It’s typically pretty easy to tell when you’ve had enough, and it’s time to give your vaporizer a break. Still, if you’re new to vaping, you’ve probably found yourself wondering when exactly you should empty and repack your vaporizer, and that’s what we’re going to explore in this article.
Is it Still Producing Vapor?
If it’s still producing noticeable vapor, there’s still likely some life left in your material if you use a device that operates at a specific temperature. However, once your material starts to run out of compounds vaporizing at whatever temperature you are operating your vaporizer, you should notice that it is no longer producing visible vapor.
Once you start finding it difficult to tell if you’re still getting any vapor at all, it’s often a good time to check the material's color. The color of your material can be a great visual gauge as to how significantly your material is diminished and can go a long way towards telling you if your material is spent.
It is important to note that not all vaporizers produce much visible vapor in the first place; this doesn’t mean you aren’t actually inhaling anything, just that it’s not super noticeable. In cases like this, it’s best to lean on other indicators like taste and color. A lack of visible vapor can also be a sign that you are running at a lower temperature, but don’t use it as a reason just to crank your heating to the maximum setting until you’re familiar with your device.
How Dark is too Dark?
If your material looks more like charcoal than coffee after vaping, you’re likely scorching the material. You may also notice an unpleasant smokey smell is starting to build up in your vaporizer. While some people like to push the limits, anything more than a medium brown likely contains very little in the way of desirable compounds.
When you push your material too far, or your device produces hot spots beyond normal vaporization temperatures, this can result in unintentional combustion or something very close to it that is likely beginning to lose the benefits of vaping in the first place as opposed to simply burning the material.
Some of the Material is Still Green?
Occasionally, you may find yourself with a mix of material that looks quite finished and nicely browned, yet some of the material is still green. While this can occur in many types of vaporizers and for various reasons, you’ll primarily see this in a few specific situations.
Firstly, conduction vaporizers are more prone to this as the chamber itself gets warm; this results in the material in the center of the chamber not reaching temperatures as high as the material directly contacting the chamber walls. This can be resolved by mixing the material before completing the session. Secondly, you may even find some convection vaporizers that don’t evenly heat your material which is often (but not always) a sign of a low-quality device and poorly considered design. Additionally, you may simply be overpacking your heating chamber or bowl, resulting in warm air only passing through the material in a few specific places.
What Happens if I Combust?
Many vaporizers will tolerate some excessive scorching or minor combustion events. However, this can really smell up your device, and you’ll likely find yourself wanting to clean it immediately after this occurs. If you accidentally combust, take note of how you were using your device to avoid pushing it so hard in the future.
Depending on how your device is built, you may damage it when combusting as the material may reach a temperature the device simply can’t tolerate well. However, typically combustion in a vaporizer is accidental and something you’ll quickly notice (often with a fair bit of coughing involved), and thankfully as a byproduct of how many of these devices are designed, the material will often quickly extinguish itself once you stop passing fresh air through the chamber.
Seriously, try and avoid combusting in your vaporizer. If this is something you’re looking to do, there are plenty of other ways to do it that won’t mess up your vaporizer and leave it smelling like an ashtray.
What if Vapor Tastes Like Popcorn?
It may seem a little weird if you’re experiencing a taste that can only be described as something resembling literal popcorn. However, this is a common experience, especially when using a conduction device with a large chamber capacity.
The first few inhales from a freshly filled vaporizer will be full of flavor, terpenes and, at the best of times, can verge on being quite luscious. However, after this stage, you can expect a less enticing period that tastes somewhat like popcorn. Still, you’ll typically be able to generate a lot more good vapor and still be experiencing some great effects.
Luckily, if this is something you want to minimize, there are some things you can do. One of the most common culprits for popcorn-tasting vapor is conduction vaporizers. You can reduce this by mixing your material during a session to vaporize at a more even rate. While convection and hybrid vaporizers can still give you some popcorn vapor, it’s a lot easier to minimize it by either filling your chamber with less material at a time, using vaporizers that support filling bags that mix the tasty vapor with the less tasty portions, and using devices that enable you to comfortably finish some material in one or two inhales as opposed to devices that encourage more of a slow vapor sipping experience where the material is just slowly cooking away in the chamber.
If you just can’t stand that popcorn taste, try a Dynavap Omni on the half bowl setting or something like an Arizer XQ2, where you can hide it amongst terpene-filled vapor in a large bag. Even injector vapes can be an excellent way to minimize dealing with the less-than-enticing popcorn-tasting vapor.
When is the Best Time to Refill Your Vaporizer?
Exactly how far you decide to push your material in terms of extraction is primarily up to personal preference. However, for many people, a medium to dark brown is the point where you can reasonably stop and not feel like you are leaving much to go to waste.
If you are someone who likes to operate your vaporizers at a lower temperature and prefers to focus on the flavor, you may find that you may only reach a pale green or light brown stage. This result is because, at lower temperatures, it’s to be expected that your material won’t be extracted as much, resulting in less of a color change.
At the end of the day, the best time to refill your vaporizer is when you are no longer enjoying the material in the device. Once you become familiar with how a specific device operates and its nuances, you’ll often start to naturally form a pattern where you know roughly what you can expect before your material is at the stage you’re happy to finish up.
After you’ve been vaping for a little while, you’ll also quickly become familiar with the taste, color, and vapor cues that tell you the status of your material. But, again, this is something that is best to learn via experimentation to find exactly what suits you and your preferences.