How to Repair an Electric Smoker

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you want to know how to repair an electric smoker, there is a general approach that applies to most models. Even the best grill will still require maintenance and repair occasionally, but most people who are handy should be able to get the job done with some household tools and inexpensive spare parts.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Don’t forget to remove the chip loader during the dismantling process, and never start a repair without making sure it’s disconnected from power. You’d disconnect it the same way as you would the Zojirushi indoor grill.
  • You may use an emery board or sandpaper during the cleaning process, but make sure it’s a fine grain so as not to damage any parts.
  • Keep in mind that this repair requires the use of a propane torch and should only be attempted by those comfortable and familiar with using one.

While you’re at it, you may want to look into gas grill igniter replacement or other grill or bbq repairs.

Smokers, electric or otherwise, require regular maintenance to be in top condition. Any outdoor cooker, like the Z Grills 700D, isn’t the easiest to clean, but it’s designed to be easy to maintain. 

Repairing an Electric Smoker

Since they work differently than wood pellet grills, repairing an electric smoker requires some inexpensive parts and at least one tool that you may not already have — a propane torch. You might think they’re similar to electric grills, but they can be very different. Though it’s fairly straightforward, a certain amount of experience with household repairs is required to do every step safely. We don’t recommend the use of a propane torch in particular for repair beginners.

Insider Tip

100% Natural hardwood burns the cleanest and most consistently and can reduce the amount of maintenance and cleaning your electric smoker requires.

STEP 1 Remove the front control panel.

Then remove the ash pan and the screws attaching the chip box or wood chip tray to the smoker’s inner wall.

STEP 2 Remove any nuts and bolts attaching the chip box to the lower support.

Then carefully remove the chip box, exposing the heating element in the cooking cha

STEP 3 Remove the heating element.

  • Disconnect any wires, removing the element’s mounting screws, grounding wire nut, and grounding screw.
  • Pull out the heating element, which should pull out easily now.

STEP 4 Carefully clean the heating element.

Use steel wool and a wire brush to remove all the residue and carbon buildup.

STEP 5 Remove the corroded connection.

  • Use the propane torch to heat the solder between the connector and the heating element.
  • Use pliers to pull off the corroded connector.
  • Clean the connection area with the rotary sandpaper tool.

STEP 6 Attach the male connectors.

Solder the new 14-16 male connector(s) to the heating element.

STEP 7 Replace any other bad connections.

Use the female 14-16 AWG connectors (and the other male connectors as needed) to replace all remaining bad connections.

STEP 8 Put the unit back together.

Reinstall the cleaned and repaired heating element, wood chip box, and ash pan.

Warning

Be sure to remove all excess moisture, old solder, and solder residue when cleaning your heating element to avoid electrical problems that could damage replacement connectors.

F.A.Q.S

How do you pre-season an electric smoker?

You can pre-season most electric smokers by running the smoker at 275 degrees without water in the water pan for three hours. During the last 45 minutes, add a half cup of wood chips to the chip box and allow it to cool completely before using it to smoke food.


Can an extension cord be used to run an electric smoker?

Yes, an extension cord can be used to run an electric smoker as long as it’s the correct kind. You need to use an outdoor extension cord labeled “W-A” to avoid potential damage to the smoker or safety hazards.


Why does my electric smoker keep turning off while it’s being used?

If your smoker shuts itself off repeatedly during the smoking process, you’re most likely tripping the GFCI electrical outlet. If that’s not the issue, a faulty connection due to a rust-coated or corroded heating element is the likely culprit.



STAT: The market size value of consumer electric smokers in 2020 was $4.01 billion and is projected to reach over $5 billion in 2025. (source)

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