If you’ve checked the connections, outlet and extension cord (if you’re using one) and they are all working fine. Then maybe the problem is with your igniter. It’s either you need to replace it with a new one if damaged or there are other reasons that are causing it.

Some reasons may be due to low-quality pellets or wet pellets and ash buildup. If it is ash buildup, empty the ash cup and make it a habit to clean it after use. Replace the pellets if they are wet and try to use other high-quality pellets.

How To Replace The Igniter

If you are sure that the Pit Boss smoker doesn’t ignite and produce heat and the igniter is broken, you need to replace it.

Under Pit Boss warranty, they can replace some parts of their smokers. However, you can always purchase an igniter or hot rod online if it is over the warranty period. Replacing it is pretty easy.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clean the Pit Boss smoker first before replacing the igniter. Using a vacuum, remove the ashes from the burn pot and the grill’s bottom. Clean the hopper as well and remove any pellets.
  2. Once the smoker is cleaned, remove the flame broiler and grill grates to access the firepot.
  3. Using a Philips screwdriver, take out the screws supporting the firepot.
  4. After removing the screws, take out the set screw that supports the igniter.
  5. Once loosened, place the igniter back via the burn tube.
  6. Below the pellet hopper, you will find the bottom plate; remove it also.
  7. There will be three zip ties that hold the wires. Cut them and pull the igniter wires via the burn tube going through the hopper.
  8. Disconnect the white and purple wires.
  9. Install the igniter by reversing the process, then put it back and secure the bottom housing below the hopper. 

Other Factors that Can Affect Pit Boss Smoker from Igniting and Producing Heat


Sometimes the weather may cause temperature issues on the smoker. Hot weather, cold temperature, humidity, and wind can cause temperature fluctuations and prevent the smoker from heating up. If the weather is cold, consider using an insulated blanket or a smoking blanket while grilling.

As much as possible, do not keep the smoker outside, especially in direct sunlight, when it is raining and the weather is cold. When storing the smoker, put a cover to protect it from all kinds of weather.


Pellets can also prevent the Pit Boss smoker from producing sufficient heat. If the pellets are wet and low-quality, they may not produce enough heat.

Try to change the pellets you are currently using with a better one and replace the pellets inside the hopper, especially if they were stored there for too long. Avoid keeping pellets in the hopper for several weeks so their quality won’t be affected.

Unkempt Pit Boss Smoker

Expect to experience some malfunctions if you don’t regularly clean your smoker. A dirty and unkempt smoker may cause some issues such as failure to ignite and produce heat. Make it a habit to regularly clean the smoker after each use, and it doesn’t have to be deep cleaning each time.

Emptying the ash cup and wiping some grease and drippings will do. However, if the smoker has reached at least 50 hours of cooking time, it is best to perform deep cleaning. This will help your smoker last longer and perform better.

Holes on Burn Pot

Over time, the burn pot may corrode and develop some holes. If the burn pot has holes, the heat may escape and prevent the grill from getting hot. This normally happens when the Pit Boss smoker is a bit old or how you maintain it.

If there are holes, replace the burn pot. However, if the damage is too severe, it is probably time to let your old smoker rest and get a new Pit Boss smoker. 

“P” Settings

Adjusting the P (Pause) Settings too far or frequently may cause flames to die out and inconsistent temperature, which may prevent the smoker from getting hot.

Adjust the P settings with 30 minutes intervals to allow it to settle. Use the P setting only in “smoke” mode. If the temperature is dropping, decrease the P setting.

Related Questions

Why is my pellet grill not lighting?

Some of the possible reasons why your pellet grill is not lighting include a faulty GCFI outlet, a bad extension cord, a loose wiring connection or a blown fuse in the back of the controller. Make sure you check these things to know what’s causing the problem.

Your grill will also not light up if the fan is not working properly or the heating rod fails to heat up. Another possible reason your grill won’t heat or light up is when there are no pellets in the firepot.

Does Pit Boss igniter have a fuse?

Yes, the Pit Boss igniter has a fuse. It uses a 120v, 5 amp, quick blowing fuse to safeguard the board from the ignitor. One of the reasons a grill is not working correctly is probably because of a blown-up fuse. Replace it immediately to get your grill working again.

David Frangos
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