Electric smokers are a convenient way to smoke meat and other foods, but they can occasionally malfunction. If your electric smoker stops working, don’t panic! Most problems can be fixed with a little bit of troubleshooting. In this article, we will show you how to repair an electric smoker.
There are a few key takeaways to remember when repairing an electric smoker. First and foremost, never start tinkering with your smoker without first disconnecting it from power. Second, make sure you have all of the necessary tools on hand before you begin. This includes a screwdriver, pliers, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, a hammer, and a propane torch. (Note: If you are not comfortable using a propane torch, it is best to enlist the help of a professional.) Finally, make sure you remove the chip loader before you begin dismantling the smoker. This will allow you to clean all of the parts more easily. You can use an emery board or sandpaper to clean any dirt or grime off of the parts, but be sure to use a fine grain so as not to damage them further.
Repairing an Electric Smoker
Repairing an electric smoker is not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, it only requires a few inexpensive parts and a tool you may not already have in your toolbox — a propane torch. However, we don’t recommend the use of a propane torch in particular for repair beginners. Though it’s fairly straightforward, a certain amount of experience with household repairs is required in order to do every step safely. If you don’t feel comfortable attempting the repair yourself, we suggest reaching out to a professional.
One insider tip is to use 100% natural hardwood for smoking. This will burn the cleanest and most consistently, and can reduce the amount of maintenance and cleaning your electric smoker requires. Hardwoods also produce a great flavor that's difficult to replicate with other types of wood. Be sure to avoid using resinous woods like cedar or pine, as these can create an unpleasant taste in your food.
STEP 1: Remove the front control panel by pulling it off the smoker. STEP 2: Remove the ash pan by pulling it out. STEP 3: There are screws attaching the chip box or wood chip tray to the smoker’s inner wall. Remove them.
After unplugging your smoker, you'll need to remove the nuts and bolts attaching the chip box to the lower support. Then carefully remove the chip box, exposing the heating element in the cooking charcoal. If you see any damage to the element, you can try to fix it with a welding torch. If that's not an option, you'll need to replace the entire heating element.
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. Now that the smoker is cool, it's time to clean the heating element. Use steel wool and a wire brush to remove all the residue and carbon buildup. Be very careful not to damage the heating element while you're cleaning it.
STEP 5: Carefully clean the heating element. Use steel wool and a wire brush to remove all the residue and carbon buildup. Make sure you clean all the nooks and crannies to prevent future problems.
Attach the male connectors to the heating element. The connectors have a small flat blade on them, which should be facing downwards. Solder the new 14-16 male connector(s) to the heating element. Make sure they are secure, and then reattach the smoker cover.
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. Make sure that all connections are tight and free of any fraying or exposed wiring.
STEP 8: Reinstall the cleaned and repaired heating element, wood chip box, and ash pan. With the unit still facing up, carefully place the heating element back in its slot. Make sure that the wire leads are in the same position as they were before you removed them. If they're not, you can gently move them into place with your fingers. Next, reinstall the wood chip box. Again, make sure that it's in the correct position and that the tabs fit into the slots on either side of the smoker. Finally, reinstall the ash pan by fitting it over the pins at the back of the smoker. Make sure that it's securely in place, then screw on the cover.
Whether you inherited an electric smoker from a family member or you just didn't take very good care of your smoker and it stopped working, it's not the end of the world. Even if the damage seems beyond repair, there are some things you can do to get your smoker up and running like new again. Follow these simple steps and you'll be smoking up a storm in no time!
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