When & How to Fix a Flooded Atomizer
Vapers know the feeling when taking a drag, and something starts gurgling, your vapour is weak, the flavour is non-existent, and leaks suddenly occur.
Sometimes the atomizer snaps and crackles, spitting hot e-juice onto your lips. It happens to the best of us.
What I’m talking about, of course, is a flooded atomizer.
For atomizers, this usually means the wick is all gunked up to be able to absorb e-juice efficiently, or maybe you added one too many drops.
For tanks, things are much more complex. Wicking may be wrong, the tank might not be assembled correctly, or you filled the tank incorrectly.
In both cases, the fix is straightforward as long you understand the causes and prevent them in the future.
N.B. If the fixes in this article don’t solve the problem, then it may be time to replace your atomizer.
The Causes of a flooded atomizer
There are two basic types of atomizers, the dripping atomizer and the tank.
Whether you use disposable coils or rebuild them yourself, it doesn’t matter since flooding happens with either type.
When it comes to dripping atomizers, the most probable cause of the flooding is over-dripping.
You see, wicks can only handle so much e-juice at a time. In the early days, atomizers could only take in three to four drops, but today, some can handle up to 20 drops due to larger, more absorbent wicking material such as organic cotton.
How many times have you dripped an atomizer to full capacity, vaped a few times (leaving it well saturated still), forgetting about it, then before taking another drag, inadvertently dripped it again?
This is the most common way to overfill an atomizer.
If you are like 90% of vapers when using dripping atomizers, you usually fill it to capacity then vape until the flavour drops.
However, there are times when we need to suddenly stop vaping while leaving the wick full of e-juice still. We forget about it then the next time we want to vape, we usually assume that the wick needs refilling.
The best way to avoid this is to take a drag before refilling to check if flavour is still present or if it genuinely needs filling.
Another reason is that your wick is bad. This happens when the wick has been overused to the point that it cannot absorb e-liquid efficiently anymore, leading to spits and gurgles.
You will know your wick is bad by taking a look at it. If it is crusty, discoloured, and generally looks dirty, it’s time to swap it out with a new one.
But if you use disposable coils, you might not be able to check them visually. In this case, it is best to put in a new coil and call it a day.
Then there are tank atomizers. When a tank is overflooded, check first if you overfilled it.
While this may sound absurd since tanks are designed to be filled with e-juice, be aware that tanks usually have markers that tell you up to how much e-liquid you are supposed to fill it with.
Going over that mark will either leak or leave you with little to no air to circulate, thus flooding the tank.
Another reason is bad wicking. Just like with atomizers, wicks in tanks can get overused in time, leading to inefficient wicking.
If you are using a rebuildable coil, check the wick and replace it as needed. If you are using disposable coils, best swap it out with a new one.
If your wick is still useable and you make sure the tank is filled correctly, but still the tank gets flooded, you might need to reassemble it again.
Another reason why tanks get flooded is improper assembly. A misaligned screw or hole may lead to inefficient operation. If all troubleshooting fails, reassemble your tank, making sure everything fits properly and is aligned.
Let’s talk about wicks. Wicks are designed to hold the e-juice for vaporizing by the coil. If your wick doesn’t hold e-juice properly, this can result in dry hits and flooded atomizers since we tend to refill once we get dry hits.
If your wick is bad, it can produce dry hits even if it isn’t fully dried out. This is because wicks shrink over time, and they may not touch the coil completely, leading to dry hits.
If you can, replace the wick with a fresh roll of cotton, making sure it touches the coils when fully saturated.
Be careful not to use too much cotton as well. Because a saturated wick expands, and if it chokes the coil, this can also lead to dry hits. It’s a delicate balance, but once you get it right, the vape is divine.
Coils can go bad over time. Whether it becomes too oxidized or doesn’t heat up properly, this can result in dry hits.
A coil should be adequately spaced with everything touching the wick. An untouched area will heat up more quickly, leading to hot spots, which not only results in a dry hit, but it can also ruin your coil completely.
If you notice hot spots in your coil, try to rewick it. If the hot spot still occurs, fix the spacing of the coil to ensure even heat distribution.
Checking for hot spots, wick problems, and what-not can be a lot of work if you don’t know what you are doing. This is why many vapers, both advanced and newbies, choose disposable coils to ensure a perfect vape without the hassle.
The downside to this, though, is that disposable coil heads aren’t all perfect. Some won’t work right, some won’t wick well right from the start, while others come DOA. If you consider that you paid for each of these coils, a faulty coil is money lost.
Disposable coils are easier to manage but are more expensive in the long run. Also, if there are problems with the coil, you can’t fix it easily, unlike rebuildable coils.
In the end, whether you go with rebuildable or disposable coils, be sure to follow the steps above to ensure you don’t end up with a flooded atomizer or tank.
The trick is to be aware.
Aware of how your vape tastes, conscious of how you assemble your tank, and aware of your wick and coil status. It may seem like an unnecessary hassle, but it’s worth it.
After all, vaping should be pleasant.