If you put a wad of cotton against something hot, it will start to smolder. When this happens inside an electronic cigarette, you get an unusual throat hit and the smell of burnt cotton. Sound familiar? Congratulations, you got a dry hit. Any experienced vaper has been through many of these and knows how extremely unpleasant they are. We will tell you how to avoid this issue.
An unprepared atomizer is a common cause of the burnt aftertaste. Be sure to make your new atomizer thoroughly wet, putting a few drops in every visible opening. Don’t skimp on the liquid — it’s better to flood than to burn. Then, leave your device for a couple of minutes. Let the liquid spread out inside. Finally, make a few "blank" puffs without pressing the button. By this point there’s absolutely no dry cotton or other unpleasant surprises left.
Not enough liquid
Dry hits are inevitable if you don’t refill your vape in time. So don’t allow the cotton to dry out. Tanks make this easy to monitor — if the supply holes are not filled with liquid, then it’s time to refill.
Dripping tanks are even more simple — if the liquid in the tank doesn’t touch all ends of your wicks, then you should replenish the reserve.
However, RDAs can cause problems, especially for beginners. You’ll have to remove the drip tip a lot to make sure that the ends of your wick are wet. As time passes, you will be able to tell this by the reduced taste and dry vapor, but before that, odds are you will get a couple of dry hits.
First, don’t make your cotton too tight. A tight "roll" won’t be able to absorb enough liquid for continuous vaporization.
Second, don’t let the wick dangle around in the coil — it has to lay against the coil’s entire inner surface. Otherwise, an accidental empty spot will heat up the cotton instead of the liquid.
If you use a long coil with a small diameter, the center of your wick won’t be getting enough liquid. To avoid a dry hit, you should lower your wattage, or pause between puffs.
The reason for a dry hit can lie in high wattage — when the coil vaporizes liquid faster than it is supplied. Usually the permissible wattage range is indicated directly on the atomizers. Regarding coils, we recommend starting with a low wattage and increasing it gradually, paying attention to your sensations. The upper limit is determined by the most dense and thick vapor. When it becomes dry and hot, it’s time to lower the wattage.
Liquid that is too thick won’t be able to pass through the flow holes fast enough. As a consequence, the atomizer head or the wick in your coil will remain dry and eventually burn. To avoid this, replace the liquid with one that has a lower glycerin content. You can also pause longer between puffs. This will let the wick saturate better.
In severe cold, the same thing happens — liquids thicken outside. The solution — warm up the coil before drawing, that is, hold the button for a couple seconds. And to get rid of this issue for good, keep both your device and liquid close to the body, for example, in your jacket pocket.
You can read our full winter vaping guide here.
The coil has had enough
Sometimes the burnt aftertaste doesn’t appear suddenly and brightly, but rather gradually takes away more and more from the taste of your favorite juice. Both the coil and wick are to blame for this, as both of them eventually fail.
Liquids with a lot of cooling agent hold the title of cotton killing champions. They can take half a day to turn the wick into dark flakes, which absorb liquid poorly, deform, and destroy the flavor. In such a case an atomizer head gets tossed in the trash, while a rebuildable coil will need to be cleaned and re-wicked. Liquids with a lot of coloring, sweeteners or oxidants have the same effect.
Now let’s summarize all the rules: