It’s never fun to get up in the morning and find your vaping device resting in a pool of e-liquid. E-liquid isn’t cheap. Getting it on your hands also isn’t a great feeling. So, why is your vape tank leaking? Sometimes, a small amount of leaking with a vape tank is unavoidable. If your tank is constantly dumping its contents, though, that’s a bigger problem. Let’s learn why your vape tank is leaking and find out how you can prevent it.
Getting Started: How a Vape Tank Works
In the reservoir of your vape tank, there is a partial vacuum that helps to hold the e-liquid in place. When you vape, you draw air through the intake holes at the bottom of the tank. Inhaling creates an air pressure differential that draws e-liquid from the reservoir to the coil through the wick openings.
Air needs to travel freely through a vape tank. Otherwise, you’d find it difficult to inhale the vapor. The center of the tank is essentially a long chimney. Air enters through the intake holes and travels through the coil assembly before exiting out the mouthpiece. Only the vacuum environment of the tank and the thick cotton wick in the coil assembly prevent the e-liquid from spilling out the bottom of the tank.
Condensation and Dripping
A modern vaping tank creates a massive amount of vapor, and some of that vapor condenses and forms droplets in the tank’s chimney. If your vape tank has a wide mouthpiece, you can actually look inside and see the moisture. If you hold your vaping device upright, you’ll encourage those droplets to drip back down to the coil. If you hold your device upside down, though, the condensed e-liquid will leak from the mouthpiece. To prevent e-liquid from leaking out of your tank’s mouthpiece, store your device upright as often as possible. If you place your device on its side, try to tilt it so the bottom of the device is slightly lower than the top.
When you open your tank for filling, you’ll see two openings. The middle opening is the tank’s chimney; that’s the path through which air and vapor travel. The side opening is the e-liquid reservoir. You should only fill your tank by adding e-liquid through the side opening. If you use the middle opening, the e-liquid will flow through the coil assembly and leak out the bottom of the tank. Be careful not to overfill; if you don’t leave a little room in the tank’s reservoir, a vacuum will not form.
Cross Threading and Damaged Gaskets
With many vaping tanks, changing the coil requires you to disassemble the tank almost completely. With all of those potential avenues for e-liquid to escape, a typical tank will have several silicone gaskets to seal the tank and keep the e-liquid in its place. Those gaskets will only seal properly if the tank’s threads are properly lined up and the gaskets themselves are undamaged. Checking the threads and gaskets, therefore, is the first step in troubleshooting a vape tank that leaks out the bottom.
Disassemble your tank fully. Set the coil assembly aside, and rinse and dry all of the other components. Check all of the silicone gaskets for stretching, warping or tearing. If you discover a damaged gasket, replace it; most vape tanks include complete sets of replacement gaskets. Reassemble the tank carefully. If a thread doesn’t turn smoothly, don’t force it; back it up and try again. The threads of a vape tank are very thin and fragile. Cross threading can lead to misalignment and leaking. Don’t over-tighten the tank because doing so could damage the gaskets.
In a vape tank, the coil is the primary component that keeps the e-liquid from leaking out the bottom. Air must travel freely through the coil, but the wick must be thick enough to hold the e-liquid in place and keep it from dripping out the bottom of the tank. Defective coils are rare. If you do encounter one, though, it may have a manufacturing defect that causes e-liquid to flow through it too quickly. If your vape tank leaks – and you’ve just installed a new coil – you should first ensure that the coil isn’t cross threaded and that you haven’t over- or under-tightened it. If the leaking continues, try a different coil.
E-Liquid PG/VG Ratio
Compared to the e-cigarette tanks that were available a few years ago, modern vaping tanks have incredible vapor production. To produce big vapor clouds, a vaping tank needs to use a lot of e-liquid – and to use a lot of e-liquid, a tank’s coil assembly needs very large wick openings.
An e-liquid is mostly comprised of two base liquids: vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). VG is very thick and has difficulty flowing through a tank’s wick openings if the openings aren’t large enough. PG, on the other hand, is thin and flows easily through wick openings of any size. When you look at an e-liquid bottle, you’ll usually see the VG/PG ratio printed on the label. A ratio of 50/50, for example, is very common and works with a wide variety of vaping tanks.
In most cases, you can simply buy e-liquids based on your favorite flavors without worrying about their VG/PG ratios. There is, however, one case in which the VG/PG ratio of your e-liquid can cause your vape tank to leak. A coil assembly with very large wick holes requires an e-liquid with some VG content. An e-liquid with mostly PG will seep through the wick openings and leak out the bottom of the tank. If you still experience leaking after disassembling and reassembling your tank, try switching to an e-liquid with a VG content of at least 50 percent.
Our last tip for fixing a leaky vape tank applies if you’re traveling by air or driving through mountains. During a large elevation change, the air pressure will change in a sealed container of liquid. You’ve seen that happen if you’ve driven up and down a mountain with a closed bottle of water. The same can happen with a vape tank; the air pressure differential breaks the vacuum in the tank and causes the e-liquid to leak out the bottom. If you’re about to bring your tank to a higher elevation, you can help to maintain the vacuum by using the tank occasionally while you travel. If you can’t do that, empty the tank before traveling – or at least close the airflow vents.
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