Why Won’t My Charcoal Grill Get Hot? Reasons Explained

Charcoal grills are known for their heat efficiency. They offer higher heat than electric and gas grills. But things become unusual when you start noticing that your charcoal grill isn’t getting hot as it should. But what’s the reason behind this occurrence?

You can find so many reasons that your charcoal grill won’t get hot as expected. The most common of them is there are lots of unnecessary ashes in the kettle. And to help you guys out, we’re here with prominent information on all the possible reasons that are to blame for preventing a charcoal grill from getting hot.

Therefore, you’re requested to read this article till the end. 

Why Won’t My Charcoal Grill Get Hot

Reason Behind the Charcoal Grill Not Getting Hot

It can be pretty annoying when you held a BBQ party at your home and while starting grilling for the guests, you find that your charcoal grill fails to get hot. Although not quite like this, many have suffered near-term suffering. 

If you’re a BBQ lover and do grilling frequently, the problem will seem more painful for you. In this case, it’s a must to do the right things for fixing the issue. But before that, you should know the reasons that are causing this problem. Have a look –

  • Old charcoal
  • Wet charcoal
  • Excessive charcoal
  • Insufficient charcoal
  • Dirty grill
  • Blocked air vents
  • Defective thermostat 
  • Incorrectly assembled grill 
  • Cold weather
  • High altitude

Now that you got a basic idea about the reasons, it’s time to get deeper into it.

1. Old Charcoal

When charcoal is remaining for a long time (at least a couple of weeks), it downgrades its fuel efficiency. It may look fine like other fresh coal, but it won’t burn as hot as the fresh one. Therefore, you should replace the charcoal with some fresh ones and give them a try.

2. Wet Charcoal 

If your charcoal is wet or soaked, it definitely won’t get hot expectedly. If you used to store your charcoal outside near the grill, most likely it can get wet by outer impacts such as humidity, fog, rain, or accidental water splash. That’s why until the internal water gets vaporized, the charcoal won’t get hot.

3. Excessive Charcoal

When you use too much charcoal, it takes time to light them all. You may not need that much charcoal but you provide it thinking that you’ll be grilling for a long time. Even if so, don’t use too much coal at a time. Put a sufficient amount of charcoal in the kettle that’ll light up easily. Then add extra charcoal to the current one if needed.

4. Insufficient Charcoal

Your charcoal grill requires a certain / least amount of charcoal to get hot. If you don’t provide that much charcoal, it won’t possibly hot your grill as it should to cook. So, next time ensure that you use a sufficient amount of charcoal.

5. Dirty Grill 

When your grill is dirty or has enough sticky food residue on it, it can prevent the internal heat to get properly distributed. If you don’t clean your griddle or grate after use, it causes a layer of grime and grease on them. As a result, it prevents food from cooking properly and it looks like the grill isn’t hot.

6. Blocked Air Vents  

If your grill’s air vent is somehow blocked, it can’t provide the fire necessary amount of oxygen. This way the charcoal won’t burn properly and cause lower heat along with excessive smoke. Therefore, confirm that your grill’s air vents are open and clear.

7. Defective Thermostat

The grill’s thermostat that comes with it is designed to show you the warmness inside the grill. But if it gets defective, it’ll show you incorrect readings, and make you think that the grill isn’t hot enough. So, check your thermostat if it’s okay. Otherwise, replace it with a new one.

8. Incorrectly Assembled Grill

When you fail to assemble the grill correctly, it won’t deliver the heat to all food evenly, and seems like the grill isn’t hot. That’s why you should ensure that all the grill tools are placed properly in the correct position. 

9. Cold Weather

If the weather is cold, naturally it won’t let the charcoal burn as it does in average weather. Therefore, wait until the charcoal becomes enough dry to burn equally and fine as expected.

10. High Altitude 

If you’re grilling in the mountains or any other place with high altitude, it won’t be that easy to burn your charcoal because the oxygen amount remains lower at higher altitudes. The higher the altitude, the less the oxygen. In this case, all you can do is make sure that the vents are supplying air (oxygen) at its best.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions and Answers )

Does putting a lid on a charcoal grill make it hotter?

No, it doesn’t. Only the gas grill requires putting the lid on so that the inside can get hotter to cook better. But when it comes to charcoal grills, it’s the reverse. You should keep the lid open to make it hotter. 

How long does it take for charcoal grills to get hot enough?

Well, it mostly depends on the quality and amount of charcoal you’re using to grill your food. If you use a sufficient amount of fresh charcoal, it won’t take much time (less than 20 minutes). But if the quality and amount of charcoal are low, you may need more time to get your grill hot enough.

How long should a charcoal grill last?

It depends on the quality of your charcoal grill. A high-end charcoal grill should last up to 25 years. A low-end charcoal grill won’t last more than 5-7 years. And an average charcoal grill can withstand 10-15 years. 


Thus far, we’ve enlisted all the possible reasons that are to blame for preventing your charcoal grill from getting properly hot and also described them to make it convenient for you. Now you can check which one is causing your problem and take the necessary steps to fix it. Let us know about your reason and if you fix the problem according to it. Don’t hesitate to knock us for further queries.

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