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How to Prevent Leaking, Spitting, and Flooding - 180 Smoke

How to Prevent Leaking, Spitting, and Flooding

Aug 1, 2019 | Buying Guides, Tanks, Vaping, Vaping Wiki

Despite what some ex-vapers may say, leaking, popping, and spitting are not part of vaping and can be fixed quite easily. Whether you’re using a regular tank, sub-ohm tank, RTA, or RDA, these issues can always persist, unless of course, you follow these tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. 

In this article, we’ll focus on why these issues can occur as well as how you can prevent these issues from occurring. All of the solutions are easy enough to follow and should ensure your vape performs at its absolute peak. 

What is leaking?

As the name suggests, leaking is when e-juice escapes your tank, usually through the airflow system. This issue is quite common among vapers and can occur because of a host of different reasons, all of which are preventable. Leaking isn’t necessarily an issue with the manufacturing of the device, and can even occur in some of the most popular sub-ohm tanks like the SMOK TFV8 Baby Beast, Uwell Crown series, Aspire Cleito, and much more. 

While some modern tanks do come with anti-leak measures, you should still utilize these tips and tricks to prevent leaking from ever happening. In this section, we’ll go over some general tips to prevent leaking, as well as some practices you can maintain to prevent leaking. 

How to prevent leaking

Check your seals – It may sound like something obvious, but making sure your tank is tightly fastened together can be the difference between a full tank and a pocket full of e-juice. If your tank isn’t put together properly, e-juice can easily leak from any openings, as well as through the airflow holes. To ensure your tank is tightly sealed, make sure your threads are in sync and closed snuggly. You shouldn’t be over tightening your threads, as this can cause damage to the tank, so find the sweet spot and don’t push past the limit. 

Remove e-juice from the chimney – All tanks, whether they be sub-ohm or rebuildable, will have a chimney that runs from the body of the tank to the drip tip. While not a common occurrence, sometimes e-liquid can get stuck inside this tube by accident, which will lead to gurgling and leaking. This issue is easily remedied by cleaning out the chimney with a paper towel before vaping. 

Keep your tank upright – While some tanks are built to handle being on their side for a long period of time, the majority are not. Gravity plays a huge role in leaking through airflow holes, and tanks left on their side are generally more prone to leaking. To ensure this doesn’t happen, be sure to keep your vape positioned vertically if you aren’t using it for extended periods of time. 

Check for damaged or worn O-rings – A number of leaking tanks have to do with damaged pieces of the tank and O-rings are often the first pieces to take any sort of abuse. These small rubber rings help keep the airtight nature of the tank so any sort of wear and tear can instantly break this seal. If you notice any of your tank’s O-rings are damaged, go seek out replacements, which are generally quite cheap. 

Check your airflow – When filling your tank, make sure your airflow slots are fully closed and when in use, make sure the airflow is only open as much as it needs to be. While some tanks are built for a very wide airflow, opening it all the way and inhaling too deeply can bring too much e-liquid into the coil, which can also lead to leaking. 

Avoid overfilling – Filling your tank to the brim may seem like a good idea if you want to keep vaping for a long period of time, but loading your tank full of e-juice can quickly lead to leaking. When filling your tank, keep a small air pocket at the top as this empty space will help prevent e-juice leaking. 

Use the right e-juice – For sub-ohm tanks, which use coils that require a lot of power, anything lower than 70%VG has a higher chance of leaking due to the thinner viscosity of PG. This has to do with the way in which sub-ohm tanks were made, namely to use high VG e-juices to chuck large clouds. If you find that your tank is leaking with only a certain e-juice, take a second to check your VG/PG ratios and maybe look to something thicker. 

Properly prime your coils – This is by far the biggest step you can take to prevent leaking and applies to both pre-built coils and rebuildables. While this step is more important to prevent dry hits, using an excess amount of e-liquid when priming can lead to leaking. Your coils should only look slightly saturated, as fully drenched coils will leak almost immediately. While this may differ depending on your device, generally speaking, 3-4 drops should be enough. 

What is spitting and popping?

Spitback, or spitting, is the colloquial term used in vaping to describe the hop droplets of e-liquid that can sometimes shoot into your mouth when vaping. This occurrence can be seen when an RDA is firing, as e-liquid on the coil will be spit in all directions and will often be accompanied by a popping sound.

Spitback generally has a very simple cause; namely when e-liquid gets pooled on the coil and is “cooked” instead of vaporized. This cooking process directly causes spitting and when inhaling through the tip of a device increases your chances of catching a hot droplet or two. This issue is closely linked to flooded coils, though it can occur on its own occasionally. 

How to prevent spitting and popping

Don’t overprime your coil – As mentioned before, overpriming your coil can cause a host of issues including spitting and popping. This occurs because of excess e-juice pooling on the coil which can also lead to flooding and ultimately spitback. To prevent this, it’s best to give your cotton the time to fully saturate, rather than rushing the process 

Reduce your airflow – Inhaling too sharply through a very open airflow encourages flooding by literally pulling e-liquid into the tank’s chamber. To solve this issue, inhale softly to allow the coil and wicking to do the work for you. If this does not solve the issue, try closing the airflow a little more, but do not inhale strongly to compensate as this will make it worse. 

Try a thicker e-juice – We’ve mentioned before that excess e-liquid on the coil can cause spitting and popping, which can occur more frequently with higher PG e-juices. The thinner nature of these e-liquids makes them more prone to flooding the coil, thereby leading to spitting and popping. Toe ensure this doesn’t happen, change to a higher VG e-juice.  

Pulse the fire button – This is more of a solution to fix a flooded coil before it begins aggressively spitting or popping, but is quite reliable in fixing any spitting issues. SImply press the fire button in short intervals until the popping sound fades and you only hear the white noise-like hum of proper vaporization. 

Turn the power up – Using a wattage that is under the minimum requirements of a coil can cause e-liquid to build up on and around the coil making spitting and popping more likely. To remedy this, simply turn the power on your device up by 5-10 watts, but be sure to stay within the recommended range of your coil. 

Fix your wicks – This is really only a solution for people using an RTA or RDA, but it can make a world of difference if your device is aggressively spitting juice back at you. It may take some experimenting to figure out what proper wicking method works for you, but the goal is to cover the channels leading from the tank to the chamber without completely blocking them with densely-packed wick. Flooding issues can generally be remedied by using more wick than usual. 


Having to troubleshoot your device isn’t always a sign of a defect or broken device. Instead, it’s often a necessary part of vaping that allows for a smooth and satisfying experience. The important thing to note in all of this is to not be discouraged when your device starts leaking, spitting, or popping. It only takes a few seconds or minutes to remedy almost all of these issues, and with these tips, you should be able to easily fix and leaking or spitback. If you’ve tried all these solutions, it may actually be your device that has an issue, but remember to stay calm and just accept that defects occur. 

In recent years, more manufacturers are finding their own solutions to these common problems and are building their devices to stop them from ever happening. Anti-spitback and anti-leaking measures are becoming more widespread in newer devices, and if the tech continues ot develop, problems like these may be a thing of the past.