One of the most common and frustrating issues people experience on their vaping journey is the dreaded leaky tank.
First of all, to clear the air somewhat: ALL VAPES WILL PROBABLY LEAK AT LEAST ONCE. If this happens more than once, there’s chance that it could be an issue with the tank, the coil, the tanks o-rings, or one of many other annoying causes, with some tanks having more finicky rules to abide by.
Another thing to consider is that condensation is often misconstrued as leakage. Commonly seen in bottom airflow tanks, condensation occurs after almost every puff, as vapour will still slowly be produced for a second or two after the device is done firing. This vapour will generally fall down the chimney of the device and end up in the airflow chamber, where the colder metal will cause it to condense, often giving the appearance of a slow but steady leak. This is not a cause for concern. Just mop it up with a paper towel. Ideally, all vapers should have a supply of paper towels or a drip cloth.
If the situation is worse than one paper towel can deal with, simply wrap the air flows with a couple of paper towels, then blow through the device really hard while it’s switched off. This will force any excess juice out of the air flow holes, and hopefully prevent you losing any more e-liquid.
Being totally honest, if your device starts leaking, chances are really low that the device is faulty. It’s far more likely that there’s an issue with the coil or the device was set up incorrectly.
With that out of the way, let’s address the ways in which we can prevent ourselves falling victim to any leakages.
It’s important to pay attention when you’re doing anything with your vape. Above all, you should never have to force any part of your vape together, and it should be machined well enough that it will fit together smoothly. Forcing parts of your vape together can damage essential threading and o-rings, causing leakage.
Another factor in almost every tank is how tightly you screw the parts together. We already discussed not forcing your threads, and this is somewhat an extension of this. We generally say ‘finger tight’ when putting it together; basically, don’t take to it with a wrench. As usual, there are exceptions to the rule. An example of this would be the TFV8 line of tanks from Smok. With these tanks, I’d almost recommend taking a wrench to the coil when you’re screwing it into the base of your tank (I don’t actually recommend it, but make sure it’s tight at the base), while leaving it only just finger tight when you screw in the top half of your tank. This helps prevent leaking by allowing for the expansion and contraction of the device’s components over the course of use.
A general rule-of-thumb for installing coils is the bottom goes in first, and tends to want to be tighter than the top.
All tanks will expand and contract as you use them, which is generally why having them over-tight causes leaking.
Obviously, cracks in your glass, or large rips in your o-rings will easily cause leaking, and these parts should be replaced if they become damaged.
Another cause is coils that don’t have the standard screw-together design, stuff like the T18 or the T20-S, and the Nunchaku from Uwell. These all use a press-fit coil, one that is designed to be held in place by friction.
I’ve often seen these press-fit coils cause issues for those who choose to set up their vape without any assistance, or who simply don’t pay enough attention one time when they install their coil.
If you’re a ‘techno-fear’ type, make sure you get a good tutorial on your vape (our staff will always offer one, and if you’re buying online, just look on Youtube), and take a photo of what your vape looks like when it’s properly set up. This reference will help you if you’re ever experiencing an issue.
While we’re somewhat talking about coils, they can be the reason your tank leaks too.
In most tanks, the coil (well, the wick in the coil) is the only thing holding the seal on the tank. Ergo, when the cotton in the coil degrades, which just happens over the course of regular use, it can cause your tank to leak. This is why it’s great to always have some replacement coils on hand, for troubleshooting any leaks. Similar to tanks, be careful with how tight your screw in your coils. Forcing too much can damage the smaller, more delicate threads on your coil.
An important thing to consider is that pretty much all tanks are pressurised to some degree. There is some physics magic that keeps them from leaking, and simply being aware of this will mean you’re less likely to treat your vape in a way that could cause it to leak. There’s a couple of things that relate to leaking and are caused by an imbalance in the pressure of your tank.
For example, when filling. When you fill your tank, make sure there’s at least a small air bubble left at the top of your tank. This can create a small low-pressure differential, and make it harder for your tank to leak.
If you’re someone who finds themself sucking really hard on their vape, but you’re not using an appropriately opened airflow, you may find that you’re pulling e-juice through the cotton, which will then leak down out of your airflow. Only drag as hard as your device is designed for.
If your vape starts leaking, don’t immediately assume that it’s broken, as there are so many parts on every vape, and so many ways we can accidentally throw the balance of the devices out.
If you can’t find a solution to your leaking with any of these tips, I would highly recommend the r/vaping101 forum on Reddit, simply post and ask your question, there’s usually at least one or two people who have encountered your issue, and potentially a fix.