One of the most common problems vapers face is gunk accumulating on the coils. This gunk refers to that thick, black layer that coats the coil on the atomizer and clogs the wick. Coil gunk causes a host of problems, but you can take a few simple steps to avoid it and to clean the coil if the gunk accumulates.
Understanding What It Is
You know coil gunk as the dark buildup by the coil and in the wick. This is one of the most common reasons for vapers to change their coil regularly. The gunk can negatively affect the flavor of the e-liquid and the wick’s ability to soak up liquid.
That gunk is the residue that comes from any e-liquid that the vape did not successfully vaporize. Certain ingredients, especially sweeteners, are more likely to get left behind. When you continue to vape, they will get reheated repeatedly, eventually turning dark.
What Causes Coil Gunk?
To avoid vape coil gunk, start by learning what causes it. Then you can avoid or at least minimize the cause.
The biggest cause of coil gunk is the sweetener found in many e-juice. Sweeteners are very hard to vaporize, so instead, they remain and become residue. Many e-liquids have sweeteners in them, and without proper filtering, some steeping material can also cause gunk to build up.
Another common cause is the use of darker e-liquids. It is more likely for your dark e-liquids to cause coil gunk compared to lighter ones. This is not due to color but due to composition.
Darker e-liquids tend to be sweeter and heavier, so the gunk is the direct result of the presence of sweeteners.
There is some debate as to whether e-liquids with higher VG cause an increase in coil gunk, but it seems possible. This comes from the fact that e-juice with higher VG is thicker. That increases the likelihood of clogging. Those who argue this cause indicate that you should be fine with less than 70 percent VG.
It is also common for natural tobacco extracts to have small solid particles that will collect on your coil and create a crust layer. You can reduce this by opting for a well-filtered tobacco e-liquid.
Chain Vaping on High Power
Coil gunk is also caused by using high power settings, chain vaping, or a combination of the two. It is also more likely if you take extremely long puffs. Additionally, using high power settings will also directly burn the wick via hits that are slightly dry.
How to Avoid the Coil Gunk
It should come as no surprise that most of the methods of avoiding coil gunk involve avoiding some of the causes. However, the best advice gets even more specific than this.
Choose a Different Flavor
Start by swapping out your current e-juice flavor that is sweet for one with less sweeteners. At the same time, try to choose a flavor that is lighter in color.
Opt for a Lower-VG E-juice
When making the switch, you may also want to choose an e-juice that is lower in VG.
Remember that not every e-juice high in VG will cause coil gunk, but choosing a liquid with lower VG may help reduce your issue. Make it a point to opt for under 70 percent VG to reap the benefits of this swap.
Reduce Your Power
If you do not want to have to buy a new e-liquid, then consider reducing your power settings. This should be a simple way to minimize your coil gunk problems. As a bonus, this should also extend the life span of your coils.
Consider Rebuildable Atomizers
If you are really concerned about coil gunk, then make the swap to a rebuildable atomizer. This will make it much easier to change the wick if gunk does occur.
What to Do When You Have Coil Gunk
In some cases, you can save your coil when it develops coil gunk. In other cases, you may need to replace it. You may also be able to get away with cleaning the atomizer head or replacing the wick. Here are some things to try before you give up and replace the wick.
With Rebuildable Atomizers – Replace the Wick
If you use a rebuildable atomizer, you will be able to easily remove the wick if coil gunk occurs, then you can replace the wick. Start by removing the wick and dry-burning the coil. This will get rid of a bit of the residue. Once your coil cools down, wipe down any remaining residue using a damp paper towel or Q-tip. Put a new wick in, and you should be ready to go.
With Premade Atomizer Heads – Clean
You could also follow the above process for a premade atomizer head, but this will be much more challenging. Instead, you will likely want to just try cleaning the atomizer head.
Disassemble the tank and then let the atomizer head soak in either hot water or a strong grain alcohol (which is safe to drink like vodka). Let it soak for about a half-hour. If you opted for alcohol, always rinse it out carefully. Let the atomizer head dry for at least 12 hours, so it is thoroughly dry before replacing it.
With Premade Atomizer Heads – Replace the Wick
You can replace the wick on a premade atomizer head, but it is a bit of a hassle. As such, take this step if the cleaning step above does not work. Your device will likely have its own specific guide to replacing the wick material, but it may be slightly complicated.
With Coils You Build – Change the Wick Material
If you use coils that you build yourself, then consider changing the wicking material from whatever you currently use. Cotton is common for many reasons but does have a high risk of gunk. Other options, like silica wicks, have greater gunk resistance. You can also consider using ceramic wicking.
If you vape, then you will definitely have to deal with the dreaded coil gunk at some point. This is simply the buildup of residue from parts of your e-liquid that were not burnt. Taking the above precautions, however, can reduce the buildup of gunk, making life easier for you.