Chapter 6: Troubleshooting

Chapter 6: Troubleshooting

<<<Chapter 5: Cleaning and Maintaining your device

Chapter 7: Mixing e-liquids >>>

Quick Links to sections in this Chapter:

 

How to stop dry hits

 

A dry hit (also known as a ‘burnt’ hit) occurs when you don’t have enough e-liquid in your tank. 

It means that, instead of heating the liquid, the coil heats the wicking material instead and burns it.

Nobody wants to take a dry hit – it tastes awful!

There are ways to minimise the chances of it happening.

 

How to avoid taking a dry hit

These things aren’t guaranteed to stop you taking a dry hit but they’ll definitely minimise the chances.

It’s best to incorporate good practices like these into your vaping routine so that you can keep your vaping device working and enjoy the experience of vaping.

 

  1. Prime your wick

    Priming your wick means to get it to absorb the e-liquid before you start vaping.  For some practical steps, see below.

  2. Don’t hold the firing button down

    Don’t hold the firing button down for too long.
    You should only be holding it while you are inhaling the vapour but it’s easy to slip and keep it down for an extra second or so.
    Once the coil has vaporised all the e-liquid in the wick, it will heat the wick instead and this burns it.
    You’ll get that ‘burned’ hit and you’ll also damage your wick so you’ll need to replace your coil (if you need any information about that, go to Changing your coil
    ).

  3. Wait for the wick to absorb more vape juice

    Wait five seconds between taking your hits.
    Your wick needs this time to absorb more e-juice.
    Otherwise, you’ll heat a dry wick and the coil will, again, burn off the e-liquid and then burn the wick.

  4. Don’t let your tank empty

    Don’t run out of e-liquid.
    It sounds obvious but some people like to empty their tank before refilling, especially when changing flavour, but this makes it likely that the wick will become dry and then you’ll get a dry hit.
    There are a couple of things you can do to avoid this.
    Firstly, if you’re going to change flavour a lot, you might want to get another tank so you can have one for each flavour
    That way, neither tank needs to be empty.
    Secondly, you can angle the e-cigarette to ensure the e-liquid soaks into the wick before you vape.

 

How to prime your wick

One of the best ways to stop a dry hit is to ‘prime’ your coil before use by saturating the wick.
It sounds like it’ll be complicated, but it’s really easy.  

There are a few ways to do it:

 

  1. Hold the tank upright

    The easiest and quickest way is to leave the tank to rest in an upright position for a few minutes (or whatever angle ensures the e-liquid rests against the coil).
    This will encourage the e-liquid to soak into the wick and will mean your wick doesn’t dry out when your fire it up.

  2. Add a few drops of e-juice to the wick

    Another way, though fractionally more effort, guarantees the wick will be saturated all the way through.
    Simply add a few drops of e-liquid directly to the wick.
    You can do this by finding the juice holes where the vape juice should soak in and putting a drop in each of these.
    If you want to make sure it’s done properly, add another drop inside the head.
    Be careful when you do this not to put e-juice down the airholes.

  3. Take a few drags without activating it

    If you’re short of time, you can use this ‘cheat’ method to prime your coil.
    Once it’s fitted and your vaping device is filled with e-juice and ready to go, take three or four drags without activating the coil (by firing up the battery).
    That will draw the e-liquid through the wick like a straw and saturate it quickly.
    Don’t draw too hard, though, as you don’t want to flood it.
    Unfortunately, if you use an automatic e-cigarette which fires whenever you take a draw, you won’t be able to use this method.
    If you’re using a manual vaping device which you need to fire up, this is an easy and quick method to prime your coils.

 

Next steps

Once you’re sure you can minimise the chances of taking a dry hit, you’ve got to make sure you don’t go too far and cause your e-cigarette to spit or leak.  If you do find that you start getting spitback, go to How to stop spitting and popping or, if your vaporiser leaks, check out How to stop your vaping device from leaking.

 

How to stop spitting and popping

 

A lot of vapers put up with their vape spitting or popping because they think it’s just part of what happens, but it’s not.

If your vaping device is spitting, there are things you can do to stop it. 

It doesn’t matter what kind of e-cigarette you’re using, either – even though some are more prone to these problems than others, these simple steps can minimise any problems you’re having with your tank or coil in any e-cigarette system.

So, if you don’t want to get e-liquid in your mouth from spitback, take a look at these ways you can avoid it. 

You can make your whole vaping experience much better just by doing these things.

 

What spitting is

Spitting tanks can also be known as ‘popping’ because of the sound they make. 

If your tank is spitting or popping, you need to do something about it.

It can also be known as ‘spitback’ because the vaporiser ‘spits back’ at you.

 

Why your tank spits and pops

Most vapers have heard the popping, sizzling and gurgling sounds that can happen when they vape.

Spitting is when you fire the coil and tiny droplets of hot vape juice shoot in all directions. 

The biggest problem is when they shoot up the mouthpiece and burn your mouth – this is known as spitback. 

It’s not dangerous but it’s not a pleasant sensation.

It’s caused by e-liquid pooling in the coil so when the coil heats, the e-liquid doesn’t all vaporise – it boils and spits. 

Because you’re inhaling from the mouthpiece, it can catch you. The most common cause of your vape starting to spit is a flooded coil (although it’s not always the case).

Below are some easy steps you can take to prevent spitback and popping.

 

How to stop your vape tank spitting and popping

Again, the first steps are easy and are just good vaping practices. 

As you get more experienced, you’ll do these things naturally and it won’t feel like any extra effort. 

However, until you get the experience to do that, follow these steps to make sure that you avoid your vaping device spitting and popping.

 

  1. Don’t over-prime your coil

    Vapers prime their coil to avoid getting a ‘dry hit’ but there is a delicate balance to be had between not enough and too much.
    Priming your coil is the process of ensuring your wicking material is saturated with e-liquid before you heat it.
    The most common method is dripping, which means you drip e-liquid directly onto the wick to saturate it, but make sure you don’t put too much vape liquid in the coil as this will flood it and cause spitback.
    It’s best to put a small amount on and then give the wick time to absorb the e-liquid.
    If you want to know more about why vapers prime their coils, check out How to stop dry hits
    .

  2. Don’t inhale too forcefully

    This causes flooding by drawing more vape juice into the chamber. 
    Inhale more gently – you only need to draw the vapour into your mouth or lungs, which doesn’t take more than a natural breath. 
    If you have trouble doing this, reduce the airflow setting but make sure you don’t start inhaling more forcefully to compensate. 
    If you do, you could try increasing the airflow to stop yourself inhaling with any force at all as you’ll get a lot of vapour much quicker.

  3. Clear the chimney

    Spitting and popping can be made worse by e-liquid collecting in the chimney as this runs back down into your coil and floods it. 
    It’s easy to clean with some rolled-up paper towel or (slightly less efficient but good for a quick fix every now and again) flick the tank over the sink or some tissue so the excess e-liquid flicks out. 
    If you want to know how to give your device a good clean, go to ‘Cleaning your tank’
    for a step-by-step guide.

  4. Use thicker e-liquid

    Because PG is thinner than VG, a high ratio of PG will make your e-liquid runnier and this will make it more likely to flood your coil. 
    Changing your e-liquid to a high ratio of VG will make the e-juice more viscous and it will take longer to seep into your wicking material. 
    Cloud chasers should be using a higher VG ratio anyway as it’s this which produces the large cloud (for more information about that, go to What are PG and VG and what difference do they make?
    ).

  5. Press the fire button a few times

    Press the fire button a few times before you start to inhale. 
    Wait for the popping sounds to fade as your vaping device stops spitting. 
    This tactic won’t stop it spitting, but it’ll stop you getting in the line of fire and getting that spitback in your mouth.

  6. Increase the power

    By increasing the power, you’ll make your coil vaporise the e-juice faster. 
    It could be that your wattage is currently too low and so your wick is supplying e-liquid faster than the coil can burn it, which causes flooding. 
    Increase the wattage, but do it gradually so you can monitor the effect as you don’t want to turn the power up too quickly and then burn the wick.
    This is particularly common with sub-ohm vaping as the wattage doesn’t need to be very high in sub-ohm coils for them to work and so people automatically keep the wattage turned down low.

  7. Get an angled, anti-spit drip tip

    Some drip tips have been especially designed to minimise spitting by angling the tip more. 
    It makes it harder for the spitting e-liquid to get out of the atomiser and hit your mouth as they hit the bend in the drip tip instead. 
    lso, curved drip tips work in the same way. It doesn’t stop your atomiser from spitting but it does mean that you don’t get the spitback in your mouth.

  8. Use a long drip tip

    This works in a similar way to an angled drip tip.  It stops the spitback reaching your mouth so it doesn’t bother you when your e-liquid spit and pops.

  9. Use a pipe screen

    It’s much more common for atomiser heads to be designed with screens over the coils these days, but not all of them have this yet. 
    These are useful because every vape pen spits occasionally so it stops you from noticing when it does.
    The screen is a mesh that catches the droplets of vape juice when they spit, which stops them from reaching your mouth. 
    If your vaping device doesn’t have one already, you can install one yourself.
    Just get a pipe screen (they’re easily available and not very expensive) and cut it to size, and push it down the chimney to just below the drip tip. 
    Make sure it doesn’t touch the coil, since the screen is metal and therefore conductive.
    If you have trouble getting the screen to fit inside a small chimney, cut it into a circle and then cut across the radius and twist it into a cone, which you will be able to push down the tank’s chimney.

  10. Use simple coils

    Vapers who use rebuildable atomisers (RBAs) can use complicated coils because they want a greater surface area to generate more vapour. 
    However, multi-strand coils often spit because their design makes it easier for vape juice to pool in the coil.
    wisted coils are particularly well-known for this as they have a lot of nooks and crannies which catch e-liquid, making it pool. 
    Pooling e-liquid pops and spits when it’s heated because it cannot all be vaporised at once.

  11. Check your wick

    If you’re using a rebuildable tank atomiser (RTA), you may need to re-wick your coils. 
    The wick should cover the juice holes in the coil so that the e-juice soaks into the wicking material. 
    However, you don’t want to stuff the wicking material in as this will cause its own problems.

 

Next steps

Spitting and leaking e-liquid are common problems for vapers to have with their devices.  If your e-cigarette is leaking, then go to How to stop your vaping device from leaking for some simple steps to stop it happening.

 

How to stop your vaping device from leaking

 

A lot of vapers put up with their vape spitting or leaking because they think it’s just part of what happens but it’s not.

If your vaping device is leaking or spitting, there are things you can do to stop it. 

It doesn’t matter what kind of e-cigarette you’re using, either – even though some are more prone to these problems than others, these simple steps can minimise any problems you’re having with your tank or coil.

So, if you don’t want to spill your favourite e-liquid everywhere while you vape, and you don’t want to get e-liquid in your mouth from spitback, take a look at these ways you can avoid it. 

You can make your whole vaping experience much better just by doing these things.

 

Why your tank leaks

Your tank leaks when e-liquid escapes, usually through the airflow system. 

Whether this is just a few drops or a wave of e-liquid washing down your vaping device and covering your hands, it’s pretty annoying. 

There are several common causes for this but the good news is there are several easy steps you can take to stop it happening, so read on to make sure your tank never leaks again.

 

How to stop your vape tank leaking

The first of these steps are really easy day-to-day maintenance that shouldn’t take much, or even any, extra time. 

If your vaping device insists on leaking even when you do these things, you will need to investigate a little further using the last steps below – don’t worry, it’s not tricky and it shouldn’t take long.

  • Check your seal

    This is the first thing to do if your tank is leaking. 
    It might have worked loose so checking your tank is fastened together properly is the first step. 
    It might be that your tank has worked loose, which indicates it’s time for a replacement, or it might just be that you didn’t quite screw it in tightly enough (it’s easy enough to do if you’re in a hurry).

  • Don’t over-fill your tank

    If you over-fill your tank, it’s obviously much more likely to leak.  Leave a pocket of air at the top and this’ll help prevent leaks.

  • Keep your chimney clear

    The chimney is the central airflow tube that runs from the body of the tank to the drip tip. 
    If you get vape juice inside this, your e-cigarette starts to gurgle and leak.
    All you need to do to correct it is clear any liquid from inside the chimney – just use a paper towel to soak it up.

  • Keep your tank upright

    This is not always possible to do but it’s best to keep your tank upright as much as you can. 
    When you lay your device down on its side, the vape juice seeps through the airflow holes and causes leakage. 
    If you’re at home or in an office, or even in your car, put your e-cigarette down with the tank upright.
    If you carry it in your pocket, keep it the right way up. 
    The worst culprit for causing the e-liquid to seep out is putting your device down at night – make sure you don’t lay it on its side as it’s going to be there for a long time.

  • Put a lid on it

    If you leave a tank with the top cap off, it will leak. 
    Even though the airflow holes are tiny, they’re still holes – your tank is not watertight.

  • Check your O-rings

    O-rings are the little rubber rings that stop your vape juice from leaking out of your tanks. 
    It stands to reason, then, that if they’re worn or damaged, they won’t work properly and your e-juice will leak. 
    Take your tank apart to check your O-rings.
    If they’re damaged, replace them.
    They’re not expensive and they’re easily available.

  • Check your airflow

    Your airflow holes should be completely closed when you’re filling your tank with e-liquid. 
    When you vape, though, they should be open enough for you to vape without having to force it. 
    If you inhale too forcefully, you risk drawing too much e-liquid into the coils, which will then be too full and are more likely to leak.

  • Check for cracks

    Check your tank for cracks, chips and other damage. 
    It might not be obvious until you look for it.
    Even a tiny crack in the glass will stop the tank being watertight, or a slight bend in the metal will mean the coil doesn’t sit snugly in place. 
    If the tank is damaged, it’s easy to buy a new one and they’re not too expensive to replace.

  • Check your coil

    It’s sad to say but sometimes you just get a dud coil. 
    Tiny flaws will stop it functioning properly and will cause it to leak. 
    However, don’t assume it’s a dud straight away – the first thing to do is to check that your coil is screwed in properly and, if it is and it’s still leaking, replace it.

  • Use the right e-liquid

    E-liquid is made up of PG and VG, and you can choose which ratio you want. 
    PG is much more runny than VG, so a high percentage of PG will make your e-liquid thinner. 
    It will be more likely to leak if you have a sub-ohm atomiser head designed for creating large clouds, as these function best with high quantities of the thicker VG (which produces the cloud). 
    For more information on PG/VG ratios, check out What are PG and VG and what difference do they make?
    .

  • Check your wick

    This only really applies to vapers who use rebuildable atomisers (RBAs) and wick their coils themselves. 
    It takes a lot of skill to get them perfect – using enough wicking material to ensure it doesn’t leak without over-stuffing the coil – but practice makes perfect.

  • Get a better design of e-cigarette

    Because this is such a widespread problem, some manufacturers are putting more effort into designing their tanks to combat leaking and spitting, so you can look forward to a time in the future when this is no longer a problem. 
    However, in the meantime, keep following these simple tips to minimise problems and, if you can, get a quality vaping device.
    Take a look at Experienced vapers: choosing a better e-cigarette for you
    or our Recommended devices to get some ideas about what you want.

  •  

    Next steps

    To get some practical tips to maintain your vaping device so that it functions well and doesn’t leak, go to Cleaning and maintaining your device.

    We want you to get the best vaping experience possible, so check out our other troubleshooting ideas to get some simple tips: How to stop dry hits and Vaper’s tongue.

     

     

    Vaper’s tongue

     

    Vaper’s tongue is common among vapers and the good news is it’s pretty easy to cure.

     

    What vaper’s tongue is

    Essentially, vaper’s tongue is when you lose your ability to taste.

    The term is not specific and can be used to describe several types of taste-related phenomenon.

    For example, someone can say they have vaper’s tongue when they lose taste for all food and drink.

    The most common definition, though, is losing the ability to taste one flavour e-liquid.

     

    What causes vaper’s tongue

    There are several things which cause vaper’s tongue and different people will find that different things affect them.

    1. Vaping the same flavour for too long

      If you vape the same flavour for too long, you can develop vaper’s tongue. 
      This is why it can also be known as ‘vaper’s fatigue’ as you get fed up with your flavour and you stop being able to taste it.

    2. Damage to taste buds

      Damaged taste buds can lead to vaper’s tongue as you’ll find it harder to taste your e-juice flavour. 
      This will affect all of your taste experiences, though, not just vaping.

    3. Dry mouth

      This is a common cause of vaper’s tongue. 
      This is because VG is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture from the surrounding air and – when you vape it – your mouth.

    4. Dehydration

      Dehydration will cause your mouth to become dry and this will affect your ability to taste.

      It’s important to stay hydrated so watch out for other symptoms of dehydration like headaches, tiredness, sore throat and dry mouth.

    5. A blocked nose

      If, for any reason, your nose is blocked then you’ll struggle to taste anything. 
      The nose is so important to taste that, without a sense of smell, you will have almost no sense of taste, either.

      Therefore something like a cold will affect your ability to taste your vape juice. 
      Luckily, it will pass and you’ll get your sense of taste back.

    6. Medication

      Some medication can cause loss of taste so check the leaflet to see what the side-effects can be. 
      If you get vaper’s tongue and you think the medication you’re taking is contributing, try some of the tips below – it could be that the side-effect of the medication is a dry mouth and all you need to do is drink more water. 
      It’s important not to alter your medication without seeking medical guidance.

     

    How to cure vaper’s tongue

    There are several tried-and-tested ways to cure vaper’s tongue. 
    These are some of the most commonly used and the most effective:

  • Give it time

    Your taste-buds replenish every two weeks and so you should be able to taste again within a couple of weeks. 
    It’s one of those things which will usually go away on its own after a couple of weeks.

    It can go away on its own after just a couple of days sometimes. 
    This might be because you were dehydrated and were not aware of it and you have subsequently drunk enough water to rehydrate.

  • Drink more water

    This is one of the most effective – and most simple – methods of getting rid of vaper’s tongue.

    If you have a dry mouth or are dehydrated, you need to drink more water. 
    Try to have a bottle of water with you and drink regularly throughout the day.

  • Change flavour

    Particularly if your vaper’s tongue is only refusing to taste one flavour vape juice, it’s best just to switch flavour for a few days. 
    While it’s disappointing if you’re enjoying your all-day-vape and don’t want to give it up, if you can’t taste it, you’re not going to enjoy it very much.

    Sometimes strong flavours like menthol or citrus work best as a mini break from your regular flavours. 
    They’re refreshing and, because they’re strong, you should be able to taste them and it won’t be long before you can go back to vaping more subtle flavours.

  • Stop smoking

    Smoking damages taste buds and so if you’re switching to vaping from smoking, you might have damaged your taste buds. 
    If you continue to smoke even while you vape, you will continue to damage your taste-buds.
    Once you become a vaper rather than a smoker, though, your taste-buds should heal and you’ll have a greater sense of taste and smell than ever.

  • Use a stronger flavour

    You can do this by switching to a more distinctive flavour or, if you mix your own e-liquids, you can mix it at a higher percentage to make it more potent.

    As mentioned above, menthol and citrus work well as they’re strong flavours.

  • Steep your e-liquids

    This only applies if you’re mixing your own DIY e-juice. 
    If you mix a new flavour and then vape it straight away, it will have a different taste from the steeped version. 
    Steeping your e-liquid will give it a fuller flavour and, hopefully, you’ll be able to taste it again.
    For more information about it, go to Steeping
    .

  •  

    Chapter 7: Mixing e-liquids >>>

    ><<<Chapter 5: Cleaning and Maintaining your device