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Vape coil how to prime it

Why You Need to Prime Your Vape Coils and How to Do It

Looking after your coils not only helps you enjoy your vaping experience, it also helps you get the most out of every coil. One often-mentioned tip for looking after your coils, especially for new vapers just getting to grips with sub ohm tanks, is to “prime” your coils before starting to vape. But what does it mean to prime your coil? Why would you need to do it? And what’s the best way to do it?

 

This post gives you the answers you need.

 

What is Priming Your Coil?

 

Priming your coil basically means ensuring it is thoroughly soaked with e-liquid before you start to vape. The process of priming is intended to prevent “dry hits” when you first install a new coil, and for this reason it’s only really necessary when you’re using a brand new coil. The wick (usually made from cotton) is completely dry when you first get a new atomizer head, and for a sub ohm tank running at high power, if you try to vape before there is sufficient e-liquid in the wick, you could damage or burn it and affect its functioning. You should also prime rebuildable tank atomizers for the same reason, but it’s most important for tanks with pre-made coils.

 

Generally, to prime a coil vapers manually soak the wick – from both the opening in the top and the windows around the side – prior to filling up, and then leave the tank to sit for a short period of time before starting to vape.

 

Why You Need to Prime Your Coils

 

Priming your coils is important for both performance and the lifespan of your coil. A dry hit is a very unpleasant experience, accompanied by a burning, unpleasant taste as the wick material is singed and your e-liquid gets “overcooked.” A coil that hasn’t been primed won’t perform as well as one that has been primed (especially when it comes to flavor), but the biggest issue is that firing your vaping device when the wick is still a bit dry risks burning the cotton.

 

If you end up burning your wick by being too eager to start vaping, this cannot be repaired unless you completely replace the wick. This is generally a fiddly and challenging process with pre-made coils, and newer vapers in particular will likely have to throw the whole atomizer head away and replace it with a new one. This is even worse because the coil you’ll be throwing out will be basically brand new: you’re just throwing your money away.

 

Take the time to learn to properly prime your coil so you don’t ruin a perfectly good coil and risk leaving yourself with nothing to vape.

 

How to Prime Your Coil

 

Thankfully, priming your coil is easy to do and you won’t forget how to once you’ve learned it. Even without instruction, remembering that you need to make sure the cotton wick is completely soaked in e-liquid before you start vaping should be enough to prevent any disasters. However, there are many specific steps in most vapers’ priming process, and you can follow it through to get your coils perfectly primed, every time.

 

Step 1: Wet the Cotton Through the Top of the Atomizer Head

 

Almost all atomizer heads have an opening in the top. When the coil is brand new, you may be able to see the coil in the center if you look down into it from the top, but you will certainly be able to see the white cotton wrapped around the inside of the chamber. Take the e-liquid you’re going to be using to fill up, and manually soak this cotton from the top. This is easier if you have the atomizer head separate from the other components of the tank, but you can do it with the head screwed into the base of the tank if you prefer.

 

Ideally, you’re looking to thoroughly wet the wick without going so far that e-juice pools up inside the atomizer head. Use the dripper spout of your bottle or the glass dripper top to direct the e-juice directly to your wick, and add e-juice bit by bit so you don’t go too far. Continue until all the wick you can see is soaked in e-juice. If you end up with some pooling in the chamber, you can shake any excess out onto a paper towel. If you still have pooling when you try to vape later on, you’ll end up with a gurgling noise and possibly some juice getting sucked up into your mouth through the mouthpiece.

 

Step 2: Wet the Cotton Visible Through the Wicking Ports

 

Atomizer heads have little “windows” or “wicking ports” around the outside to draw e-liquid in from your tank, and you should be able to see cotton through these too. The next stage of the priming process is adding e-liquid directly to these from the outside. This is very easy: just drip some e-juice to soak the bits of the wick you can see and make sure you get all of the windows. Since you’ve already soaked the interior, as long as the cotton you can see is damp, you won’t have any issues.

 

Step 3: Assemble and Fill Up the Tank

 

The first stage of the priming is now complete, so you can screw your new coil into the base of the tank (if you haven’t already) and put the rest of the tank together. Now fill your tank with e-liquid. How exactly you do this will depend on your tank, but modern tanks usually have a top-filling system that might require you to unscrew the top cap of the tank (which holds the mouthpiece) before filling up. Always avoid the central tube, because this leads straight down to your coil. Fill the tank to the level recommended by the manufacturer and re-attach the top cap.  

 

Step 4: Take Some Dry Pulls

 

Inhaling from your mouthpiece without pressing the fire button is called a “dry pull.” This is crucially different from a dry hit because you don’t press the fire button, so the coil doesn’t get hot and you don’t get any vapor. However, a dry pull does suck liquid into the atomizer head through the wicking ports, and this is useful for priming. Cover the airflow holes in your tank with your fingers and take between 3 and 5 dry pulls, being careful not to suck too hard because this could flood the coil. Just inhale at a comfortable speed a few times and you’re good to go.

 

Step 5: Have a Little Patience

 

The previous steps have reduced the need to wait before you start to vape, but leaving the full tank five minutes is still a good precaution to take. This lets the e-liquid from the tank soak into the wicks naturally. Really, even without any of the other steps, if you waited long enough with a full tank before vaping your coil would end up primed through this alone. However, the steps you’ve already taken have reduced this waiting period from 20 to 30 minutes to around five. There is no harm in waiting longer, but leave it at least 5 minutes before progressing to the next step.

 

Step 6: Start On a Lower Wattage

 

You could head straight for your usual setting and start vaping, but taking things gently reduces the risk you’ll get a dry hit and ruin your coil. If you usually vape at 40 W, reduce your power setting to 20 W and then take a few puffs. Cutting your usual power setting in half is just a final precaution to make sure everything is properly primed before you start vaping as usual. Gradually increase your setting until you reach your usual level. Once you get there, you can keep vaping as normal: you’ve successfully primed your coil.

 

Never Forget to Prime

 

Priming is easy to do, but absolutely crucial to remember when you install a new coil. If you don’t do it, you’ll end up with dry hits, burned wicks and money tossed down the drain. It’s also one of the most common mistakes new vapers make, and can turn a pleasant switch to vaping into an expensive nightmare. Just remember the golden rule – don’t start vaping until your wick is thoroughly soaked – and you’ll avoid issues.  

Lee Johnson is a writer and vaper from the UK. He started vaping in 2012, and since then has contributed to E-Cigarette Reviewed, E-Cigarette Direct’s Ashtray Blog and Vaping360. He strongly believes smokers need accurate information about vaping and other reduced-harm alternatives to smoking. He has a degree in physics from the Open University and a passion for all forms of science.

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