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​Stop Your Coil from Burning: Top Tips and Tricks

​Stop Your Coil from Burning: Top Tips and Tricks

29th Jul 2017

There are many fabulous things about vaping; however, like all good things, there is an occasional downside. If you don’t look after your coils properly, you might enjoy the dubious pleasure of a dry or burnt hit when drawing your e-cigarette. This is a dubious pleasure because the taste of burnt cotton and sugar will likely be forgotten quickly! Thankfully, this can be avoided by following these tips for proper e-cig and coil usage.

Understanding Coil Burn and Its Impact

In vaping, a coil burn refers to overheating the coil within the atomiser of an e-cigarette or vape device. The coil, usually made of metal wire, is responsible for heating the e-liquid, transforming it into the flavorful vapour that users inhale. However, when the coil is subjected to excessive heat over an extended period, it can become damaged, leading to coil burn.

Coil burn can manifest in various ways, including a burnt taste during vaping, decreased vapour production, and even a decrease in the overall lifespan of the coil. This occurrence is particularly common among users who push their devices to the limits, either by vaping at high wattages or chain vaping, where consecutive puffs do not allow the coil enough time to cool down between draws.

Why Coil Burn Matters?

Vaping Experience: The most apparent reason why coil burn matters is its direct impact on the vaping experience. When a coil is burnt, the taste of the vapour becomes unpleasant, resembling charred or acrid flavours. This diminishes the enjoyment of the vaping session and makes it uncomfortable to inhale the vapour.

Health and Safety: An overheated coil can produce harmful by-products like formaldehyde and other toxic substances. These can harm the user's health and compromise the overall safety of vaping.

Cost-Efficiency: Frequent coil burn necessitates the need for more frequent coil replacements. This can add to significant expenses over time, as coils are essential components that require periodic replacement to maintain the device's functionality.

Coil Longevity: Regular coil burn can significantly reduce the coil's lifespan. Properly maintained coils typically last longer, providing users with a consistent vaping experience and reducing the need for replacements.

Performance: Coil burn affects the overall performance of the vape device, leading to reduced vapour production and a compromised flavour profile. This can be disappointing for vapers who seek satisfying clouds and a rich taste from their e-liquids.

What are Coil Heads?

Coil heads are needed to help produce the flavoured vapour that you enjoy when you vape. The coil contains a heating element and a wick; this component of the e-cigarette device heats the e liquids you put in the tank. Without the coil, you get no vapour which makes for a pointless vape.

Will I Know If My Coil is Burning?

Oh yes, you will know if something is wrong with your coil and it is burning as the taste is unmistakable. If you have burnt a panhandle on the stove or caught a whiff of someone burning tyres, these are the mild versions of the whiff from a burning coil. Or so some would say. The bottom line is that a burning coil neither tastes nor smells nice, so it should be avoided at all costs.

If your coil has burnt out and you’ve replaced it and refilled the e-juice remember that it might take a few puffs to replace the old burnt smell with something much more palatable.

Thankfully, if you read this guide properly and note the rather clever tips and tricks we’ve shared, you should be able to avoid assaulting your nostrils and upsetting your taste buds for the rest of the day.

What Causes Coil Burnage?

That is a very good question! To ensure you don’t suffer the consequences of coil burn, you first need to understand what causes the burning. The battery sends power through your coil, which starts to heat rapidly and becomes hot enough to turn your wick into your favourite vapour. This vapour is inhaled and enjoyed.

If this clever run of events is disrupted somehow, we start to see problems. If, for example, the battery is dead or not properly connected, we don’t get the heat, and so there is no vapour. If there isn’t enough e-liquid in the tank (or rather no e-liquid), nothing protects the wick from overheating (the e-liquid stops the wick from overheating), and things get nasty.

If there is only a very small amount of e-liquid in place and the e-cigarette is activated constantly, there won’t be enough liquid to absorb the high temperature. Therefore the e-liquid heated higher than it ever would be if the e-cigarette were working properly with adequate e-juice in place, overcooks and, in turn, helps the PG base convert/break down into formaldehyde.

Now, as scary as that sounds, you will not be subjected to anywhere near a harmful dose of formaldehyde. We know this because formaldehyde smells and tastes blooming awful. One sniff or tiny taste and your e-cigarette will fly across the room (or you’ll cough, splutter, put it down a little more and then sort the problem).

Secondly, if there is no e-liquid or insufficient e-liquid to cover the wick, protecting it from the device's heat once you fire it up, it will be in direct contact with the coil heat. The burning hot, glowing coil. You can guess what happens next, can’t you? Let’s say that if you thought formaldehyde stank, you’re in for a treat with the smell of a burnt cotton wick. Not a taste or scent you will want to revisit any time soon, or ever!

Properly Preparing Coils for Use

Properly priming your coil ensures a satisfying and long-lasting vaping experience. Priming involves saturating the wicking material of your coil with e-liquid before its initial use, allowing it to absorb the liquid and prevent the dreaded dry hit. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prime your coil effectively:

Select the Right Coil and E-Liquid: Ensure your chosen coil is compatible with your vaping device. Different coils have varying wicking materials, such as cotton or mesh, and each may require a slightly different priming technique. Additionally, choose an e-liquid with a suitable VG/PG ratio, as high VG blends may be thicker and require more thorough priming.

Disassemble the Tank: Before priming, disassemble the tank from the device to access the coil easily. This will prevent any accidental leakage during the priming process.

Drop E-Liquid onto the Coil: Identify the exposed cotton wick openings on the sides of the coil. Drip a few drops of e-liquid onto these openings, making sure not to over-saturate. This step initiates the absorption process.

Saturate the Coil's Top: With the coil still disassembled, add a drop or two of e-liquid into the centre opening on top of the coil. This helps saturate the inner cotton and prepares it for optimal wicking.

Reassemble the Tank: Carefully reassemble the tank, ensuring all components are securely in place. This prevents any unnecessary leaks during the final steps.

Fill the Tank and Wait: Fill the tank with e-liquid and allow it to sit for a few minutes. This resting period allows the coil to fully absorb the e-liquid, preventing dry hits and potential damage to the coil.

Start with Low Wattage: When using a variable wattage device, start at a low setting and gradually increase it as you vape. This gradual increase in power further ensures that the coil is adequately primed.

You Coil Needs to Be Primed

The way the coil works is to soak up the e-liquid inside the tank, which is then heated and turned into the flavoured vapour you draw in via the mouthpiece. For this process to work properly, the coil needs to be primed. It needs to be properly coated and soaked, especially before first use. If you’re using a new tank with coils already in place or have inserted/replaced coils yourself, ensure you saturate the wick and coils before use (so no dry coils to burn!).

Don’t Go Too High

If you vape using a high wattage constantly, you will find that you will lessen the lifespan of your coil significantly and run the risk of burn-out. The same is still applicable when using a sub-ohm tank. However, these setups do last longer. If you are a heavy vaper, taking long and frequent draws on your e-cigarette at high wattage, you will quickly burn off the e-liquid coating of the coils. If the coils aren’t continually soaked in e-liquid, they are more likely to burn dry if you are not vigilant.

Similarly, continually vaping at a high wattage will mean a metal coil can’t cool properly between draws. This is significant because without cooling, it won’t properly become lubricated with e-juice again, and we’re back to square one and facing a dry burn.

Don’t Vape Empty

Keep an eye on how much e-liquid is in your tank. Some e-juice naturally vaporises quicker than others, and if you aren’t keeping an eye on how frequently you are taking a draw, you could easily find yourself vaping on an empty tank. If you do that, you’ll take a draw full of the unmistakable stench of the burnt coil.

Many tanks come with indicator levels which make monitoring e-liquid levels easy; however, if your particular tank doesn’t, just keep an eye on usage and how much is left.

Less VG is Better

If you get through coils faster than expected, an e-liquid with less VG could solve your problem. While high VG e-juices aren’t known specifically for burning out coils or anything like that, they are thicker, and you may end up with a “gunky” residue if you are not taking the time to maintain your e-cigarette properly and clean out your tank. So, if you are not one for regular maintenance and aren’t too fussed about the (many) benefits of a high VG e-liquid, switching to an e-liquid with more PG could be an additional safeguard against coils burning.

Store Tanks Upright

Store your tanks upright when allowed to lay flat/on their side, particularly if the tank is only half full. You will find that the exposed coil, i.e. the coil above the e-liquid line, dries out very quickly. This setting is natural. However, if you pick up a tank left horizontal and go to vape straightaway, that wick will no longer be primed/saturated and will likely burn out much quicker. If not stored upright, let the coil re-saturate before using it again after a break.

What May Shorten the Life of a Coil?

Repetitive or Chain E Smoking:

Suppose you are a chain smoker/vaper and are constantly puffing away on your device without giving it a chance to catch up, basically not taking time between puffs. In that case, you risk overheating the coil, resulting in a burnt wick and damage to the coil.

Incorrect Voltage:

It is easy to burn out or instantly "break" a coil by using a voltage that is too high for the ohms level of your device /coils. A higher voltage level will cause a fast build-up of heat, damaging the coil (listen out for the "pop"), caused by the coil not being adequately covered in e-liquid and the heat not dissipating properly.


It might sound better than it is. This occurs when there is a build-up on the wick. Gunk builds up more often when some particularly sweet e-liquids or even tobacco-flavoured e-liquids are exposed to excess heat and when the device needs to be cleaned/maintained as well as it might be.

Viscose E Liquids:

E-liquids which sport a higher viscosity level, particularly those with a higher concentration of vegetable glycerin (VG) in the base, are prone to a reduced flow level which in turn causes the coil to overheat and be damaged/burn out.

If, despite your best efforts, you do find yourselves having to change your coils a lot more frequently than you would expect to and have been mindful of the list above, it could be that you need to decrease your voltage and increase the ohms of your device. Either this or you should try using a different one.

While mindful of these factors, you must realise that no matter how well you treat and maintain your device, coils will die regularly. This is the disposable element of e-smoking. Thankfully replacement coils are very affordable, more so if you have reached a point where you feel confident enough to make your own (some very experienced e-smokers do this to save money in the long term and further customise their e-smoke).

Avoiding Chain Vaping: Letting Coils Cool Down

Chain vaping, continuously taking consecutive puffs without adequate pauses, has become a common habit among vapers. While vaping can be a satisfying and safer alternative to smoking, chain vaping can lead to several issues, the most prominent being overheating vape coils. This can not only compromise the overall vaping experience but diminish the lifespan of coils and even pose potential health risks. To preserve the longevity of your vape setup and ensure a smooth vaping experience, here are some effective strategies for avoiding chain vaping:

Mindful Puffing: Be conscious of your vaping patterns and avoid excessive, rapid puffing. Take slower, controlled draws and savour the flavour and satisfaction each puff brings. This simple adjustment will help your coils remain at a more moderate temperature.

Proper Coil Priming: Before using a new coil, ensure it is adequately primed with e-liquid. A well-saturated coil is less likely to overheat, as it efficiently vaporises the e-juice without causing undue stress.

Increase Coil Resistance: Lower coil resistances tend to produce more significant clouds but generate more heat. Opt for higher resistance coils as they generally run cooler, reducing the risk of overheating.

Choose Suitable Wattage: Adjust your vaping device's wattage settings appropriately for the specific coil you are using. Refer to the coil's recommended wattage range provided by the manufacturer to find the sweet spot that delivers a satisfying vape without pushing the coil to its limits.

Allow Coils to Cool Down: If you've been vaping consistently, take short breaks between sessions to let the coils cool down. A few seconds of rest can significantly reduce the chances of overheating.

Airflow Management: Properly adjust your device's airflow to balance flavour and cloud production. A well-ventilated tank can help dissipate excess heat and prevent the coil from becoming too hot.

Ways to Avoid Coil Burn

Vaping is a great alternative to smoking and an enjoyable hobby in its own right. If you learn how your e-cigarette works and put the effort in, in terms of maintenance and just keeping an eye on the amount of e-liquid you use/have left in the tank, the chances are that you will be able to avoid dry hits (nasty burning taste) and prolong the lifespan of your coils, which will also save you money in the long-run.

Choosing the Right E-liquid: Factors to Consider

When it comes to vaping, choosing the right e-liquid is crucial to enhance your overall vaping experience. Among the various factors to consider, the impact of different e-liquids on coil burn is a significant aspect that directly affects the longevity and performance of your vaping device. Let's explore how various e-liquids can influence coil burn and what factors you should consider.

PG/VG Ratio:

E-liquids have two primary components: Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG). A higher PG ratio tends to be thinner and may not require as much heat to vaporise, making it easier on coils. On the other hand, high VG e-liquids are thicker and can be more challenging for coils to vaporise efficiently, potentially leading to quicker coil burnout. Finding the right balance that suits your device is essential in prolonging coil life.

Sweeteners and Flavorings:

Some e-liquids contain sweeteners and intense flavourings, which can leave residues on the coil. When heat exposure, these residues may caramelise and gunk up the coil, resulting in decreased performance and a burnt taste. Opting for e-liquids with reduced sweeteners or cleaner flavour profiles can help maintain coil health.

Nicotine Content:

The nicotine level in e-liquids can impact coil burn. High concentrations can contribute to a harsher throat hit, requiring increased wattage to achieve satisfaction. This can strain the coil and lead to quicker burnout. Choosing an e-liquid with an appropriate nicotine level can alleviate this issue.

Quality of E-liquid:

Investing in high-quality e-liquids from reputable manufacturers can make a notable difference in coil longevity. Premium e-liquids often undergo rigorous testing and use better ingredients, reducing the likelihood of impurities that could harm coils.

Device and Coil Compatibility:

Different devices and coil types have unique tolerances and recommended wattage ranges. Using an e-liquid that matches the specifications of your device and coil can help prevent undue stress on the coil and ensure a more satisfying vaping experience.

Frequency of Vaping:

The frequency of vaping also plays a role in coil longevity. Heavy vapers may experience quicker coil burn due to constant exposure to heat. Choosing an e-liquid that promotes optimal coil health becomes even more critical if you vape frequently.

Troubleshooting: Identifying and Fixing Coil Burn

Vaping has gained significant popularity as a safer alternative to smoking, but like any electronic device, vape coils can sometimes encounter issues. One common problem vapers face is coil burn, resulting in an unpleasant vaping experience and diminished flavour production. Understanding how to identify and fix coil burn is essential for any vape enthusiast to maintain the longevity and performance of their device. This section delves into the details of troubleshooting coil burn, enabling vapers to enjoy a smooth and flavorful vaping experience.

Identifying Coil Burn

Flavour Alterations:

The first sign of a burnt coil is a noticeable change in the flavour of your vape. The e-liquid's taste may become harsh, metallic, or excessively bitter, indicating the coil no longer adequately vaporises the liquid. If you notice a sudden and unpleasant shift in taste, it's time to check for coil burn.

Unusual Smell:

A burnt coil emits a distinct, foul odour when activated. Your coil is likely compromised if you detect an acrid or burnt smell while vaping. This smell is an unmistakable indicator that the coil needs attention.


Visually inspecting the coil is another way to identify burn issues. A burnt coil may exhibit a dark, charred appearance, or you might notice a buildup of dark gunk on the coil's surface. Regularly inspecting the coil will help you catch the problem early.

Fixing Coil Burn

Priming the Coil:

When you install a new coil or replace an old one, it is crucial to prime it before use. Priming involves saturating the coil's wick with e-liquid, allowing it to absorb the juice properly. This prevents the coil from burning out prematurely during its first use.

Lowering Wattage:

High wattage settings can cause the coil to overheat, leading to burn issues. To avoid this, start at a lower wattage setting and gradually increase it until you find the optimal vapour production and flavour spot. Staying within the recommended wattage range specified by the coil manufacturer can prevent coil burn.

Avoid Chain Vaping:

Chain vaping, which involves taking consecutive puffs with minimal breaks, can overheat the coil. Take longer breaks between puffs, allowing the coil to cool down and extend its lifespan.

Proper E-Liquid:

Using the right type of e-liquid is essential to prevent coil burn. High VG (Vegetable Glycerin) liquids are thicker and more challenging for the coil to vaporise efficiently. Opt for e-liquids with balanced VG/PG (Propylene Glycol) ratios that match the coil's compatibility.

Regular Maintenance:

Regularly clean and maintain your vape device to prevent residue accumulation and gunk on the coil. Cleaning the tank and changing the coil per the manufacturer's recommendations will provide a better vaping experience.

Regular Maintenance: Cleaning and Care for Coils

Properly maintaining and cleaning coils is essential for the optimal performance and longevity of various appliances and systems, including air conditioners, refrigerators, and vaping devices. Coils are responsible for heat transfer and cooling, and when they become clogged or dirty, their efficiency diminishes, leading to higher energy consumption and potential equipment malfunctions.

Why Regular Coil Cleaning Matters

Coils play a crucial role in heat exchange processes. In air conditioners and refrigerators, they facilitate the transfer of heat, allowing the systems to cool and maintain desired temperatures. In vaping devices, coils vaporise the e-liquid, producing flavour and vapour. Over time, coils accumulate dust, dirt, and debris, forming a thick layer that acts as an insulator. This buildup restricts heat transfer and reduces efficiency, making the equipment work harder and consume more energy. Regularly cleaning coils can prevent these issues and ensure smooth operation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Clean Your Coil:

Here are some of the key steps you need to take to ensure you are cleaning your vape coil correctly to avoid coil burn.

Power Off and Disassemble:

Before cleaning any appliance or device with coils, ensure it is powered off and disconnected from the electrical supply. Disassemble the equipment following the manufacturer's guidelines to gain access to the coils.

Visual Inspection:

Inspect the coils for visible dirt, debris, or residue. Use a flashlight to get a clear view of the coil's condition.

Dust Removal:

Start by gently brushing off loose dust and debris using a soft-bristled brush or a handheld vacuum cleaner. Be cautious not to bend or damage the delicate coils.

Soaking in Cleaning Solution:

Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of water and vinegar or using a specialised coil cleaner (for appliances). Submerge the coils in the solution for several minutes to loosen stubborn deposits.


Thoroughly rinse the coils with clean water to wash away the cleaning solution and dissolved contaminants.

Air Drying:

Allow the coils to air dry completely before reassembling the equipment. This step is crucial, as any residual moisture can cause damage or corrosion.

Coil Integrity Check (Vaping Devices):

For vaping enthusiasts, after cleaning, inspect the coil's condition carefully. If it shows signs of wear or damage, replace it with a new one to ensure optimal vaping experience and safety.

FAQs: Common Questions About Coil Burn

This section will delve into common questions about coil burn, providing detailed insights to help vapers better understand and address this problem.

What causes coil burn?

Coil burn is primarily caused by the accumulation of residue on the heating coil. As e-liquids vaporise, they leave behind sticky deposits on the coil, decreasing their efficiency. Additionally, sweetened or high VG e-liquids can exacerbate this issue due to their thicker consistency and higher sugar content, which can caramelise and gunk up the coil faster.

How can I prevent coil burn?

To prevent coil burn, regular maintenance is crucial. Cleaning the coil and changing it periodically can significantly extend its lifespan. Using e-liquids with lower sweetener content and maintaining proper wattage settings can also help reduce residue buildup.

What are the signs of a burnt coil?

A burnt coil often produces a distinct burnt taste while vaping, which can be unpleasant. Additionally, vapers may notice reduced vapour production, a change in flavour profile, and a shorter lifespan for the coil.

How frequently should I replace my coils?

The frequency of coil replacement depends on several factors, such as vaping habits, e-liquid ingredients, and the coil's material. On average, coils may last anywhere from one to two weeks before requiring replacement. However, vapers who vape frequently or use high VG e-liquids may need to replace their coils more often.

Can I fix a burnt coil?

Unfortunately, once a coil is burnt, it cannot be fully restored to its original state. Attempting to continue using a burnt coil may result in more unpleasant flavours and potential health risks. Therefore, it is best to replace the coil promptly to maintain a satisfying vaping experience.

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