Why E Cig Tanks Leak And What You Can Do About It
In this article we discuss Why E Cig Tanks Leak And What You Can Do About It. It’ll only cover stock tanks and not RBA, RTA or RDA. If you’re having trouble with custom builds on any of those platforms we suggest visiting YouTube and searching there for specific guidance related to your device. This is due to each device having its own method for coiling and wicking in particular. This article is solely for people who use over the counter tanks and coils that are factory made.
Welcome to Anatomy Class
To understand why your vaping tank might be leaking you need to know how it fits together. There are really only 5 critical components that you need to be aware of:
- Top Cap Assembly
- Coil Assembly
- Pyrex Glass
- O Rings
You may here people say things like “the tank is sealed”. Forget you ever heard that as it’s false. While there are components that do form seals, it is physically impossible to seal the tank completely. Due to the nature of how vaping tanks work, they cannot seal completely. In fact they depend upon this to work correctly.
Correct assembly eliminates 95% of possibilities for leaking
Most incidents of leaking can be put down to incorrect assembly. Either that or missing components during assembly and therefore incorrect assembly. Here we show you the components and how they generally go together. Don’t worry if your tank looks different. The basics are always the same simply scaled up or down with variances in colour and shape.
Screw the coil assembly into the deck. Make sure its screwed all the way down but not so tight that you can’t remove it later. At this stage its worth looking over the Bottom O ring to check it hasn’t been frayed. Coil assemblies also often feature O rings. Check yours for damage or to see if it’s gone missing.
Coils can loosen off between fills so check them every time you top up. Also be sure to clean out the well in the bottom of the deck as juice that is not inhaled as vapour will condense , slowly collecting here given enough time. So clean that out a couple times a week.
Fit the Pyrex glass if you have one or screw on the outer metal casing.Fill with your favourite E Juice. If your tank has a top O ring like this one, make sure it’s seated correctly in its slot before fitting the top cap. If you only have a metal outer shroud with glass encased then you typically skip this point. It will come down to the individual tank.
Some tanks allow for separation of the metal casing and feature top O rings, some are not user serviceable and are factory sealed. Screw the top cap on slowly to let excess pressure escape . Otherwise it will force excess liquid into the coil assembly. If your tank seals from the bottom you may have to invert your tank to fill it and close. So in that case screw the deck to the outer shroud whilst upside down. When using new coils you must allow for priming time. For information on coil priming visit this link.
Still Leaking ?
So, now that we’ve eliminated 95% of the possibilities for leaking we can get down to the nitty gritty of that last 5%. We’re going to break this down into two sections:
- Leaking from the airflow inlets at the bottom of the tank
- Leaking from the mouthpiece or top portion of the tank
Leaking from the airflow inlets.
- First things first. When last did you change your coil ? On low powered tanks you get maybe a week to two weeks from a coil. On sub Ohm Tanks about half that. Sweeter flavours clock up your coil’s wicks faster. So if your coil is looking a bit brown and black it’s probably due a change. If it’s over saturated with flavouring it’ll struggle to hold liquid properly and this will generally come out the airflow inlets.
- As we mentioned above, have you cleaned out the deck or base of your tank ? Condensate may have built up there over time and it needs to be cleaned once or twice per week. Rinse it out with hot water and give it a couple of hard flicks to get rid of the water.
- Is your E Juice actually compatible with your tank ? Some liquids are thinner than others because they contain higher amounts of Propylene Glycol (PG). If you are using high PG liquid in a sub ohm tank setup, it may be that it is too thin for your coil to support. Try a thicker, high VG (Vegetable Glycerin) E Liquid and this could really help resolve the issue.
- Check your coils wicking holes (little holes on the side with cotton showing). Is the cotton missing or are there gaps where there is no cotton filling the aperture ? If so, you may have a faulty coil. It’ll need to be changed as it will never work properly.
Leaking from the top of the tank.
If your issue is at the top of the tank then it’s usually easier to pinpoint. Remove your drip tip or mouthpiece. Check inside the well it sits in. Clean that out and clean the drip tip. This is another area that juice collects in. It needs occasional maintenance. Some tanks, especially cloud chasing style tanks need frequent cleaning in this area. As much as once per day.
Does your tank have a variable airflow mouthpiece ? If so then the step above will already have helped. But perhaps you also need to think about closing that airflow adjuster off. It usually takes away from the flavour anyway so why have it open ? ( This is seperate from the main airflow inlets and is less common these days so only applies to older tanks )
Lastly, is your glass cracked ? Even if its just a minor crack it can cause a loss of vacuum pressure within the tank which can cause major leaks through the airflow inlets or minor ones through the glass itself.
1st Generation TPD tanks
Recent regulation changes in the UK and EU lead to new tank designs that had to conform to certain regulatory requirements. The first generation of these were prone to coil flooding that no matter what you did was utterly unavoidable on refills. The tanks worked fine with fresh coils but on refilling, you would get what appeared to be a leaking and gurgling tank. This happened because the coil was screwed to the top of the tank and then “dunked” into the tank and screwed into the deck from the top.
What this did was cause an unusual pressure scenario. Due to the fact that the coil assembly is supposed to absorb liquid into the wicks under vacuum conditions and the coil was being “dunked” without vacuum effect ( so the coil was being immersed in a “non sealed” environment ) , the liquid was able to essentially free flow into the wicks whenever the tank was refilled. This never showed up with new coils because the wicks were not yet primed (so they were dry and could absorb the excess).
The only way to deal with this issue was to top up, close the tank and cover it with a tissue over the airflow inlets. Then blow through the mouthpiece very hard several times whilst depressing the power button on your mod. This would force the excess liquid out of the airflow inlets and also let your wicks reach equilibrium in the now sealed environment of a closed tank. From that point on the tank would usually vape correctly until nearly empty where the air pressure would become to high and it would gurgle again. (5% remaining fluid approximately )
1st Gen TPD Tanks Known to be affected by this issue :
- EGO AIO Kit
- Joytech Cubis Tank
- Kangertech CL Tank 2ml and 4ml
- Simplicity Mini Tank ( Resolved with updated coil spec )
- Smok Brit One Mega Kit
- Smok Brit One Mini Tank
- Smoke Helmet Tank
There are likely more but these are the ones we had experience with. Most manufacturers learned from these and were subsequently able to avoid the issue by designing their coils to take this phenomenon into account.
To no avail….
If after all of this you still have a mysterious leak, then you may have a more fundamental structural issue with your tank. If it’s still under warranty, then seek out an exchange. Hopefully though we’ve been ale to identify and resolve your issue at some point during this article.
Ultimately, getting a bit of juice on your hands or clothes or on a desk is part and parcel with vaping. It’s how you deal with it that determines how much of a pain in the neck it will be for you. Big picture though, it’s still worth the effort of some general day to day checks and maintenance if it means you’re not smoking.