You’re standing at the pellet grill, food in hand and friends around you. Everyone is anticipating some tasty barbecue. You hit the power button, hear the pellets drop, and…nothing. Your grill won’t light.
How do you rescue your barbecue when the igniter doesn’t work?
It's a question we get occasionally. Most of the time, trouble with igniting wood pellets is due to a failed igniter. In this article, we'll show you how to start your pellet grill without an igniter, and share the simple process of replacing the igniter.
Let’s get into it!
How To Test The Igniter
If you've pushed the start button and you hear pellets falling but your igniter didn’t start a fire, you’ll first want to check to see if your igniter is turning on. Below is a simple process for checking to see if your igniter is working.
Testing The Igniter
- Remove the cooking grates and diffuser to get to the fire box.
- Empty extra pellets and ash from the burn grate. You should be able to see the back of the igniter through the burn grate.
- Begin the startup process again. Pellets should fall again.
- You should see a red glow toward the back of the igniter, behind the burn grate. That tells you the igniter is working . If you don’t see the red glow, it is time to replace the igniter.
Our Troubleshooting 101 article shares a video of a working igniter for reference.
How To Light A Grill With A Torch or Fire Starter
A bad igniter doesn’t have to ruin your day. You can always perform a manual start. All you need is a handful of pellets and a fire starter or a torch.
Instructions for a manual start:
- Place a small handful of pellets to the back side of the igniter in the burn grate.
- Use a torch or fire starter to ignite the pellets in the burn grate.
- Press the power button and be sure the fans do not extinguish the fire, then press the start button and set your desired operating temperature.
- Replace the diffuser and cooking grates and allow the grill to come up to temperature.
How to Replace the Igniter
Replacing the igniter in a Yoder pellet grill is simple and quick. It requires a few basic tools and only a few steps. You can perform all work without opening the side panel of the grill. We estimate the entire project to only take a few minutes.
- 5/16” socket with an extension and a ratchet
- One flat head screwdriver for replacing the fuse
- Unplug the power cord and remove all cooking grates and the heat diffuser.
- Remove the burn grate located inside the firebox.
- Use the 5/16” socket to remove the two machine screws under the igniter housing.
- Remove the igniter housing from the cooking chamber wall.
- Reach into the fan tunnel behind the igniter until you feel the wires. Pull the wires out until you see the watertight connector.
- Unplug the connector by pushing the tab up and pulling the connectors apart. Make sure the end going back into the grill is not damaged before connecting in the new igniter.
- Connect the new igniter, making sure the locking tab clicks into place.
- Use the 5/16”screws to install the new igniter back into place against the cooking chamber wall.
- Push the wires back into the fan tunnel behind the igniter. Make sure they are not touching the igniter.
- Give the igniter a gentle clockwise turn to verify that the igniter housing is in position.
- Reinstall the burn grate
We recommend always changing the fuse when changing the igniter. This is an easy way to make sure that your new igniter gets the power it needs and you don’t have to troubleshoot further.
How to Replace the Fuse
- Find the fuse housing on the outside of the pellet hopper.
- Use a flat head screwdriver to push in the cap.
- Turn counterclockwise until the tabs release and the spring pops the cap out. Pull the cap out and replace the old fuse with a new fuse.
- Push the fuse cap with the new fuse back into the housing.
- Use the screwdriver to turn the cap clockwise, securing it into the housing.
- Reinstall the power cord, turn the grill power on, and press start to test. You should see ignition within the first 2-3 minutes.
Once you have reignited your grill and you can see the glow through the burn grate, you can get back to cooking.