Vaping is supposed to be enjoyable. But we all know that these increasingly complex devices each have their own little idiosyncrasies. As vapers, we’ve come to expect these quirks, and usually have quick fixes to set things right, even if we have to endure some foul hits along the way. That’s right, I’m talking about burnt coils – and all the harsh, metallic flavor that comes with them. When vaping, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the enjoyment of it all, inevitably forgetting to check and maintain your coils when necessary to stave off potential burns. Let’s go through a quick checklist of things you can do to keep your coils fresh, clean and firing as intended.
Whether you’re using an eGo tank or a 30mm RDA, the basic functionality of a vape coil is the same. They need to be kept moist with e-liquid at all times, otherwise the dreaded dry hit can occur. For drippers, this part is easy. By simply peeking inside the slide-off caps and gauging the e-liquid levels, experienced RDA users can determine when their coils are getting too dry, or if their wicks are improperly installed, affecting juice flow. In fact, with enough experience, you begin to sense when the next hit will be one too many.
In rebuildable tanks, it can be a little tougher and more laborious to gauge the liquid flow, so you’ll have to trust your palate more here. Still, a little preparation goes a long way. When first wicking a new set of coils, be sure to saturate the cotton and coil with some e-liquid before puffing. In fact, many vapers have found success by wetting their new wicks and coils while attached to a device. After getting them adequately saturated, give the mod a few pulses to use up some e-liquid. While it seems wasteful, doing these primer fires actually draws the e-liquid into the center of the cotton, better distributing e-liquid than by soaking alone. Once complete, wet the wicks again and reassemble the rest of the tank. Then you can fill as always. And for those who use pre-built coils, we haven’t forgotten about you. Though these devices are prettyplug and play, it always helps to prime new pre-built coils with a few drops of juice before installing into a tank, and then waiting five minutes or so before drawing. It can be the difference between outstanding flavor and 25 puffs of something resembling a vinyl band-aid.
All vape tanks are different. Despite having the same basic functionality, and similar overall designs, each one of these devices does things a little differently. Take, for example, how juice flows to the vape coil. On older sub-ohm tanks, juice flow holes were comparatively small, which helped control e-liquid consumption. But, with today’s focus on big flavor and huge clouds, these openings have only gotten taller and wider with each passing product generation.
Whether on RTAs or pre-built coils, larger openings means more surface area to keep saturated with e-liquid. What this means for vapers is that even though your new tank might have a 4 mL capacity, in reality, you still need to refill when the juice levels dip below these openings, for fear of potential dry hits and burning coils. Sure, you could do some wrist gymnastics to try and maximize the time between refills, but in the end, it’s better to keep your tank levels high, to ensure you’re not taxing your coils beyond reasonable use.
So far, our discussion of burnt coils has centered on keeping them wet, but sometimes coils fail because of other reasons -- like cleanliness. When you’re puffing away, and the flavor is still good, it’s understandable that you might not consider the amount of gunk that might be accruing on your coil, but you should. Because it happens quickly and should be addressed, to prevent flavor degradation. Approximately once a week, depending on how hard you push your equipment, it’s a good idea to take everything apart (yes, even the screws and small hardware) and give it a nice, sanitizing bath in some hot water.
I won’t bore you with how to wash things – I’ll assume you have your preferred methods – but using a setup as simple as hot water and paper towels, you can vastly improve the quality of your vape, and the safety of your equipment. After the primary gunk is gone, a few pulses to dry burn the remaining residue from the coil should be all you need to get back up and running. Oh – one thing. When cleaning your coil, be sure to rinse out any and all e-liquid remaining in the tank. Yeah, it can be painful to waste juice, but if the e-liquid was beginning to taste funny before you cleaned the coil, there’s no point in bringing potentially foul flavor to your fresh build.
It’s not often we blame hardware for problems when users are usually the root cause of damaged, burnt coils. While it’s rare, some devices can misfire or inaccurately state power and resistance. This means your screen could read 50 watts but your tank is receiving 80 watts or more. I think we all know what a gap this large could lead to. And in temperature control, such discrepancies can be even more damaging.
Of course, be sure to read your device directions to ensure it’s being used properly. And to determine if things are going awry. If so, discontinue use of your mod immediately, and try the atomizer on a different device to gauge if the mod in question is working properly.
Burnt coils aren’t a huge financial issue, but if the same problems keep happening, costs can mount. As can the frustration from devices working below expectations. To offset potential dings to the wallet, many vapers have turned to cheap, clone coils for their devices. Whether they’re pre-built coils with housings for sub-ohm tanks, or pre-made coils for use in RTAs and drippers, many vapers cut a few corners from time to time, and burnt flavors may ensue. I’ll paraphrase an age-old argument: are you really saving money if your cheap knockoff products are burning and failing three times as fast as legitimate ones? Sure, the satisfaction of beating the systemis initially exciting, but how much fun is vaping a burnt, flavorless coil instead of a branded one that offers weeks of good performance?.
Likewise, the onus of burnt coils is on you if you routinely mishandle your hardware. Whether that means dropping it, getting it wet, or letting e-liquid drip onto it without cleaning, many vapers treat their expensive technology like a throwaway toy. But these mods aren’t toys, and if you repeatedly damage your device, it can misfire, leading to burnt coils.
Of course, if you keep using damaged mods and tanks, burnt coils might be the least of your problems.
Burnt coils aren’t the end of the world. And it’s a problem that can be fixed in relatively short order. But if you’re going to take the time to get your devices working as expected, you might as well go the extra mile to ensure your coils are clean, connected and firing properly. Then you can recoup the cost and time investment through enjoying a clean, flavorful vape time and time again.