My E Cigarette is hot so is it dangerous
As existing Vapers or E Cigarette users have become exposed to more and more powerful devices, so they have come to experience different behaviour patterns from these new devices. If one does not know to expect heat as a byproduct of extra power, then one could be forgiven for being slightly alarmed by a device with a lithium ion battery at it’s heart getting hot to the touch.
The good news is that 90% of the time there is a very simple reason for the heat build up. So don’t panic in these situations but still treat them with respect.
So you think your device has overheated. ?
If you suspect you are the victim of overheating there are a few simple areas to cover before declaring your device as “ready for the bin”. Remember that at a fundamental level all vaporizers produce somewhere between 200 degrees F and 600 F in their normal working range. So they are very much supposed to produce some perceptible heat from the outset.
The reason you normally don’t feel this from the device is down to two main things:
- Coolant in the form of Airflow
- Coolant in the form of E Juice
If your device is warming up excessively the first thing to check is where the heat is emanating from. Is it from the top around the tank and battery interface area (where the two screw together) ? If you answered “YES” to that then rest easy as it’s not your battery that is getting too hot. At least not yet.
Fill Her Up
E Cig tanks tend to work best somewhere between fully filled and about half filled. If the tank is being run half empty or less, then there is a lack of coolant inside the tank. So go ahead and fill her up. Next check the airflow. Are you vaping at 40 watts or higher with very restricted airflow ? If so this can also cause a steady but unrelenting build up of temperature. This often happens when people are chain vaping but prefer the flavour characteristics of a restricted airflow configuration on their tank.
If you’re chain Vaping then you need to ask yourself why that is. You can tell if the issue is in the tank if you remove it and the rest of the device cools faster than the tank. This means the source is at the tank, since they are generally made of the same or similar materials.
Full Metal Jacket
Chain vaping plays havoc with your tank and your device. That’s because they are generally made from surgical grade steel. The main purpose of this is for easy hygiene and long term durability when exposed to liquids. So basically, they don’t rust and they are easy to clean. Unfortunately this means they are also relatively good conductors of heat.
So if you’re vaping constantly the heat never has time to dissipate. This is because the heat is being given time to go though the base and chimney of the tank and that in turn is going from the screw threads into your device’s outer case. This in itself is not really a major hazard as the battery inside takes longer to heat up and most are good up to about 60 degrees C for normal operation. As an example, if your bath water was that hot it would scald you. So if it’s not that hot on the outside then the inside is still safe.
If you have a habit of chain vaping all the time, you should consider the possibility that your nicotine strength of your liquid may be too low. If you don’t want to get the excess heat then drop that Nic level or exercise a bit more self control between draws of your E Cig.
Smaller tanks heat up faster
Since TPD regulations came into effect in the UK the market is based now on small compact tanks. This is the law and so we have to deal with it. So expect some extra temperature from these and there is less surface area for the heat to dissipate from them. If the mouthpiece gets hot, then buy and aftermarket Delrin drip tip. They are heat insulators so they don’t get hot at all. The same goes for Ceramic drip tips.
What about heat during charging ?
Heat during charging up to as much as 40 degrees C can be normal for some devices. The operational manual will always state that if it is the case. Some of these devices have been engineered to provide faster charge times. This comes at the price of extra heat production. It’s a result of the chemical composition changing inside the battery and a whole lot of electrons moving about.
In these cases you will find that the battery casing or device casing often has holes or perforations in it to allow hot air to escape through ventilation. If that’s the case you need to orientate the device so that these “Vents” are exposed to the air and preferably facing upwards where possible. This will allow the device to “breathe properly” and you’ll find the heat becomes far more tolerable. If in any doubt,unplug the device and take it to your store an explain your concerns. They will be able to tell if the heating is excessive or not. It’s okay to be cautious and seek advice.
But clearly some E Cig batteries do “go bang” ?
This is true unfortunately but its not caused by heat. The heat is a symptom of a more serious issue. When E Cig batteries go into thermal overload it’s usually down to one of two or three things:
- Internal hard short circuits in regulated devices (Normal devices). This is when an aspect of the wiring is in contact with the battery when it shouldn’t be. This is very rare indeed but not impossible. The easy way to tell the difference between this and any other situation as above is the speed of the heat build up. It would be very rapid. From room temperature to very hot in a matter of seconds. If this happens you have only a moment. Make sure the ends of the device are pointed away from you or your family and get the device outside or into something “burn proof” immediately. It needs to be an open area. If you can’t get outside to concrete then just drop it into the kitchen sink. Leave it for a good while and if it goes, you’ll know about it as jets will come out of either end. Once they stop you can cover it in salt water. After a couple hours its should be safe to throw away as the salt will neutralise any battery acid.
- Mech Mod thermal overloads (Custom Built devices) Over discharging: This only applies to mechanical switching devices. Either they go when you have a hard short as above resulting from a short in your coil or there may be damage to the battery cover. Always test coil builds to avoid shorts and check the battery wraps to avoid internal hard short contacts with the mod’s inner walls. Use only IMR chemistry cells as they prevent blow torch like jets from being expelled. Check that your mech mod has some form of venting holes cut into it from manufacturing to relieve the pressure if the battery does vent. Most bodily harm from venting is caused not by burns but by shrapnel impacts form a lack of venting holes in the device. Lastly, know the limits of your IMR Batteries. Don’t build below 0.2 ohms if you don’t know exactly what you are doing with Ohms Law.
- Over charging (Applies to all devices): Chargers are designed to automatically cut off charging when it is complete. Now 99.9% of the time this all works correctly. Once in a while though that protection circuit may be faulty or have been damaged through misuse like being dropped one too many times or something like getting wet by accident. So don’t just accept that the protection will always protect you. Don’t leave your batteries charging unattended and don’t leave them charging where they can cause a fire , other damage or bodily harm . Case in point, the bedside table. It’s made of wood typically, so it’s flammable and its right next to your head when you sleep. Don’t use it for a charging surface. Instead charge only under frequent supervision in an area where you know that there are no easily flammable materials within about 3 feet on either side of the charger and batteries. If your batteries are deformed or externally damaged in any way. it’s safer to just get rid of them and buy new ones.
The Moral Of The Story
These more severe situations really are statistically one in a million scenarios and on closer inspection into each case many were avoidable. In the situations where they were not due to faulty circuitry, the consequences were avoidable had the users followed the safety guidance from the stores and in the product manuals they were sold with. Form good habits with your Vaporiser and they won’t seem like such a chore. Taking shortcuts with this stuff can result in a life changing injury or severe damage to property or both. So don’t take it for granted.
If you get affected by a faulty device in this way you will find your retailer will take care of you if they are any good at all. Remember though that it is up to users to ensure they follow safe practice. If you misuse the products you are boxing your Vape store into a corner. It’s a corner that is expressly covered by the manufacturer’s manual and warranty terms. So don’t ignore it as ultimately, it is the user who loses out if the worst happens.