Gurgles and leaks are common issues with e-cig devices and they can often be put right when you understand what might be causing the problem.
If you're using a sub ohm device (coils less than 1.0 ohm) please go to the end of this article.
Leaking is often confused with flooding so if you decide you don't have a leaking tank please refer to our article e-cig tank flooded.
If you're simply hearing a gurgling noise (and it's not leaking), it may be because the device has been standing overnight and there's more liquid at the bottom of the coil making contact with the part that heats it up.
These are the different parts of a traditional clearomizer tank:
Gurgling noises are an indication that liquid has found its way into the centre tube and most often occurs after a refill. The gurgling is caused by the liquid mixing with air, a bit like when you suck through a straw when the glass is nearly empty.
To try and explain gurgles further, once a stream of water has been created, more will follow more easily, it already has a wet path to seep into. e-Liquid works in much the same way, and as it’s thicker/more viscous it will eventually flow more easily because it doesn't dry up. As e-liquid doesn't evaporate and it’s sticky it will remain near the lip and on the sides of the air flow tube until it's removed.
There are many different atomizer heads and clearomizer tanks but these images will give you an indication of what to look for and check in order to resolve any problems:
If liquid is leaking from the outside of the tank (usually from the base) then look for small cracks, if there are cracks, this is a leaking tank and you will need a new one.
Cracks in tanks can occur for difference reasons, the heat itself can cause plastic tanks to crack (they can melt in some cases) but some juices are much more prone to cause cracking than others, here are a few examples: Menthol, spearmint, absinthe, cinnamon, citrus fruit flavours, cola.
Change of temperature can affect e-cigs Just be aware that temperature can contribute to problems. When you’re outside and your e-cig gets cold, the air, liquid and components within it contract and more air can enter the system. When you’re indoors or somewhere warm, as your e-cig, liquid and component parts warm up again, the air expands and the liquid comes under more pressure.
DON'T WASH YOUR TANKS IN THE SINK BECAUSE YOU ARE LIKELY TO LOOSE YOUR SEALS DOWN THE PLUG HOLE!
Some tanks are much more prone to leaks if they’re not in regular use. If you’re not going to use one for a while, best to empty it and refill it when you need it. When in regular use, the liquid tends to be vaped away before it has a chance to run out and an old atomizer will increase the chances of leaks occurring.
You may find letting your e-cig rest for 30 mins or so after you've finished with it stops the odd drips that can occur when you unscrew them immediately after vaping and put them straight away.
If you’re using a sub ohm tank and coils (sub ohm means coils with a resistance of less than 1.0 ohm) and you’re getting liquid in the mouth, or liquid leaking out of airflow slots, etc, this example of what not to do with the likes of the Eleaf Melo, as an example, should prove helpful.
Firstly, ensure the power (ie the wattage or the voltage) is in the correct range for your coil.
You need to ensure the power setting isn't too low and your e-liquid isn't too thin.
In the case of the Melo 0.5 ohm coils it’s probably circa 25W. The Melo is designed to match the Eleaf iStick 30 mod which has a range of 5-30W but if you set the wattage too low the liquid cannot vapourise, and instead it will gurgle away, perhaps get darker in colour, and you’ll end up with it in your mouth or seeping out wherever it can because it has nowhere else to go every time you press the fire button.
You also need to use a good quality e-liquid with more VG than PG (VG is thicker than PG and produces a lot more vapour).
Be aware that 6mg (0.6%) nicotine is probably an absolute maximum strength e-liquid to use in any sub ohm device.
If you can’t take the hit from the increased vapour from the VG content of the e-liquid, turning the power down will cause more problems than it solves, instead you need to reduce the nicotine strength.
In addition to this, when you press the fire button you need to inhale directly into the lungs (“lung it”). Sub ohm vaping, which usually has a looser, more airy draw, is designed for direct lung inhale, as opposed to the more traditional mouth to lung inhale.
For further information click here for our article about the best e-liquid for different e-cig coils.
I thought I'd record this as a good example of severe leaking. It was a brand new item, before filling and priming the coil I checked it was screwed right in and everything was fitting together as it should be. On filling the tank the juice leaked through and came out the airflow holes at the base, did that a couple of times. I changed the coil and it did it again. Three times I checked and dried everything. On the third or fourth time of filling suddenly it was working perfectly. Although I couldn't see the problem, the fact that the liquid could trickle through and out as it did means that something wasn't sealing as it should, there was an unplanned path for that liquid to flow. A little bit of patience and I worked through it, but it was puzzling at the time.
E-LIQUID / JUICE INFO
COILS / ATOMIZERS
E-CIG TANK PROBLEMS
E-CIG BATTERY HELP
SUB OHM BASICS