Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt?
One of the most unpleasant experiences a vaper can experience is the dreaded "dry hit" - a smoky, burned-cotton draw that's nothing like the smooth, flavorful inhale you've come to expect. Hot, scalding, and cough-inducing, dry hits are everything that's bad about smoking and then some. One of these hits can quickly ruin your vaping experience, your premade coils, and most likely send you into a fit of gagging.
If this has never happened to you, count yourself lucky. If it has, and odds are that the dry hit phenomenon will strike most vapers at some point, you probably know how unfortunate this can be, and how low your desire is for it to happen again.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the dry hits. What causes them? How can you prevent them? What can you do to stop it after they start? Let’s dig in.
There are several root causes for a burnt flavor coming from your vape, but one of the most likely culprits is an empty tank. If you haven’t topped up the liquid in your tank for a while, you run the risk of emptying your liquid reserves, which not only creates the foul-tasting dry hit condition but also wreaks havoc on your hardware. The easy remedy for this is to fill up your tank.
Another possibility when it comes to bad flavor is that your coil is spent. Factory-assembled disposable coil heads, particularly the wicking element, have a finite lifespan. Depending on the product and how often you're using it, you can expect anywhere from a few days to a few weeks' worth of use out of your coil head or disposable pod/tank before it's time for a replacement. If you disassemble your tank to where you can see the coil and find a gunky buildup around the metal wires or blackened cotton wicking, that's an indicator that it's time for a change. The easy fix is to get a new coil. If you don’t have one handy, there are ways to clean your coil, but these are at best temporary fixes, and it’s easier to just get a new coil.
When you last changed your coil, perhaps you didn’t break it in properly by priming it. Remember, you're going to want to break in a new coil by directly wetting the wicks, waiting a few minutes for liquid to soak in, taking a few pulls without firing the device to pull in even more liquid, and start with a low power setting that you'll gradually ramp up for the first tank if you have an adjustable-power device. Check the link above for more advice on how to properly break in your coil to avoid premature burnt hits and to extend your new coil's lifespan.
Other potential reasons for your burnt vapor may include your power settings or your PG/VG viscosity levels. If your power is too high, then it could overheat the coil to the point that it burns the wicking - this is why we recommend starting low and gradually ramping up the power to hit your sweet spot. If you’re using eliquid with high VG levels, those liquids take a longer time to absorb into your wick, which could lead to a burnt taste after a powerful hit or prolonged session of chain vaping.
We should note here that vape mods equipped with temperature control features can be set so that the heat generated by the coil never reaches a point at which wicking can be burned - employing this feature if it's available to you can prevent accidents if you're prone to vaping your tank dry without noticing.
Remedies and Tips
The simplest solution to remedy a situation where a burnt coil is seriously affecting your vaping experience is to get a new coil. One glaring indicator that you need a new coil is if your vapor begins to smell and taste funky. If the burnt taste doesn’t go away after replacing your coil (remember to thoroughly wash out your tank when making a coil switch), it might have something to do more with your device and how it hits your coil.
To recap, here are a few tips to avoid dry hits:
- Always be sure to properly prime fresh coils or pods, breaking them in under low power before turning up the wattage.
- Inspect your coils between refills, replacing your coil head or tank when there are visible signs of wear or gunk buildup around the coil.
- Never run your tank dry. Try to refill when you drop below ⅓ of a tank, or at whatever level your device manufacturer recommends.
- Never attempt to push your device beyond the coil manufacturer's recommended wattage.
- If you have an option to use temperature control, employing that mode will ensure your coils never get hot enough to burn your wicking.
Follow this advice, and you'll be well on your way to a burn-free, flavorful vaping experience.