Depending on how often you vape and the flavor(s) you choose, the coil in your device may last anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks. You know it's time to replace your coil(s) when your e-cig starts having a burnt flavor.
That's typically 1-2 weeks out, and by picking flavors based on other characteristics, you may be able to get more life out of your coils. There are different theories about which e-juice will "gunk up" your coils more quickly, most pointing to sweeter flavors and darker liquid. Conversely, clearer e-liquid and less sugary flavors may help your coil stay clean longer.
One thing that will help is vaping at a lower wattage. The hotter you run the coil, the more heat it generates, and the more heavy metals leach into your e-juice. Researchers at Johns Hopkins found cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, and nickel present in e-cigarettes; most of these chemicals are used in coils.
Nickel and chromium are widely used in because NiChrome wire heats quickly and was readily available as e-cigarettes were being developed. Because of its relatively low melting point, it tends to wear out more quickly. Also, some people are allergic to nickel - if you are, avoid NiChrome coils as well as pure nickel coils and chromium-nickel-carbon coils.
Kanthal (iron-chromium-aluminum) wire is a widely popular choice. It heats a bit more slowly than NiChrome, but because of its higher melting point and the absence of nickel, it lasts longer and is less hazardous than NiChrome. Kanthal wire is widely available in different thicknesses and is very economical.
Pure titanium is another choice for coils and is popular in sub-ohm vaping. The biggest health risk from titanium comes from running it so hot that it glows, which creates titanium dioxide, which can be harmful if inhaled. (You shouldn't be running your coils so they glow to begin with, so that shouldn't be a problem.)
When you replace your coil, don't just remove the old one and install a new one. Take time to prime your coil by saturating the wick with e-juice and putting a drop in the head. Next, take a few dry hits bynot using the fire button. This helps further saturate the wick and prime the system.
Some vapers suggest breaking in the coil(s) by starting out at lower power and working up toward full power. The theory is that this helps the coil adjust to the way it expands when power is running through it.
Avoid dry hits, which occur when the wick is dry or nearly dry and the heat from the coil is actually burning the wick. That's not good for the coil or the flavor. Always make sure your wick is wet.
Don't hold the power button down for too long, as this will dry out the wick more. That means a longer wait until the wick is saturated with e-juice again, and if you inhale too soon, it can lead to dry hits. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 3-5 seconds between hits.
Don't let your tank run dry. A dry tank makes a dry wick, and a dry wick makes for dry hits. Fill the tank before you absolutely need to, while the wick is still good and wet.
Coils will last longer if they are cleaned when they start to gunk up. Remove the coil carefully, especially if you vape with nicotine e-juice, which can leach into your body through the skin. Blow out any e-liquid, then rinse the coil under hot running water. If you have hard water, follow this by rinsing with filtered water at any temperature. Gently shake out the water and let your coil air dry.
Once the coil is dry, reinstall it and fire it up dry. This will let the coils expand, and you may see more residue between the coils. Let the coil cool and reassemble your hardware. As noted above, make sure your wick is saturated before you start vaping.
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