Z Grill Not Firing Up

Diagnose why your Z Grills smoker is not firing up.

If you Z Grills smoker is turning on (controller is operating) but you are not getting a fire in the fire-pot, there could be several reasons.

Start by removing the grill racks, grease tray and baffle so you can see in the fire-pot. If the fire-pot has not recently been vacuum out, please do that first, as a deep bed of ash can smother the fire.

With a clean fire-pot, turn the controller from Shut Down to Smoke and look in the fire-pot for:

  • Pellets dropping into the fire-pot (no = auger issue)
  • Air blowing into the fire-pot through the small holes (no = fan issue)
  • Any sign of smoke, or the ignition rod getting hot (no = ignition rod issue)

Now read through the sections below to determine the cause of the issue.

Auger Problem

Auger motor close up
Auger motor with small cooling fan on the front

If there are wood pellets in the fire-pot, that means the auger motor is working.

When you turn from Shut Down to Smoke, the auger does not rotate and wood pellets are not being delivered into the fire-pot, then there are two possibilities, a jammed auger, or burnt out auger motor.

Burnt out auger motor is often accompanied by a burnt plastic smell and discolouration of the auger motor.

Click here for instructions on how to replace an auger motor.

Jammed auger shaft can occur if a wood pellet gets stuck down the side of the auger, or if the grill hasn’t been used in some time and moist pellets have set hard.

This can be diagnosed by moving the end of the auger shaft in the fire-pot or bottom of the hopper. It should be loose. If tight in place it is likely jammed.

Click this link for instructions to free the a jammed auger shaft.

Fan Problem

Fan close-up
Auger motor with small cooling fan on the front

If you can hear the fan running and feel air blowing into the fire-pot, then the fan is working.

If the fan is not operating then wood pellets will pile up in the fire-pot and you might see some smoke, but a fire will not be established.

There are two possibilities with the fan not turning, either something is blocking it from turning, or the motor is burnt out.

Blocked fan can occur if anything is touching/blocking the fan blades such as one of the cables or a mouse, tree frog or insect (all of which we have seen).

Burnt out fan motor is often accompanied by a burnt plastic smell and discolouration of the fan motor.

Click here for instructions on how to replace the fan.

Ignition Rod Problem

If wood pellets are dropping into the fire-pot, air is blowing from the fan but there is no sign of smoke then the ignition rod must not be working.

Click here for instructions to replace the ignition rod.

Pellet Issues

Moist Pellets

If wood pellets are dropping, fan blowing and the ignition rod is getting hot then another possibility is the wood pellets are too moist to burn well. The fire may even be established but soon go out. Always use dry pellets!

Wet wood pellets in bag
Moist wood pellets will not burn well

Click here to learn more about wood pellets.

Ashy Pellets

If the fire keeps going out after a few hours of operation and the pellets are NOT moist, then another possibility is they are producing too much ash which is smothering the fire. This will be immediately obvious when looking into the fire-pot as lots of ash will have accumulated.

Fire-pot full of ash
Fire-pot with so much ash that the fire will be smothered

To learn more about wood pellets and ash issues, click here.

Get Replacement Parts

If you have identified the Auger Motor, Fire-pot Fan or Ignition Rod to be faulty and the grill is less than 3 years old then it is covered under warranty and you will be send a free replacement part. Click here to submit a product support request. Please explain in the comments section the diagnosis you have completed.

If your grill is out of warranty, you can purchase a replacement part from our shop here.