Pit Boss Troubleshooting Guide [13 Easy Solutions]

The Pit Boss grill problems that users face are temperature issues, smoker not turning on, tripped GFCI, and no smoke is produced.

Also, Pit Boss keeps shutting off, display blinking, fan not working, bad heating element, igniter problem, auger problem, yellow smoke, blank display, and inaccurate meat probe are the issues which the regular users face frequently. 

To solve all these issues by yourself, simply read our today’s Pit Boss troubleshooting guide. 

pit boss troubleshooting guide

Pit Boss Troubleshooting [13 Easy Solutions]

We’ll provide you with in-depth and simple solutions for the common problems faced by Pit Boss users. So keep on scrolling!

1. Temperature Problems

Some of the most common Pit Boss temperature problems are no heat at all, the temperature is too high at the smoke level, the grill isn’t heating to set temperature, flare-ups, and temperature fluctuations.

(i) Pit Boss Not Heating Up

Is your Pit Boss not heating up? It could be because of unfavorable weather, ignition problems, the smoker clogged with dirt and debris, the combustion fan not working properly and the automatic starting isn’t working.

pit boss not heating up


The Pit Boss should be covered with an insulating blanket to protect it from cold weather. Igniter or combustion fan may need replacement if they don’t work after cleaning.

If the issue isn’t fixed even after doing these things, then you can read our comprehensive guide on why Pit Boss not heating and how to fix it or call a professional.

(ii) Overheating At The Smoke Function

The P level is set too low if the grill gets too hot while using the SMOKE function. 

overheating at the smoke function


To increase the p-setting, make sure the temperature dial is set to SMOKE, and then press the P setting button.

(iii) Grill Cooler Than Set Temperature

Pit Boss problems related to temperature because of low oxygen level in the burn pot which limits combustion. Another reason can be-

grill cooler than set temperature
  • Bad combustion fan
  • Bad temperature probe
  • Less pellet in the hopper than needed
  • Damp pellets
  • P-setting too low


Check the burn pot, combustion fan, and air intake for any signs of blockage, and remove them. You may need to get a new burn pot if it is corroded or replace the fan or temperature probe in case they are bad. 

Add more pellets to the hopper while ensuring that all pellets are dry. Increase the P-setting to get a hotter fire.

(iv) Flare-Ups And Overheating

A Pit Boss overheating and flare-up is caused by too much grease or oil in the grease tray or on the grill grates. Furthermore, if the lid is partially or entirely open, your grill may catch fire.

Cooking at high heat for an extended period of time might create flare-ups as well.


Do the following to check this issue.

  • Before you begin cooking, clean the oils, dirt, and grease from the grease tray and grill cooking grates.
  • Keep the cover perfectly closed to prevent oxygen from entering the smoker.
  • Remember to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the smoker and the flames while cooking over a lengthy period of time with high heat.

(v) Temperature Fluctuations

A variety of factors can contribute to  Pit Boss temperature fluctuation. Bad weather or dirty temperature probes can be liable too.

pit boss temperature fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations are unavoidable when grilling, so you’ll never be fully free of them. Excessive fluctuation, on the other hand, might cause grease fires.


Keep the grill out of direct sunlight and avoid grilling when the weather is windy or rainy. Consider purchasing a grill cover for added insulation if you enjoy cooking all year.

On a regular basis, clean the probes, cooking grates, and dome thermometer.

2. Pit Boss Won’t Turn On

pit boss won't turn on

You’ll find that your smoker display is blank when your unit isn’t getting power. The reasons behind this issue can be-

  • Bad power outlet
  • An extension cord is too long
  • Tripped fuse
  • Bad control panel


Check that you have plugged in the smoker tightly and the power outlet is okay. You should never use a pellet grill with a cord that is longer than 25 feet.

A blown fuse can disrupt the power supply. Check and fix the issue.  In case your Pit Boss grill keeps blowing fuse, get an electrician to take a look. 

If everything else checks out fine, the culprit is most likely your control panel. Contact Pit Boss to send you a new control panel in case it malfunctions.

3. Tripped GFCI

The following things can be behind your Pit Boss smoker tripping GFCI.

tripped GFCI
  • ground faults
  • broken heating element 
  • Circuit overload
  • moisture in the receptacle box
  • lack of weatherproofing
  • electrical fault
  • faulty GFCI outlet


Check for any signs of damage on the unit. Replace the heating element if broken. Ensure that the GFCI circuit can handle at least 15 amps of power. Remove other heavy appliances from the same GFCI circuit as the smoker.

Use a blow dryer to dry the receptacle box if moist. Get a protective cover that will protect your smoker. Read our Pit Boss tripping GFCI troubleshooting guide for an elaborate look at the problem and its solution.

4. Pit Boss Not Smoking

You can’t expect your Pit Boss to keep smoking throughout the entire cooking process.

pit boss not smoking

But in case there is no smoke throughout the entire cook, the following things may be wrong.

  • Hopper isn’t feeding enough pellets to the smoker.
  • Pellets are damp and clamping together
  • Grill temperature too high
  • Bad pellets


You can replace your hopper with one that has more holes so pellets can be fed quickly to the auger. Only fill your hopper to half of its capacity to help quick feeding.

Make sure your pellets are dry. Cooking food at lower temperatures is good for smoking. Keep the temperature close to 250° F whenever possible.

Trying out different pellets is good. Some brands produce a lot more smoke than others. And for a better understanding, you can read our guide on why Pit Boss not smoking and how to fix it.

5. Smoker Keeps Going Out

Another issue that users face more frequently is that their Pit Boss keeps shutting off. There are many possible causes behind this trouble.

smoker keeps going out
  • Bad Pellet Quality
  • Dirt accumulation
  • Incorrect P-setting
  • Long cooks on a low temperature
  • Bad hopper design
  • Faulty meat probes
  • Old system


To fix your smoker keeps shutting off issue, use quality wood pellets & enhance the shelf life of your smoker. Try purchasing 100% hardwood pellets. Remove the grease, empty the fire pot, and wipe the smoker’s surface. 

Set the P-setting to the rate of pellet feeding you need for the cook you’ll be going for. Avoid cooking at low temperatures for too long. Simply spread the pellets out in the hopper using your hands to assist them to reach the auger.

It can be that your smoker is simply wearing out from use. Hopefully, your Pit Boss flameout the problem will be solved.

6. Pit Boss Display Blinking

Sometimes you may notice your Pit Boss shows a few error codes on the display or the grill gets stuck at a particular temperature. Below, we will explain the reasons behind your Pit Boss display flashing and how to fix it.

Pit Boss Error Codes

Here are the most common Pit Boss error codes users are troubled with.

(i) ErL Code

The Pit Boss ErL code means that the smoker flame is too low and that the appropriate temperature cannot be reached.

pit boss ErL code

Control board failure, a low-set chimney cap, a faulty temperature probe, a jammed auger, a faulty igniter, and faulty wiring can be behind this error message. 


Control board replacement, lifting up the chimney cap, replacing the temperature probe, cleaning out the auger and firepot, replacing the igniter, and replacing damaged wires are possible solutions to this error code.

You can also read the ultimate guide on why the ErL error code occurs and how you can easily fix it by yourself

(ii) ErH Code

The Pit Boss ErH code simply indicates that your smoker has been over 600°F for an extended period of time.

pit boss ErH code 

Ash buildup, grease fire, faulty temperature probe, bad control board, poor pellet quality, low P-setting, and incorrect connection can cause this error code.


You’ll need to clean out your auger and firepot, put out any grease fire, get a new temperature probe, replace the control board, use better quality pellets, increase the P-setting or ensure proper wire connection as a solution to this error code.

Plus, you can read our ultimate solution guide to Pit Boss ErH error code.

(iii) Temperature Blinking

Pit Boss temp blinking indicates that you’re losing heat. In this situation, the auger continues to feed pellets in an attempt to re-heat the fire. But because the flame has been extinguished, it merely keeps feeding, causing a massive mess in the firepot. 

pit boss temperature blinking

The culprit can also be a bad igniter. Sometimes the internal temperature probe or control board can be the one to blame. 


Make certain the firepot is entirely free of debris. Check on the igniter to see if it becomes red when you try to heat the smoker. In case the igniter doesn’t turn red, check the wiring. If the wiring checks out, you need to replace your igniter. 

Increase the temperature gradually instead of trying to get your smoker to 400° F in one go. You probably need a new control box or temperature probe in case the issue still persists. 

(iv) Three Dots Flashing

Pit Boss 3 dots flashing is an indication of your igniter being on. It simply means that your grill is working. There is no problem to be solved when this happens. Don’t sweat over it. 

7. Fan Not Working

When the fan fails, combustion suffers, and your grill’s heat efficiency suffers as well. Pit Boss fan not working can be the result of improper grill maintenance and grease buildup which hampers the grill’s movement.

pit boss fan not working

This issue can also be caused by the improper wiring of the fan.


Begin by looking at the wire connections between the fan and the control board. Ensure that the wiring is tightly secured and correctly connected. 

If your fan wiring is okay, you probably have a  faulty fan. All you can do to solve this issue is to replace the fan. Watch this video to DIY replace your fan and save some money. Also, you can read our comprehensive solution guide on why the Pit Boss fan not functioning.

8. Bad Heating Element

A defective heating element will render the unit useless. Here are the reasons for your Pit Boss heating element not working.

  1. Dirt and debris accumulation.
  2. The heating element got fried due to a power surge.
  3. Wear and tear.


You can start by cleaning the heating element. Remove it and clean any blockages by lightly rubbing the gunks away. If this does not fix your problem, you will need to replace the heating element. 

9. Igniter Problems

The common Pit Boss igniter problems are ignitor not working and igniter staying on. We’ll take a look at these issues.

pit boss igniter problems

(i) Ignition Failure

Your Pit Boss ignitor not working results in an ignition failure. Without ignition, your smoker won’t heat up.


You’ll need to replace your igniter to solve this issue. Here are the steps for Pit Boss igniter replacement.

  • Unscrew the ignitor.
  • Place the ignitor via the burn tube after unscrewing it.
  • To get to the ignitor, remove the bottom of the pellet hopper.
  • Disconnect the purple and white cables by cutting the zip ties that are holding the wires together.
  • Connect the white and purple wires to the new ignitor.
  • To insert the new ignitor in its place, do the above steps in reverse.

(ii) Igniter Stays On

Pit Boss igniter stays on when a faulty igniter wire connection to the control board is made or the control board itself is faulty. The igniter will stay on even if your grill is switched off if the igniter wiring becomes broken or kinked. 


The igniter wire connection to the controller is worth inspecting. If you see that the wiring has become damaged, replace it with fresh wiring. Finally, if fixing the wire connections does not yield results, replace the igniter.

For a faulty control board, contact Pit Boss customer service to send you a new control board.

10. Auger Problems

Common Pit Boss auger problems are motor not turning, noise coming from the auger, clogged auger, and auger not primed. 

pit boss auger problems

(i) Auger Motor Not Turning

An auger jam or a malfunctioning motor could be the cause of your Pit Boss auger motor not turning. If the pellets in the auger tube absorb enough moisture, they may swell and re-solidify, locking the auger in place. The auger motor will be unable to rotate the auger at all if this occurs.


To unblock the blocked auger, remove it from the grill and remove the obstruction. If the auger isn’t jammed, you may need to replace the motor. Contact Pit Boss customer service for help

(ii) Auger Making Noise

Is your Pit Boss auger making noise? It can be because of stuck pellets in the auger, old auger motor bearings, bent auger screws, or rust build-up in the auger.


Check to see if there are any pellets stuck in the auger. Remove them.  You may need to replace your motor bearings. To straighten out bent auger screws, remove the auger rod from its mounting and disassemble it.

On a flat surface, roll the auger until the bend is fixed. Replace the auger in case none of these work.

(iii) Debris Accumulated In The Auger

Pit Boss clogged auger is a common issue. It will be quite expensive to repair the auger if it is destroyed. Using wet pellets could cause the auger to get black


Cleaning out the auger channel on a regular basis is a good idea. Just remember not to shove anything down the auger if you don’t want to harm it. Make sure that the pellets you’re using are dry and won’t clump together.

(iii) Unprimed Auger

Before utilizing the auger for the first time, or whenever the hopper runs out of pellets, you must prime it. The auger may now fill the firepot with pellets after priming. 


Turn off the grill and unhook it from the power source. Then, following the priming process described in the video below, restart it.

11. Yellow Smoke

There’s definitely too much grease buildup inside the cooking chamber if the smoke has a yellowish tint or if the grill is creating a lot of smoke. 


To get rid of Pit Boss yellow smoke, clean the cooking grates and the interior of the lid after each use to avoid the problem, especially if you cooked oily dishes like burgers or chicken thighs.

It’s also a good idea to look for any obstacles in the hopper and burn the pot. While you’re examining the hopper, toss out any damp pellets and replace them with a new batch of dry pellets.

12. Blank Display

Pit Boss display not working or staying blank completely can be the result of a lack of power. Lack of power can be a result of a blown fuse, a bad power outlet, or an excessively long extension cord.  It could also mean that your smoker’s control panel is bad.

pit boss blank display


Ensure that the smoker is getting power by checking on the power outlet, repairing any blown fuse, and making sure that the extension cord is shorter than 25 feet.

If you are sure that the smoker is getting power but the display is still blank, you probably have a bad control board that needs replacement.

13. Inaccurate Meat Probe

Is your Pit Boss meat probe not accurate? It can be that you received a faulty meat probe, or the tip of the probe is broken, the probe became faulty, or was incorrectly placed.

inaccurate meat probe


Ensure that the probe is attached to the port properly. When the probe is properly connected, you’ll hear it snap into place.

Check to see if your probe is physically damaged or out of shape. You may need to replace the probe if it’s connected properly but giving inaccurate results. 


What should smoker smoke look like?

At first, the smoke will be dark gray, then it will turn white as the fire burns down, and then it will reach the desired blue-smoke stage. From here, blue-hued smoke should be maintained throughout the entire cooking process.

How do you manually light a pit boss pellet grill?

Put some pellets into the firepot and make sure you can access the firepot directly. Use a Bernzomatic torch to light up the pellets. Wait for the flame to burn through the pellets. While the pellets are still hot and red, start up the pellet stove so that automatic pellet feeding starts.

What temp is P4 on Pit Boss?

The default setting of 4 is designed to keep your Pit Boss’ internal ambient temperature between 160°F and 200°F. The numbers on P-setting indicate how long the auger stops feeding pellets into the burn pot before feeding new pellets. 

Does Pit Boss have a fuse?

Yes. All Pit Boss pellet grill models have a 5 Amp fuse on the control board. The fuse keeps your control board from becoming overloaded and destroying the unit. In case your grill isn’t getting power, this part may need to be replaced.

Is a smoker hotter with vent open or closed?

A smoker with an open vent is hotter. The job of air vents is to allow oxygen into the flame. The more oxygen-rich the flame will be, the more heat you’ll get due to the proper combustion of pellets. 


The Pit Boss is one of the most popular grills out there and for good reason. Maintain your Pit Boss and enjoy making smoked meat on it for years. It is always better to maintain your smoker well instead of spending money on repairs later.

Leave us a comment below if you have any questions. We’d love to help you out.

2 thoughts on “Pit Boss Troubleshooting Guide [13 Easy Solutions]”

  1. Pit Boss 820 worked fine for 4 years, then, started tripping ground fault within 3 minutes of starting replaced the outside socket, then replaced the ground fault control on the circuit, unplugged the other appliances on the circuit still tripped. I do great Maintenace clean it on a regular basis- has a waterproof cover when not in use, unplug the unit when not in use. Ended up using an orange 2-3 prong plug and it worked for 2-3 uses… now again tripping the ground fault with the third prong isolated??? I am well studied and aware of electrical circuits, there is something with the grill itself…. what could it be?????


Leave a Comment