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​Stop Your Coil from Burning: Top Tips and Tricks

29th Jul 2017

A burning coil is one of the downsides of vaping however if you know what you’re talking about you can quickly and easily avoid this unsavoury tasting issue and go on to enjoy a full, flavoursome, non-burny vape each and every time. 

Before going into how you can stop your coil head from burning, a brief introduction into coils/coil heads might be in order.

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 and it is this component of the e cigarette device which heats the e liquids you put in the tank. Basically, without the coil you get no vapour which makes for a somewhat 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 an unmistakeable. If you have burnt a pan handle on the stove or caught a whiff of someone burning tyres, these are the mild versions of the whiff that comes from a burning coil. Or so some would say. Basically, the bottom line is that a burning coil neither tastes nor smells at all nice so it is something to 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 take note of the really 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.

So What Causes Coil Burnage?

A very good question! In order to make sure you don’t suffer the consequences of coil burn, you first need to understand what causes the burning in the first place. Think for a minute how an e cigarette works. The battery sends power through your coil which starts to heat up rapidly and become hot, hot enough to turn the e juice your wick is soaked in and surrounded by into your favourite flavoursome vapour. This vapour is then inhaled and enjoyed.

If this clever run of events is disrupted somehow, we start to see to problems. If for example the battery is dead or not properly connected we don’t get the heat and so no vapour. If however there isn’t enough e liquid in the tank (or rather no e liquid) there is nothing protecting the wick from overheating (the e liquid stops the wick overheating) and then 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 are not going to subjected to anywhere near like a harmful dose of formaldehyde. The reason we know this is because formaldehyde smells and tastes absolutely blooming awful. One sniff or tiny taste and your e cigarette will be flying 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 not enough e liquid to cover the wick, protecting it from the heat of the device once you fire it up the wick be in direct contact with the coil heat. The burning hot, glowing coil. You can guess what happens next, can’t you? Let’s just 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 are going to want to be revisiting any time soon, or ever!

So, What’s The Answer?

First of all, it is essential that we make sure that there is an adequate amount of e liquid in the tank at all times. This should just be part of your normal maintenance routine and something you check before vaping. Doing this will go a long way towards reducing the risk of wick and coil problems resulting in foul tastes, smells and potentially damage to your e cigarette.

If you have cotton wicks (most common) “dry burning” is a no go for the simple reason that you are going to end up suffering from the above. Those looking to dry burn should ensure they have chosen ceramic wicks only. Silica wicks can be used periodically and for short time frames for dry-burning however you must be constantly vigilant therefore we’d say cotton and no dry burn, or ceramic and yes, go for it.

Protecting Your Coil

Ensuring your tank never runs dry (or too low) as well as avoiding dry burning with cotton wicks will go a very long way towards avoiding coils from burning. This doesn’t provide full-proof protection however as you need to pay attention to the coils as if they aren’t properly maintained and fitted the e liquids won’t be able to flow well enough to be present when needed, i.e. when you fire up the e cigarette, which again means a shortage of e liquid and inevitable coil burning.

Top Tips for Avoiding Coil Burning

Prime Your Coil

If your coil isn’t primed before vaping you run the risk of burning it out before you even get a chance to enjoy vaping with it at all. To avoid this, make sure that when you put in a new coil that you wait at least a good 5 minutes between filing up the tank with e liquid and firing it up in order to vape. The reason this is important is that in order to work properly and be protected the wick needs to be completely saturated with the e liquid.

To prime the coil the wick should be soaked by you manually before popping it in. Use the opening around the top of the coil head where you can see the wick and add a couple of additional droplets of e liquid (up to five droplets), then make sure the wick is soaked all the way around, via other ports.

You don’t need to do this as some vapers instead choose to simply take some draws on the loaded e cigarette without powering it up first. This can work just fine but you have to be careful not to pull through too much e liquid as doing so will sail beyond saturating the wick and move straight onto flooding the coil.

Don’t Run the Risk of Running Dry

This one solves many burnt coil problems. Just make sure that you have enough e liquid or e juice in your tank at all times. With clear tanks this is easier to monitor as you can see at a glance but most e cigarette devices have their own quick-check function.

By periodically checking, particularly if you are a heavy vaper you should be able to notice when you need to fill up before it’s too late. Remember that thanks to the TPD regulations that new tanks will be smaller which in the long term will mean filling up more regularly. While this might be a pain it’s a good thing in that you’ll be getting into the habit of checking more regularly and will soon start to recognise a pattern in how long your tank stays full.

Don’t Chain Vape

If you are someone who chain vapes, or rather takes draw after draw constantly (if you are surround by a fog of vapour this might be you) you need to hold fire! Not giving your e cig a chance to recover and the wick be covered with the next wave of e liquid will result in a burnt out-wick.

This doesn’t mean you have to take a draw then wait five minutes, far from it. Just take it easy. If you’re wondering if you’re vaping too hard in a short period of time, take note of the strength of the vapour flavour. If it is less flavoursome than you expected you might find that there isn’t as much e liquid in your coil and you are getting close to burning it out. Be mindful with your vaping.

Mind the Power

Many e cigarettes come with the option to choose your own wattage. Basically, the higher a wattage you vape at the more vapour you will be able to draw on each time. This is how people make the big vape clouds you see and hear about. Much like chain vaping, vaping on a high power setting, particularly if you are puffing away nicely will cause the e liquid to become used up quicker and you being left with a smelly, awful tasting burnt-out wick as opposed to the flavoursome vapour you were hoping for. Simply reduce the wattage setting for a time and be aware of how often you draw in a short period and whether or not you are watching the amount of e liquid you have left in the tank.

Choose PG Bases

PG is naturally thinner than VG is which means that as a base liquid it finds soaking the wick quicker and easier than the VG does. As we’ve already covered, a wick that is not properly saturated is likely to burn out and so choosing a PG base or a base which is more PG than VG will make all the difference, unless of course you are using a sub-ohm tank which are designed in such a way as to not be fazed by higher VG concentrations.

In Conclusion

It’s safe to say that a burnt-out coil and damaged wick is a waste of your time, your money and your effort. Having to replace coil heads more regularly can be a pain, especially when other people don’t seem to do it so often. Other people clearly adhere to the advice in this article and we’re sure you will too now from on. With a little maintenance from time to time and by getting into a routine of checking e liquid levels and watching how you vape there is no reason why vaping can’t be a simple and easy hobby to enjoy.

Don’t be put off vaping because of coil burning. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’ll be unlikely to happen again which means that you can continue to enjoy awesome flavours and put the burnt plastic mixed with burnt toast taste and smell out of your mind for good.

Have you found any other top tips for avoid coil burning? If so don’t hesitate to leave us, and other vapers, a comment below.

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