Temperature Problems

Normal grill operation?

If you have just got a new Z Grill, then it may in fact be operating normally. The temperature will often overshoot the target by as much as 20ºC (40ºF) before stabilising as shown in the temperature graph below.

For more information about grill operation click here.

Z Grills pellets smoker temperature graph

Temperature keeps rising

If the temperature rises well above the current temperature setting, it could be for a number of reasons:

Too much heat release:

  • Heat released from the initial startup process (click here for more information)
  • Leaving the grill lid open for extended period of time will cause many pellets to feed into the fire-pot, creating a large fire. When the lid is finally shut the amount of heat released can result in the grill significantly overshooting the temperature setting.
  • A fire-out has occurred resulting in a large amount of pellets in the fire-put and excessive heat output. Click here for information about fire-out occurring.
  • Wood dust (from bottom of bag of pellets) dumping into the fire-pot and release large batches of heat causing temperature spikes. Avoid pouring wood dust into the hopper. If the pellets have lots of dust, even consider giving them a sift. Click here for more information about wood pellets.

What to do?

Open the grill lid until the temperature drop down close to the temperature setting on the grill. Don’t leave the lid open so long that the temperature drops below the setting otherwise even more pellets will be delivered, further increasing the temperature. The lid can be opened a few times to bring the temperature down.

Expect the temperature to still climb back above the target for a period of time before gradually dropping back down and stabilising.

Temperature sensor issue

If the temperature rises rapidly towards the maximum temperature setting and beyond there may be a problem with the controller or temperature sensor in the grill.

Click here to diagnose and fix a faulty temperature probe.

High temperature shortly after startup

During the first 5-7 minutes of startup (switching from Shut Down Cycle to Smoke) lots of wood pellets will be dropped into the fire-pot to establish the fire. These pellets will release a lot of heat and easily take the grill temperature up to 140ºC (280ºF), especially in hot weather.

If you are planning to cook at a lower temperature than this, leave the lid open for up to 10min after turning on (so 3-4 minutes after smoke clears). This will allow more heat to be released. Shut the lid and set to the desired temperature.

If the temperature on the controller display is LOWER than the setting, do NOT leave the lid open, as lots of wood pellets will be dropped into the fire-put. In this situation just shut the grill lid and wait for the temperature to stabilise.

Getting the grill up to temperature quickly

If you are planning to cook at a high temperature (>135ºC), shut the lid as soon as the first big cloud of smoke begins to clear after startup. This will help get the grill to the desired temperature more quickly.

Always start the grill with the lid open

Changing from high to low temperature setting

If the setting is changed from a high temperature to a much lower target it can take a long time for the temperature to drop, especially in hot weather. This is due to the fact that a fire is always maintained in fire-pot, so continually releasing more heat.

To speed up the process, follow these steps:

  1. Set the controller to the desired lower temperature target.
  2. Open the grill lid.
  3. Once the temperature on the controller gets close to the target temperature, close the lid. Do not let the temperature drop below the target or more pellets will be delivered to the fire-pot.
  4. If the temperature spikes far above the target again, repeat step 3 multiple times.

Fire-out during temperature drop

Changing from high to low temperatures can sometimes result in a fire-out, especially in very hot weather. This can happen if the grill temperature is far above the target so very few pellets are delivered into the fire-pot, which can result in the fire going out.

Click here to learn more about fire-out and what to do.

Temperature too low (can’t reach target)

If the grill can’t reach the target temperature, the first thing to check is that the fire-pot has been recently cleaned of ash. A large thick bed of ash can smother the fire. Some wood pellets, especially soft wood varieties, can have low heat output (low energy density) and will struggle to reach high temperatures.

Moist pellets will also provide poor heat output and also risk having the fire go out.

Try using a hardwood pellet, or type that you know can reach high temperatures. If confirmed that the wood pellets are the problem (but not serious moisture issue), don’t throw them out, you can mix some of them in with good wood pellets to gradually use them up.

If the temperature is not able to reach the target with pellets that you know are fresh, dry and have worked well in the past, it may be a problem with the grill.

Try these steps to check the operation of the grill:

  • Take out the baffle, grease tray and grill racks so you can see in the fire-pot
  • Start up the grill and once the fire is established, turn the controller dial to the highest temperature setting.
  • Watch the pellets dropping into the fire-pot. The auger should rotate almost continually delivering pellets, pausing only for a few seconds every minute or so.
  • If the auger is pausing for long periods please contact us for assistance.
  • If the auger is rotating almost continually, put the baffle and grease gray back in, shut the grill lid and let it run for at least 30 minutes and see what temperature is reached.

In addition to the steps outlined above, also review the troubleshooting flowchart at the bottom of this page.

Temperature troubleshooting guide

Work through the troubleshooting flowchart below to help diagnose a Z Grill that is not stabilising close to the controller setting. It can take 10 to 15 minutes for the temperature to stabilise, so always wait that long before determining that there is a problem.

Click on the image below for larger view in new window for easier reading.

Z Grills Temperatures Not Accurate Troubleshooting

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