1 – Prime Your Coils Before Vaping
If you don’t “prime” your coils before you start vaping, you can burn your coil before you’ve even gotten any use of out of it.
When you first install a new coil, the wick has to go from being completely dry to completely soaked. This takes time, so you usually have to wait five minutes or so between filling up your tank and taking your first puff. If you wait long enough, priming isn’t strictly necessary, but the problem is that it’s really hard to tell whether your wick is completely soaked. And if it isn’t, when you press fire, there isn’t enough juice there to absorb the heat, and this causes the problems described above.
Priming your coil is just manually soaking the wicks before you install it. Coil heads tend to have an opening in the top and some ports around the side where the wick is visible. To prime the coil, add a few drops of e-juice to the opening in the top (around 3 to 5 is enough) and then soak the exposed wick at the ports around the side. This doesn’t take much for each port, but just ensure the parts you can see are saturated with e-juice.
Alternatively, some vapers take a few puffs on their e-cig without pressing the fire button as a method of priming the coil, which forcefully sucks e-liquid into the wickl. Be careful if you try this, though, because if you do it too much it can flood your coil.
Now your new coil is ready to go. But, as an extra precaution, it’s still better to wait about five minutes after you fill up your tank before you start vaping. This shouldn’t be needed (since you already soaked the wick), but if you don’t prime your coil properly the whole thing can get ruined, so it’s worth being absolutely sure.
2 – Stop Chain Vaping
“Chain vaping” – just vaping and vaping continuously until you can’t see your e-cig for all the clouds – can lead to a burnt wick too. The reason for this is the balance mentioned earlier: you need to ensure that your wick can re-saturate with juice before you hit the fire button again. In normal use, this isn’t a problem, because you’ll stop vaping after a short session and give it time to recover. However, if you’re continuously vaping for a long period of time, eventually your wicks will dry out. Then if you vape again you’ll risk burning the wick.
The solution to this is simple: stop vaping for a little while. The biggest sign that you need to stop is diminishing flavour. This is a sign there isn’t much juice in your coil and you’re approaching a burning situation. Your wick needs time to get soaked again, like a “re-priming.” Since the coil will be hot, the simplest thing to do is just stop vaping for 5 to 10 minutes and let your tank do its job.
3 – Reduce Your Power Setting
When you vape at a higher wattage, you vaporise more juice with each puff. This is great if you want big clouds, but it can also impact your coils. Since you’re vaping e-juice at a faster rate, sometimes your wick struggles to soak up juice quickly enough to keep up. And when it can’t keep up, you can burn your wick. It’s a lot like the issue with chain vaping, except it happens after much fewer puffs.
The solution is to just reduce your power setting. If you notice the flavour dying out, then your coil is probably getting dry and needs time to soak up juice. You’ll need to have a break (as above) when this happens, but to make it less likely to happen again, just reduce your wattage a little bit.
Ordinarily, there will be some indication of the range of wattages you should be using on the coil itself, so if you stick to this range you shouldn’t run into issues. It’s best to start at the lower end and work your way up. However, if you’re experiencing loss of flavour and your coils are burning at your current setting, decreasing the power is the simplest solution.
4 – Keep Your Tank Topped Up
If the amount of juice in your tank is low, it might not be able to soak into your wicks as well. On many coil heads, the juice has to be at a certain level to even reach the wicking ports. When less of the juice is in contact with the wick, it doesn’t get soaked up as quickly. When your juice level is really low, this can cause problems very easily.
The simplest solution to this is to keep your tank topped up. When the performance starts to get worse and the flavour diminishes, it’s probably time to give up on the juice in the tank and refill. You can empty it out first if you don’t want the flavours to mix (although I usually don’t bother). Alternatively, you can often rotate your tank so the liquid does soak the wicks. This is less reliable, though, and it gets really hard when your juice level gets too low, so refilling is the best approach.
5 – Use an E-Liquid with More PG
PG is thinner than VG, and that means it soaks into wicks more easily. This has important consequences for that balance we need to strike between the speed of wicking and the speed of vaporisation. If your juice doesn’t soak into the wick as quickly, you’re more likely to run into dry puffs and possibly burn your wicks.
This means that juices with a high VG content (70 % or higher) can cause problems with wicking and may ruin your coils. So if you’re regularly running into issues with dry puffs and burnt coils, it could be the e-liquid you’re using. Try changing your high-VG e-liquid for one with around a 50/50 mix or primarily PG.
This isn’t always a problem, though. Sub ohm tanks, for example, are often well set up to deal with higher-VG juices. However, if your tank doesn’t have excellent wicking, they could easily cause an issue.
6 – Try an E-Juice With Less Sweetener
When an e-juice has a lot of sweetener added, it can “gunk” up your coils. The sugars in the e-liquid can caramelise, which is delicious if you’re talking about a dessert, but it’s also a reliable way to destroy your coils. The gunk-filled wick can’t soak up new juice as well, and so when you vape, you cause the same sort of problems discussed throughout this post.
Although this is often related to sweetener, there are many different juices that are prone to gunking up coils. Coffee and heavy, dessert-inspired e-liquids are common culprits, but there are others too . In general, darker-coloured juices are more likely to impact your wicks and coils than clearer juices.
If you have a gunked up coil, you can clean the wicks to attempt to solve the problem, either using water or some strong grain alcohol (or anything clear, strong and drinkable – not rubbing alcohol). If you do this, though, you have to leave it for 24 hours (or longer) to completely dry out before you use it again.
Not everyone agrees when it comes to cleaning coils, though. Not only are there different methods, a lot of the time you still won’t be able to get the coil back in tip-top condition even after a thorough clean. This is especially true if you’ve already tried to vape with the gunked up coil and damaged the wick in the process.
Really, the easiest solution is to just use a different e-juice without as much sweetener in. You’ll have to sacrifice the coil that’s already gunked up, but it will help you avoid the issue altogether in future.
Temperature control (TC) vaping solves the problems with burning wicks more directly. By tracking the detectable changes in resistance that occur when certain coil materials are heated up, TC devices such as the Innokin Cool Fire IV allow you to set a maximum temperature for your coil.
When it reaches this temperature, the e-cig stops delivering power to stop it from getting any hotter.
If there was a “magic bullet” solution to burned wicks and coils, TC is it. When you try to vape from a wick without enough juice in it, the device doesn’t let you. Even if you were actively trying to burn your wicks, you couldn’t do it. This means TC can solve the problem without the need for any of the other tips in this list. The only problem is that you need a compatible e-cig and a tank that supports nickel, titanium or stainless steel coils.