MY VAPE IS LEAKING, POPPING, AND SPITTING. HOW DO I FIX IT?
One of the biggest complaints that I hear from both new and old vapers is that they all have trouble dealing with is vape leaking, popping, and spitting. As vape technology progresses, most of the leaking and popping from the early days of vaping is no longer an issue, but improperly using your device will still cause these issues to arise.
From my experience, there is nothing worse than having hot vape juice spit back into your mouth when you are trying to satisfy your nicotine craving. The only thing that rivals this issue is filling up your tank and then realizing that you are wasting e-juice because your atomizer is leaking. We have all been there, and it sucks!
While current vapers may be accustomed to these issues – and choose to ignore them – newer vapers may be scared off by them, especially the popping noises. Breathe easy, not every noise coming from your vape device is terrible, some are good and can be a sign that your mod is working correctly. However, if the sounds that are coming from your vape seem abnormal, address them immediately! Luckily, there are a plethora of ways that you can minimize leaking, popping, and spitting to ensure a more enjoyable vaping experience. Whether you use a tank or RDA, our guide can help you reduce these issues with your vaping experience. Let’s start with one of the most common problems – leaking.
Why is My Vape Leaking?
Leaking vape tanks are terribly frustrating but they are relatively easy to fix. The severity of leaks varies tremendously. Leaks range anywhere from a few droplets of e-liquid to your liquid pouring from your mod as soon as you fill your tank. Most vape tanks do a great job containing e-liquid. When a spill does happen it usually occurs through the tank’s airflow system.
For those less familiar with the particulars of vape devices, air flows through the holes around the circumference of the tank located next to the coil. The coil heats the juice contained in the wicking around it. But is your leak due to the coil not heating the e-liquid, bad wicking, a spill during refill, a poor seal on the tank?
Oftentimes, investing in cheaply manufactured tanks or knock-offs is the root cause of the leak. Even so, while we always suggest purchasing a quality, authentic vape tank, this leaking may still occur for top-selling brands like Aspire, GeekVape, Smok, and, Uwell.
Ultimately, vape tanks leaks stem from design flaws and production oversite to simple user error. There are several ways to prevent your tank from leaking which we will go into detail in the next section.
Vape Leaking Vs. Flooding
It’s hard for new vapers to discern the difference between flooding or leaking because the signs of each issue are so similar. While flooding and leaking both involve e-liquid seeping through your tank, there are a few tell-tale signs which allow you to differentiate between the two.
With flooding, you will notice that vape juice is leaking through the threading of the atomizer down to the battery.
Leaks, on the other hand, occur when vape juice escapes the airflow vents on the side of the tank or through the mouthpiece.
Now that the difference between flooding and leaking is established, let’s first look at the root causes of flooding.
Flooding usually occurs during misuse. The most common cause of flooding arises when vapers take forceful hits from their vaporizers. When taking sharp drags from e-cigs instead of long gentle pulls, the atomizer isn’t able to vaporize the e-liquid quickly enough and this forces e-liquid into the battery, or up to the chimney and through the mouthpiece.
Another way that flooding can happen is from overfilling the tank or adding vape juice to a fully saturated wick. This oversaturation will cause the e-liquid to flow through the holes in the atomizer head into the mod or battery.
Not only is flooding annoying, but the consequences of vaping too forcefully can also cause wear and tear on your gear. Firstly, the excess e-liquid can be pulled into your mouth, leading to unpleasant tastes which can be quite disgusting. Excess e-liquid can also seep into the internal component of your vaporizers and can eventually damage internal components such as your led screen or battery.
Leaks, on the other hand, occurs when you have a crack in your tank, or the o-rings inside of you tank become compromised. Below you’ll find a ton of tips to help you diagnose the reasons why your tank is not holding vape juice properly.
Leaky Vape Tank Causes and Soultions
Check Your Seal – It seems simple enough but this is one of the most common mistakes that vapers make. Sometimes when you are rushing to try a new flavor or are rushing to an event, you may risk cross-threading your cap or not screwing it on correctly.
Cross threading, for those who may not know, is when the threads are misaligned which causes gaps in the seals that prevent your tank from leaking.
To ensure that you are assembling your vape tank correctly, make sure that you line up the threads properly and that the lid is tight but not over-screwed. Inspect the gaps between the coil in the atomizer and where the atomizer makes contact with the tank to make sure that you are securing your vape tank properly. Make sure that you screw in each of these areas are appropriately before you begin vaping to prevent leaks.
To avoid cross-threading, make sure to do the following 3 things:
1.) Line your threading up properly
2.) Screw your tank in counter-clockwise until you hear a click and make sure it snaps firmly into place.
3.) Screw your tank in clockwise.
You Filled Your Vape Tank Incorrectly -While you are filling your vape tank, it’s possible that you can accidentally get juice in the tube which connects the coil and the mouthpiece, also known as the chimney. To avoid getting any e-liquid in the chimney, make sure to fill your vape tank while it is tilted, similar to pouring a glass of champagne, this will make it so that your e-liquid runs down the inside of your vape tank and prevents the chimney from becoming clogged with vape juice. If you already have e-juice in your chimney, you can clean it out following the advice in the section below.
Clean Out Your Chimney – No this is not a Santa Claus reference, but to prevent any leaking you need to make sure to remove any residual vape juice. The chimney is the tube that runs from the coil of your tank up to the mouthpiece, and sometimes vape juice can get trapped inside leading to bubbling if this happened to you, clean your chimney out with a pipe cleaner or q-tip.
Damaged O-Rings – These are one of the most overlooked components when it comes to maintaining your vapes. Luckily, most tanks come with a replacement set of o-rings since wear and tear is common. To replace your o-rings, locate the box that your tank came in and find your replacement o-rings. Disassemble your tank as per the user manual and remove the o-rings. If you notice that your o-rings are broken or that there is considerable wear and tear, then it is time to replace them. If you don’t have replacement o-rings, you can do a quick google search for your tank and find ones that fit correctly. I suggest stocking up on a few replacement sets since the o-rings won’t be over a couple of dollars.
Make Sure the Top Cap is On – For tanks to work correctly, they need to be properly pressurized. If you remove the lid from your tank, it depressurizes and causes airflow to leak out the side of the tank. If you leave the top cap off your tank for more than a minute or two, make sure to empty it before refilling. In addition to this, you should clean out the airflow slots to prevent droplets of e-juice from leaking out. Although I don’t recommend leaving a full tank of juice uncapped, if you do decide to leave e-liquid in your tank, I would suggest closing off the airflow and sealing it off with tape or cotton.
Overfilling Your Tank – For your tank to function the e-juice properly in your tank needs a pocket of air at the top. Overfilling your tank will cause your vape juice to be leak out of the airflow vents due to improper pressurization.
Store Your Tank Upright – Whether you are using your tank or sitting it down for a break in between vaping, it’s imperative that you store your device upright. This is especially true when your vape tank is below half full. Whenever your tank is below half full, there is not enough juice to cover the holes in the top of the coil. Whenever you tilt a half-full vape tank, this causes the tank to leak into the airflow tube or out of the side vents.
Your Vape Tank Has a Crack – Accidents happen, and the reason that your tank is leaking may be that the glass is damaged. If the glass or metal on the tank is damaged, this can lead to leaking since the structure of the tank is compromised. Leaks can also occur if you are using intense citrus flavors, menthol, or cinnamon with a plastic vape tank. To control leaks, we suggest buying a tank ring to prevent this. If your glass is already cracked, you can purchase replacement vape tank glass here.
E-Juice and Tank Compatibility – If you are using a sub-ohm tank, the consistency of your vape juice needs to be at least 70% VG to 30% PG to prevent leaking. Since PG is thinner than VG, less viscous e-juices may cause leaks.
MTL devices are generally different and use a thinner ratio of PG/VG usually around the 60/40 or 50/50 ratio. As a general rule, low resistance coils that are 1.0 ohms or higher need to use thinner e-liquids, that are no more than 60 VG/40 PG and higher resistance coils that are under 1.0 ohms use vape juice that is at least 70 VG/30 PG. The reason behind this is that the holes in low resistance coils are smaller and will not wick properly with high VG juices, effectively “clogging” them up. This can lead to burnt hits and a host of other problems. Conversely, Sub-ohm tanks that are higher resistance will leak when using lower VG juices.
Damaged or Defective Coils – Every once in a while, you may have a damaged or defective coil that doesn’t absorb your vape juice properly. To diagnose this problem, make sure that your coil head is installed correctly. If your coil is seated properly in your tank but not functioning properly, I would suggest buying a new pack of coils. Since vape manufacturers mass produce coils , all the coils in your package are likely defective as well due to manufacturing errors, so it’s best to use an entirely different batch.
Make Sure your RDA or RTA is Wicked Properly – RDA’s and RTA’s need to be wicked properly to prevent leaking. Make sure that you are using vape cotton from a reputable supplier. Building coils should only be performed by experienced vapers only, and if you do not know what you are doing, ask for help.
Clean Your Tank Regularly – Cleaning your vape tank is essential to making sure that it functions properly. If you fail to clean your tank, juice residue can build up and erode the o-rings, causing it to leak. To clean your vape tank properly, disassemble it and wipe it down with distilled water. Before you put your tank together, make sure that you dry it completely as even the tiniest amount of water can thin out your vape juice causing it to leak.
Low Power Output – A common cause of vape leaking that people usually overlook is vaping at too low a wattage. This issue relates to using the incorrect ratio of VG/ PG in a device since the vape juice isn’t vaporizing. When excess vape juice is pulled in to your coil, it causes flooding. Flooding can cause spit back and leaking, which are two things that no vaper wants. To prevent this, you should increase the wattage so that you are vaporizing juice instead of letting it stagnate within the coil.
Over-Dripping Your RDA – Dripping is a technique that is used by advanced vapers to wick RDA’s. RDA’s typically use custom-built coils that must be wicked after every few hits. While RDA’s require a bit of maintenance, the flavor and cloud production is fantastic. Making custom builds is in and of itself an art. However, dripping has its drawbacks. Drip too little and you will end up with a burnt coil. Drip too much and you will end up with e-liquid all over your mod and other possessions. After several years of vaping, I still tend to over-drip every once in a while. Just make sure to clean up any e-liquid spill immediately since vape juice can be absorbed through your skin. If you’re an advanced vaper check out the Vandy Vape Mesh. The mesh wire makes builds easy, and the flavor is terrific.
Excess Condensation from Long Draws – Whenever you take long draws, vapor condensation can build up in the chimney and eventually appear to cause leaking. Although you can’t necessarily prevent excess condensation from forming, it can be minimized. To prevent e-liquid from becoming lodged in your chimney, you need to do two things. Firstly, make sure that you hit your mod as soon as you press the fire button. Secondly, make sure that you release the fire button before you finish inhaling.
Inhale Steadily – Another common mistake that newer vapers make is inhaling e-cigarettes incorrectly. When you inhale the vapor from an e-cig, it’s much different than inhaling a combustible cigarette. While many smokers take short, strong drags from cigarettes, this may cause issues while vaping. If you sharply puff on your e-cigarette, this can pull liquid into the chimney and can cause a leak. This happens because you may be drawing e-liquid through your mouthpiece more quickly than you can vaporize it. The immediate effect of puffing on an e-cigarette too hard is spit-back and eventually leaking. Taking long, gentle, controlled puffs and from your vaporizer helps prevent spit back and leaking.
Flying with Your Vape Tank – Once again, this issue relates to vape tanks malfunctioning when they are not adequately pressurized. During commercial flights, airplanes reach altitudes up to 30,000 feet. The high altitude causes the vape juice that is in your tank to expand and leak out through airflow vents. To prevent this, make sure that your tank is free of e-juice before traveling. Emptying your vape tank will help avoid problems with TSA while traveling and save your luggage in the process.
Why is My Vape Popping and Spitting?
Spitting or spit back is when vape juice shoots up through the chimney and into the mouthpiece. If you or someone you know vapes using an RDA, remove the top and fire your coil. As you fire the coil, you can see particles of vape juice flinging off the coil. Spit back is usually accompanied by a popping sound. Occasionally, these hot droplets of vape juice can end up in your mouth and leave you with a bland taste.
The reason that spit back occurs is that the coil becomes flooded with e-liquid and “fries” the e-liquid instead of vaporizing it. If you cook and regularly deal with hot grease, that is what spit back looks like on a larger scale. Flooded coils are usually the cause of popping and spit back, but there are other things that can cause this as well. Below we’ll go over some trusted methods to prevent spit back.
Take Gentle Inhales and Reduce Your Airflow– This tip can solve leaking and spit back all in one. If you inhale too forcefully when taking a hit from your vaporizer, this will flood your atomizer and cause popping. To fix this issue try taking soft steady inhales. If this doesn’t solve your problem, try adjusting your airflow. This may take a few tries to get right. But trust me, it will be worth it!
Avoid Over Priming Your Coil – The process of priming your coils is to saturate the exposed cotton before your first use them. While priming your coils can prevent burnt hits, over-priming them can cause spit back. The reason that this happens is that over primed coils flood the atomizer. To prevent over priming you coils, make sure to allow plenty of time for the cotton to absorb your e-liquid. To take this a step further, try inhaling without firing to help your coil absorb your e-liquid more efficiently.
Fire Your Vape in Intervals – If you’ve over primed your coil, don’t despair. You can reduce the flooding around your vape coil by pulsing your fire button in short 1-2 second intervals until the popping sound disappears. Eventually, the popping sounds will lessen, and you should be able to vape without much popping.
Make Sure You are Using a High VG E-Juice – Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are two of the main ingredients in e-liquid but using the incorrect ratio can cause popping and spit back. Propylene glycol is considerably thinner than vegetable glycerin, and if you use a juice that is too thin with a sub-ohm setup, it will cause popping and spit back. If you’re having this problem, check out some of our vape juice. They are 75 VG 25 PG which is optimal for sub-ohm vaping.
Increase Your Wattage – High VG vape juice requires a lot of power to vaporize correctly. If you are experiencing popping, try turning your voltage up 10 watts or so. Just make sure to stay in the recommended range of your vape coils, or you will risk burnt hits and damaging the coils.
Your E-Liquid Contains a lot of Sweeteners – If you are using vape juice that contains sweeteners such as sucralose, popping may become a problem. When you vaporize e-liquid, flavor molecules and sweeteners leave a remaining residue that can caramelize around your coils. As the remnants of sweeteners start to materialize, your cotton loses its ability to wick correctly, and this can cause a crackling sound to emanate from your RDA. To avoid this, you will have to change your coils a little bit more often.
Stick to Standard Coil Builds – If you are using an RDA, you should avoid any complex coil builds. Although twisted coils provide great flavor, spit back and popping are common problems. Clapton coils also have similar issues. The design of specialty coils makes it easy for e-liquid to flood the atomizer and makes it challenging to control popping and spit back. If you want to avoid spit back, I would suggest building with standard coil wires or vape mesh.
Re-Wick Your RDA or RTA – If you are using a rebuildable device, then you may need to re-wick your coils. Building for RDA’s and RTA’s takes time to get right and if you are not comfortable with building coils should seek the advice of an experienced vaper. The quickest solution to avoid spit back is adding more cotton to achieve a larger wick.
Don’t Let E-Juice Sit on Your Coil Too Long Without Vaporizing – If you let your atomizer sit overnight without vaporizing the liquid, the flavoring and other molecules will pool up inside of the wick and slowly evaporate, leaving behind solidified flavor molecules. If you happen to leave your vape device sitting for more than an hour, pulsing the fire button once or twice will help fix the problem. Just make sure that your wick isn’t completely dry before pulsing.
Check the Quality of Your Cotton – If you are using an RDA, make sure that you are using high-quality cotton. Low-quality cotton usually has tiny knots in it that prevent the juice from wicking properly, thus causing a crackling sound. High-quality cotton, on the other hand, has fine thin fiber to allow equal wicking. Check out cotton bacon if you have any doubts about the quality of your cotton.
Build Your Coils Vertically – You should build your coils vertically. Horizontal coil builds tend to shoot vape juice upwards while vertical coils send most of the spit back to the walls of your RDA. If you use a tank, you can follow the two tips below.
Use an Angled or Wide Mouth Drip Tip – If you are using a short 510 drip tip, it may be time to switch to a longer angled drip tip. The design of angled drip tips helps to prevent e-liquid from being popping into your mouth by providing a less direct route for inhalation.
Use a Pipe Screen – New generation atomizers are starting to incorporate mesh screens into their design to prevent spit back since every atomizer crackles and spits back every once in a while. A filter prevents this by blocking super-heated droplets of e-liquid from reaching the chimney of your device. If you decide to DIY your screen, cut a section of a screen that is a little larger than the opening of the mouthpiece and mold the screen into a cone shape. Remember that coils conduct electricity and can throw your ohm reading out of whack. Thus, only recommend this method for advanced vapers. Proceed with caution!
Takeaways from Vape Tanks Spitting, Popping and Leaking
Spit back, popping, and leaking are common issues that come with the gift of vaping, and even the most experienced vapers deal with the problems from time to time. Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate the issues and prevent them before they start. Leaking, popping, and spit back are caused by many of the same reasons. It is imperative to perform routine maintenance on your vaporizer to ensure that it’s functioning correctly. All vapers can benefit from a change in vaping habits to minimize the issues. Luckily, all our troubleshooting techniques are easy to apply and can yield immediate results.
When it comes to your vape tank spitting, popping, or leaking remember to keep calm while dealing with these problems and troubleshoot your issues wisely. I know firsthand how irritating malfunctions can be when you’re trying to curb your nicotine craving, but stick with it! Vaping has a slight learning curve and requires a little bit of know-how, but once you master maintaining your gear, you’ll never look back.