“Excuse me, I think your pocket is on fire!”
These immortal words were uttered to me, by a doctor of all people, in what counts as one of the more unusual experiences of my life. (And probably the doctor’s too!)
The problem, of course, was caused by an auto-firing vape device. This was many years ago and thankfully nowadays, mods have vastly improved and it’s very rare to get an auto-firing device. You can, however, occasionally experience auto-firing with pod devices which use inhale firing, so in this post we’ll cover what causes it, how to prevent it and what to do if your device does auto-fire.
What is auto-firing?
When you vape, there are two ways to fire up your device. You can press a button (manual fire), or you can inhale to fire up the device.
The second method is referred to as auto-firing – but auto-firing can also refer to when a vape device activates even when you are not inhaling or pressing the fire button.
Does auto firing happen often?
In the early days of vaping, auto-fire was a relatively common issue and often happened with mod devices. As technology improved and major brands improved their quality, issues with mod devices became rarer.
However, with the advent of pod devices the issue has become more common. That may be because these devices often use auto-inhale, which means they activate (fire) when you inhale. Fortunately, it’s easy to minimise the chances of this happening with some simple maintenance, which we’ll explain later on in this post.
Auto-firing devices are rare with disposable devices such as the Elf Bar, as they tend to be used up before they develop any issues. However, the sheer number of disposable devices sold means there are likely to be at least some issues.
Is auto-firing something to worry about?
In most cases, auto-firing is not something to worry about. Most modern vape devices come with an automatic cut off, which stops the battery from providing power to the coil after a certain number of seconds. However, it is an annoyance, as auto-firing wastes e-liquid and can damage the coils in pods.
What causes auto-firing?
Auto-firing can be caused by a number of factors – most of which are related to the sensors in your device. These factors include:
1. A build-up of residue inside the device.
2. Accumulation of dust, dirt or debris on the sensors.
3. A build up of condensation inside the device.
4. A poor connection between the pod device and the coil (which can be caused by one of the previous points).
5. Damage to the device, for example after accidental drops.
6. Extreme temperatures – it’s noticeable that there was an increase in reported auto-fire issues during the heat waves of 2022.
7. Defective chip: Your device will contain a chip which tells the battery when to provide power. When this chip is faulty it may tell the device to fire even when you are not inhaling/pressing the fire button.
How can you prevent your vape from auto-firing?
As obvious as it may seem, the best (and easiest!) way to prevent your device from auto-firing is to make sure it’s turned off when not in use. If there’s no power going to the device, it can’t fire!
If you’re unable to turn the device off, fortunately, it’s fairly easy to prevent an auto-fire issue with maintenance. Simply remove the pod from your device. In the port that holds the pod, you’ll see the sensor and, in some devices, an air-hole. Use a cotton bud to clean around these on a regular basis.
What should you do if your device auto-fires?
If you have a pod device, the first thing to do is disconnect the battery from the pod. If it is hot, use something to protect your hands.
Leave the pod disconnected overnight, and clean all the contacts with a cotton bud. The issue should now resolve, but if it doesn’t you should either discard the device or, if it is still in warranty, contact your supplier.
It’s rare to get serious issues from auto-firing, but in the unlikely event that your device is getting hot from the battery follow the steps we have outlined here.
What should you do if your disposable device auto-fires?
We’ve already mentioned that it’s rare to experience auto-firing with a disposable device. However, if it does happen, it’s harder to do anything about it. That’s because the pod is usually built into the device, and can not be easily removed.
The best thing to do is place the device in a hard, fire-proof container and leave it until the battery has died.
What devices should you buy to prevent auto-firing?
The Uwell Caliburn series offers up some great devices, but they do tend to auto-fire more than other devices. On the other hand, we have come across very few issues with the Vaporesso Xros 2. (The Vaporesso Xros Mini tends to be more popular than the Xros 2, perhaps because of its lower price, but we prefer the Xros 2 due to its automatic cut off.)
As we’ve mentioned, auto-firing can also be caused by accidental drops, so if you do tend to drop your device a lot, or work in a manual job where your device can be expected to take some punishment, it’s worth considering a tough device such as the Smok Novo 2S.