One of the best parts about quitting smoking and taking up vaping is the fact that ex-smokers get to save a lot of money – what is it? Like $10 per day for a pack a day smoker these days? The downside is that you will need to use a portion of those savings on e-liquids and you guessed it, replacement atomizers.
Atomizers have a lifespan. How long a lifespan no one really knows. Some can last for weeks or even months, while others only a couple of days. A lot of it has to do with how a user uses the e-cig, and how much abuse he or she puts the atomizer through.
For regular atty’s manufacturers such as “Joye” will normally provide a warranty period with the product, so if something goes wrong, you can ship it back and they’ll send you a new atty.
Depending on your model of electronic cigarette, a replacement atomizer can cost you anywhere from $3 to $10 each. You should always have a few spares in your equipment stash just in case you burn out an atomizer (otherwise known as “popping an atty”). The last thing you’ll want is to have to go back to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes while you wait for your replacement parts to arrive.
Depending on how you use your e-cig, the atomizer’s lifespan will vary. Manual batteries will burn out atomizers faster if held down constantly or for too long. There are also LR atty’s (or low resistance atomizers) which fire up hotter to produce more flavor and vapor, but at the expense of the atomizer’s life. These LR atty’s can be purchased separately from almost all online retailers and they are considered a “mod”. They are also not covered by warranty. I will cover more on LR’s in other articles.
Is my atomizer dead?
Atomizers are fragile things and it isn’t uncommon for one to stop working all of a sudden. The symptom is normally a lack of, or very weak vapor production even though the atty’s been fired up for a long stretch.
How to tell if it is still working
A quick way is to just hit the switch on the atty and fire it up. If you hear a sizzling sound, then it is very much alive still. The atomizer is probably just clogged up with half-burnt e-liquid and with the wick covered in this gunk, it will not be able to draw any juice into the chamber to get vaporized. You will need to either clean it out thoroughly or if you’re too lazy, purchase a new one which will only cost you a few dollars a pop.
But before you do that, make sure your battery isn’t flat – a very common mistake most newbies make. I find that after a few hours of using my Ego-T, drawing vapor gets harder. Upon changing batteries, the draw is light again. Battery life will affect how well the atomizer fires up.
People who use higher concentrations of VG (vegetable glycerin) in their e-juices tend to get their atty’s clogged up more frequently, due to the thick and sticky nature of the VG fluid.
If you don’t hear any sizzling sounds, your atomizer has probably seen it’s final days and it’s time for a new one.
How to tell if it’s burnt out
This one is easy. You’ll find it very hard to draw air through the mouthpiece when an atomizer has popped. There is no sound of e juice sizzling in the coils. Once you’ve burnt out your first atty, you’ll know exactly what it’s like, otherwise it’s hard to describe.
Cleaning the atomizer
Cleaning it out can be a bit of a drag. It’s my least favorite past-time, that’s for sure.
Do not attempt to clear out the gunk in the atty by blowing on it. This can cause it to clog up even further. Instead, you should detach the atty from the battery (remove the cartridge as well) and just soak the entire thing in hot water, or PGA alcohol. If you use the alcohol method, make sure you give it a good rinse out after.
Then, sit the atty out to dry completely (over a day). There are many other ways to clean a clogged up atomizer – this is just how I do it.