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pmillen

Is it Safe to Leave a Pellet Pit Unattended?

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Every now and then I read of a pellet pit hopper fire or grease fire.  So I've always thought that if my pit isn't well-away from flammables, I should take a look at it every once in a while (5-10 minutes or so).  By my thinking, Set It and Forget It refers to the temperature and not the pit.

 

But many pellet pit manufacturers are promoting Internet monitoring.  I assume that a lot of users are now "watching" their unattended pits from distant points.

 

I don’t think that’s a safe practice.  Do you?

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1 hour ago, pmillen said:

Every now and then I read of a pellet pit hopper fire or grease fire.  So I've always thought that if my pit isn't well-away from flammables, I should take a look at it every once in a while (5-10 minutes or so).  By my thinking, Set It and Forget It refers to the temperature and not the pit.

 

But many pellet pit manufacturers are promoting Internet monitoring.  I assume that a lot of users are now "watching" their unattended pits from distant points.

 

I don’t think that’s a safe practice.  Do you?

 

I leave mine unattended frequently without any second thoughts (did it today while I was at work) but.......

 

i frequently clean out my grill after each cook and its in a place where it disaster did strike, it wouldn’t burn down the house, deck or anything else.

 

i think that grease build up is the enemy 

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3 hours ago, freddyjbbq said:

i think that grease build up is the enemy 

 

I agree that it's certainly the primary culprit.  That grease can build up during a cook.

 

Not all, but many pits have the fire pot directly under the grease tray, increasing the grease fire possibility.

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I use drip pans in my pellet grill for the same reason I use them in the Kamado... it just make things cleaner and easier to keep in good shape.   You have to be cooking pretty hot in a pellet grill to have worry about a grease fire.  You also have to have a significant amount of grease inside the grill.  Proper maintenance of the grill should eliminate that potential.  

 

Hopper fires happen occasionally too.  I can't put my finger on what causes it because I have never had it happen and everyone who has had it happen always claim that they are properly cleaning their grills before each use.   The only way a hopper fire can happen is if the pellets in the auger tube get ignited and the auger is not turning.  At that point it does take a while to get it to burn all the way back to the hopper. 

 

This problem could be fixed in a design change if one of the pellet grill manufacturers would take the initiative to do it.  It would be very easy to create a pellet dispensing system at the bottom of the hopper that keeps a gap of a couple inches between the hopper and the auger tube.  

 

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Well......

 

My name is Ryan and I got lazy a few weeks ago.  It has been crazy cold and I decided to try a little experiment to see how long I could go without cleaning my grill.  I cooked on my timberline 850 for close to two months with heavy use and did not clean out the ash, grease, and I did not change the foil.  My last cook was burgers and bacon which added a lot of grease.  

 

My next cook, I heated the grill up and noticed a creosote smell.  I went out back and saw heavy smoke coming from the grill.  When I opened it, the foil had caught fire as well as my grease trap.  I killed the power and dumped water which extinguished the fire immediately.  

 

No damage to the grill as I caught it in time.  I did a heavy cleaning followed by an hour run at 500 degrees.  The grill is spotless again, and I will go back to proper maintenance moving forward.   

 

Other than this issue.... totally my fault 100% I have not had any issues with any of my grills.  I leave my pellet grill unattended regularly and rely on my wifire without hesitation.  

 

The moral of the story..... don't be lazy and keep your grill clean!

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1 hour ago, bosco said:

...........did not clean out the ash, grease, and I did not change the foil.  

 

 

Dang, i thought the "experiement" was only allowing dust (spent fuel) to build up.   didnt realize you meant grease as well

 

just when you think you know someone..... jeez.

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