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If you’ve been using a traditional or sub-ohm vape for any given amount of time, you’re probably painfully aware about coil gunk. This nasty substance can really ruin your day and rack up vape coil costs.
We all hate it, but the question is “can we do anything about it?”
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to prevent it altogether, but you can reduce its presence and, in turn, increase the life of your coils.
Coil gunk is a mixture of several things. It’s mostly made up of unvaped e-juice left behind during daily use. But the cause and frequency of coil gunk will be affected by other things as well.
Gunk is super easy to spot. It’s a black, sticky, tar-like substance that slowly overtakes your coils, eventually forcing you to replace them.
Reducing coil gunk might require some adjustments, but it’s worth the change once you notice the difference.
The first step in preventing coil gunk is to find out why it happens.
Manufacturers use different ingredients for their liquids. Sometimes, getting a certain flavor requires very specific ingredients – ones that may not be so friendly to your vape coils.
Dark e-liquids are a classic red flag. A dark color usually means that the recipe involved some sort of sweetener.
Sweeteners may make the liquid taste great, but they don’t exactly vaporize well. But if they don’t go out with the vapor, there’s only one other place they can go.
The crystallized e-juice sweetener eventually joints the rest of your gunk, ruining the flavor and ultimately killing your coil.
If you’re a cloud-chaser with a decent sub-ohm device, then you’re likely to have at least one bottle of high-VG e-liquid on hand.
But although VG is great for creating massive clouds, it’s murder on your coils and a major cause of coil gunk.
VG is a lot thicker, so your coils already have to work extra hard and absorb the juice. But VG left behind eventually burns, building up into gunk.
Interestingly, not every vaper believes this is the case – although a majority do. That being said, some mods might have better atomizer designs or settings, making gunk less of an issue.
There are plenty of subtle ways to change your vaping technique. But if your habits happen to strain your vape, this could lead to gunk.
Consistently chain vaping, taking long draws and using high power settings all force your coils to go into overdrive. Juice vaporizes faster than it soaks, leading to gradual burning of your wicks.
This crispy buildup is in itself a form of gunk, only adding to your existing problem.
Now that we know what causes coil gunk, we can easily figure out our solutions. Not every one of these will be the right choice for you, either due to strong preferences or lack of options. But even trying one change will give your coils a little extra life.
Typically, anything 70VG or higher is considered “Max VG”. Although rare, it’s possible to find liquids that go as high as 100VG. You can imagine how infuriating it might be for some of the cloud-chasers or general VG-lovers who have to constantly change their coils.
At this point, the solution is simple. Choose an e-liquid with 60VG or less. Many manufacturers offer 60VG as their default, while others might give you the option to choose your VG/PG level.
There are lots of great e-juices that don’t use sweeteners. If you can avoid it, try switching your dark e-juices for something clear.
Certain flavors, like coffee or pastries, are particularly notorious for relying on sweeteners.
Even if you’re convinced that the coil-killer you love is the best e-juice ever, take a chance and expand your palette. You might be surprised by what’s out there.
Arguably the easiest choice, simply changing your settings, technique and frequency of vaping will give your coils a break.
Rather than long draws, try shorter, sharper drags. If you have a tendency to chain vape, do your best to cut back. If you feel the need to chain vape to satisfy your nicotine needs, then it’s time to up the nicotine level.