How to prime your atomiser head

Priming is a simple process and could save you from an unpleasant vaping experience. If you are using an e cig for the first time or have changed your atomiser head, you must prime the coil before firing your device.

What is an atomiser head?
The atomiser head is the heart of any e cig. It contains a heating element known as a coil together with wicking material that soaks up e liquid. When you fire your device, the coil heats up and vaporises the e liquid in the wicking material. You can then inhale the vapour that is produced.

Atomiser heads don’t last forever. With many devices, you can replace the atomiser head when it reaches the end of its useful life and continue using your e cig. What is priming?
Priming is the process of saturating the wicking material in your atomiser head before you start vaping.

Why should you prime your coil?
If you fail to prime your coil, you will experience an unpleasant burnt taste when you inhale. This is because your heated coil will burn any dry areas of wicking material. When this happens, the burnt material remains burnt, even after it becomes saturated and will continue to impact the taste of your e liquid. Most atomiser heads boast cotton wicking. Burnt cotton releases chemicals, a bit like burnt toast. These are not good for you and should not be inhaled if at all possible.

How do you prime a coil?
When you wish to use a new device or after you have installed a new coil, you need to fill your tank or pod with e liquid. Devices vary as to their filling mechanisms and you should read the instructions for your e cig before attempting to top up. Squeeze e liquid into the area around the atomiser head and not into its centre as this could result in flooding. You will usually need to completely fill your tank when priming but with some devices, the manufacturer may recommend that you leave a small air pocket.

When you have filled your tank, don’t use it to vape until you have allowed time for the wicking to become saturated.

How long does it take to prime your coil?
It can several minutes for your wicking to become saturated. You should wait at least 10 minutes before vaping but with some coils and e liquids the process could take as long as 30 minutes. Always consult the instructions for your device and/or replacement atomiser heads before you prime your coils. You will find that thinner e liquids that are high in propylene glycol (PG) are absorbed more quickly than thicker e liquids which are high in vegetable glycerine (VG).

How can you be sure that your wicking is saturated?
When you have left your coil to prime for the recommended period of time, try drawing on your device a couple of times but without firing it. The suction effect you create will help force e liquid into your wicking material.

Can taking quick hits help?
If you leave your coil to prime for several minutes, you should be able to avoid any burnt hits. However, it’s always a good idea to take a couple of quick hits before you start vaping normally. A quick hit is where you draw on the mouthpiece quickly without inhaling the resulting vapour. This is a good way of ensuring that you apply only limited heat to the wicking the first couple of times you fire your device after priming. If your device features a variable wattage mode, it’s a good idea to use a low output for the first few draws after priming a new coil.

What should you do if your coil isn’t properly primed?
If your coil isn’t primed and your wicking material becomes burnt, you will need to discard your coil and install a new one. Once the wicking is burnt, you are going to experience an unpleasant taste until you change the coil. From time to time, you may find that your coil hasn’t primed, even though you have waited for an appropriate amount of time before vaping. This could be because the coil you have installed is defective. Atomiser heads are sometimes "dead on arrival".

What happens if you flood your coil?
If you don’t prime your coil, your wicking material will burn. You should be aware that you can also over prime your coil. This is known as flooding and means that there is more e liquid in your atomiser head than the wicking material can absorb. If your coil is flooded, you will experience gurgling and spitting when you fire your e cig. You can largely cure the problem by flicking your device away from you to expel the excess juice from the coil and mouthpiece. Do this outdoors or into a sink to avoid flicking e liquid onto furnishings and flooring.

When should you replace your atomiser head?
No atomiser head will last forever. At some point, you will notice that your juice doesn’t taste as good. This is sign that your coil is coming to the end of its life. Eventually, you will experience burnt or dry hits. When this happens, install a new coil as soon as you can. As the priming process takes a while, it’s useful to have more than one tank or pod at your disposal. You can then vape using your backup while your coil is priming. You can also choose a convenient time to change your coil rather than being forced to act immediately.

What can you do if you don’t want the hassle of changing and priming coils?
It is possible to enjoy a completely hassle-free vaping life. Simply choose a disposable device or an e cig with disposable pods. You won’t have to devote any time to topping up or changing coils. Disposable devices and pods are prefilled with e liquid and so their coils will already be primed and ready to use.