What does it mean when people talk about “priming” their vape coils?
Have you ever dropped a cotton ball in a bowl or glass of water? If you have, you’ve probably noticed that the cotton ball didn’t sink immediately. The cotton eventually becomes completely saturated with water, but it doesn’t happen right away. When you initially drop the cotton ball in the water, air is trapped between the cotton fibers. That allows the cotton ball to float for a while.
What does all of this have to do with priming and installing vape coils? A vape coil has a cotton wick, and the wick is a bit like the cotton ball in the example above in that the fibers will trap air. If air is trapped in your coil’s wick, then the wick isn’t completely saturated with e-liquid. If the wick isn’t completely wet, you’ll get a burnt taste when vaping and may even ruin the coil.
Let’s return to our example of a cotton ball in water. In that situation, what can you do to get the cotton to absorb the water more quickly? You can push the cotton ball down. That’s almost exactly that priming a vape coil is – it’s the act of forcing vape juice into the coil’s wick before you install the coil. That way, the wick becomes saturated much more quickly after you install the coil and fill your vape tank.
Priming a vape coil and installing it properly ensures that you’ll get the best possible flavor from the very first puff. It also helps to prevent a burned wick – and that makes the coil last longer and helps you save money. Here’s how to do it.
How to Prime a Vape Coil
To prime a new vape coil, follow these steps.
- Remove the coil from the package.
- Use a bottle of e-liquid to wet the wick holes on the sides of the coil. You can do this by squeezing the bottle gently while brushing the bottle’s nozzle against the wick holes, almost as if you’re “painting” the e-liquid on the holes.
- Look through the top of the coil. You may be able to see the tops of the coil’s wicks. If you can, drop some e-liquid through the top of the coil to wet those sections of the wicks.
- Look all around the coil after waiting a few moments. If the wick looks dry, add a bit more e-liquid. If it looks wet, the coil is ready to install. Your goal is to get the wick as wet as possible – thus eliminating any dry pockets in the cotton – before you assemble and fill the tank.
How to Replace a Vape Coil
To replace a vape coil, follow these steps.
- Remove the tank from your mod when it is empty unless the tank is specifically designed to snap shut when the coil is removed. In most cases, you’ll lose the e-liquid in the tank when you remove the coil.
- Unscrew the tank’s bottom hardware. Depending on the design of the tank, you’ll find the current coil screwed into the tank’s base or pushed into the tank’s chimney. To remove the coil, unscrew it from the base or pull it out of the chimney. If you’re planning to clean the coil, set it aside. Otherwise, you can simply throw it away.
- Rinse all of the tank’s components in fresh water to remove dust, pocket lint and e-liquid residue. Dry the components with a paper towel.
- Check the tank’s silicone gaskets for any stretching or tearing. If you find a damaged gasket, install one of the replacement gaskets included with the tank. Remember – damaged gaskets can lead to leaking.
- Install the new primed vape coil. If the coil is threaded at the bottom, screw it tightly into the tank’s base. If the coil isn’t threaded, push it into the tank’s chimney.
- Reassemble the tank until the components are just finger tight. Screw the tank together slowly to ensure that the components don’t become cross-threaded. If the tank’s base doesn’t attach smoothly and easily, don’t try to force the parts together. Back it up and try again. Don’t over-tighten the tank; over-tightening can damage the threads and gaskets.
- Fill the tank and wait a few minutes before you begin vaping. Although you’ve already primed the coil, it’s still wise to wait before vaping, so you can be absolutely certain that the wick is completely saturated with vape juice.
How to Know When It’s Time to Replace a Vape Coil
Knowing when to replace your vape coil is simple; it’s time to replace the coil if you’re no longer happy with its flavor. Knowing why you aren’t happy with the flavor, however, can have a major impact on the quality of your vaping experience.
You Need to Replace the Coil Because of Coil Gunk
Are you getting a flavor that tastes a bit like overcooked sugar when you vape? That’s a sure sign of coil gunk, the residue that builds up on your vape coil when you use vape juice that’s heavily sweetened with sucralose. You can confirm that your coil is gunky just by looking at it. When you remove the coil from your tank, look at the wire or mesh heating surface through the top of the coil. If the heating surface looks discolored and black, coil gunk is the source of the unpleasant flavor.
Although almost all e-liquid flavors leave at least a little residue behind, sucralose is by far the biggest cause of coil gunk. If you don’t want to replace your coils so often, try using unsweetened e-liquid instead. Learn more about how to make vape coils last longer.
If you’re replacing a coil due to coil gunk, you can throw the coil away or clean it. Under the layer of residue, the coil’s heating surface and wick are still perfectly good. Cleaning the coil in hot water can remove the gunk and restore the coil’s flavor to a new or like-new state. Some people also use alcohol to clean their gunky vape coils. If you try that method, use a flavorless alcohol that’s safe to drink, such as vodka. Rinse the coil thoroughly and allow it to dry overnight before you use it again.
You Need to Replace the Coil Because of a Burned Wick
Are you getting a flavor that tastes like smoke in an extremely unpleasant way? That’s a sign of a burned wick. Some people have described the flavor of a burned wick as tasting a bit like vaping an old t-shirt. However you interpret the experience of using a coil with a burned wick, there’s no doubt that the flavor is awful – and in this case, cleaning the coil isn’t going to do any good.
While it is possible to disassemble a vape coil and replace the cotton, that’s outside the scope of this article – and most people find that replacing the wick in a vape coil is too much trouble anyway. Once cotton is burned, it’s burned forever. You’ll need to discard the coil. When you remove the coil from your tank, you can examine the heating surface to confirm that the wick is burned. If you’re getting a horrible burned flavor from the coil – and its heating surface is still shiny and white – the wick is almost definitely burned.
One of the ways to avoid burning your coil’s wick is by priming the coil and installing it properly as we’ve explained in this article. It’s also wise to avoid vaping at an overly aggressive wattage. Always keep the wattage on your vaping device within the recommended power range for the coil you’re using. If you’re not satisfied with the coil’s vapor production, it might be time to try a new vape tank.
Are Some Vape Coils Easier to Prime Than Others?
Now that you know how to prime a vape coil properly, you should consider the possibility that the ease with which you can prime a vape coil is something that could potentially factor into your decision whether or not to buy a given vape tank. As you’ve learned from reading this article, priming your vape coils properly before installing them can help them last longer – and the longer a coil lasts, the less expensive the coil becomes. Everyone wants to save money on vaping – and buying a tank with coils that you can prime easily is a great way to do so.
So, how can you tell whether a tank has coils that are easy to prime? It’s really quite simple – you need to look at the wick holes on the side of the coil first. With most modern vape coils, you’ll see large wick openings that allow the coil to accommodate thick e-liquid. The larger the wick openings are, the easier the coil is to prime.The next thing you’ll want to look at in order to determine how easy a coil is to prime is the top of the coil. A few vape coils have screens on top that help to prevent spitback. If a coil has a screen, it’ll make priming the coil difficult. Thankfully, spitback usually isn’t a problem with modern vape coils, so most don’t have screens.