A dry or “burnt” hit on your vaporizer is the worst. The raunchy flavours of singed cotton and sugar (if you’ve been vaping a sweet ejuice) do not combine well. Add the sensation of your throat and nose being raked over by dry, smoky claws, and you’ve got a pretty grim vaping experience.
So, what causes a burnt coil? Eventually, your coil will burn out as it reaches the end of its usefulness, but some factors can severely shorten the lifespan of your coil.
A coil works by allowing the cotton portion to soak up ejuice so that when the metal heats up, the cotton can wick some of this heat away from the coil and produce a vapor from the ejuice. If the cotton is not sufficiently lubricated, has become clogged, or if the temperature of the metal is too high, the cotton becomes so hot that it smoulders, producing a distinct and unpleasant odour and taste.
The following tips will help you get the longest life out of your coils, which ultimately saves you money and spares you from the discomfort of taking a hit on a bad coil.
1. Prime the Coil Before Use
Basic vaping rules like priming your coil can sometimes be overlooked or even forgotten. Unfortunately, failing to prime can ruin a perfectly good coil from the first rip of the power button. While priming does require a few minutes of your time, it will ultimately allow you to eke out better-quality vaping and a longer lifespan from your coil.
Within the coil, there should be an opening which is saturated with juice. Such an opening usually comes in the form of wicking holes. This will allow your ejuice to comfortably touch the cotton and wick to the coil.
Slowly drip ejuice onto the cotton, waiting several seconds between drips so that the cotton can become fully saturated. Reassemble your coil and tank and fill it with ejuice, then take a light draw or two from the mouthpiece without firing the power button. This will ensure the wick is fully primed before you take your first proper hit.
2. Use a Lower Wattage Setting
Vaping with a sub-ohm tank can allow you to utilise much-higher wattage, but consistently using high wattage can shorten the life of your coil, not to mention the you have to top up your eliquid more frequently. This is especially true if you tend to “chain vape,” or take several drags right after one another with little time between.
When you vape at a high wattage, the liquid absorbed by the coil’s wick could be burning off faster than the wick material can absorb more ejuice. A similar situation occurs when you take long, frequent drags, as the metal coil doesn’t have a chance to properly cool down between hits, and thus the wick isn’t able to re-lubricate itself.
3. Keep Your Ejuice Level Topped Up
When you are wrapped up in something and not paying attention to your vape tank, you might find yourself mindlessly vaping until you get that first ghastly tasting hit. We all get distracted, but you can kill your coil by letting the ejuice level run too low. Most tanks have a minimum level indicator (either on the tank itself or within the instruction booklet), and by keeping the minimum recommended amount of ejuice in your tank you will reduce the chances of getting a dry hit.
4. Switch to Ejuice Containing Less VG
If you have been vaping ejuice with a high VG content, this could be the reason why you’re blowing through coils like crazy. “High” VG content is anything at 70% or higher. VG, or vegetable glycerine, is derived from vegetable oil and is very thick, which sometimes causes it to “gunk up” coils.
Instead, opt for juices that have a bit more PG, or propylene glycol. PG is thinner in consistency and carries flavours a little better than VG. You might find that ejuice with less VG tends to have more of a “throat hit,” but the best eliquids won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable after a drag.
5. Avoid Dark and Very Sweet EJuices
Dark ejuices are so alluring and tasty, but they can also be very taxing on your coil’s wick. While opinions on this topic can vary quite a lot, the consensus is that dark juices do seem to cause premature build-up within a coil. One theory is the colourants added to the flavour oils may hasten the process of “gunky” accumulation within the coil.
Eliquids with dark colouring also tend to have sweeteners added to them, which in turn can caramelize in the wick of your coil and produce an unpleasant taste. This is also true of very sweet light-coloured eliquids, so you may want to cut back on your use of dessert flavours if you need to stretch out the lifespan of your coil.
6. Don’t Lay Your Tank Down
It is easy to keep your tank upright when it’s attached to your mod, but if you make use of more than one tank, the way that you store your tank when it isn’t in use could be causing you to burn your coil. If you allow a tank to lie on its side, the ejuice in the tank will naturally move and could prevent the wick from thoroughly absorbing the eliquid. This is especially likely if the ejuice level in the tank is less than half-full.
If you were to pop that tank onto your mod and instantly fire it up, there is a good chance you would end up burning part of the wick in your coil (the bit that wasn’t able to absorb eliquid while in storage). Try to store your tanks in an upright position. If a tank has fallen over and been allowed to rest this way for more than a few minutes, then allow the tank to remain upright for a bit before you take a hit from it.
While atomizer coils are not an expensive component, it’s always nice to get the most value for your dosh. If you are running through coils with annoying frequency, the chances are likely you’re falling prey to one of the habits mentioned above. The chances of having a bad or poorly made coil are rare if you’ve purchased ready-to-use products from a reputable shop. Honestly, the most common causes of short-lived coils are vaping at too high a wattage and using high VG ratio eliquids.
It’s always a good idea to double check a coil’s specifications to determine the ideal range of wattage for that model. If you love vaping at high power settings, it might be worthwhile to consider a coil explicitly designed for high-wattage use.