Atomizers work by passing an electrical current through a wire coiled around a wicking material. Over time the coil of the wire will start to burn and collect dry remnants of e-liquid, and the wicking material will start to burn as it stops moving the e-liquid as efficiently as it once did.
At TABlites we tend to say this can occur anywhere between two to eight weeks, it’s quite a wide margin but everyone is different and the amount of time an atomizer (including clearomizers) will last depends on many, many factors.
When the atomizer eventually ‘burns out’ it will produce much less vapour than when it was new. It may also produce a burnt flavour when used. This is the best indicator that your atomizer has reached the end of it life and it’s time to get a new one (or change the head, click here for more on that).
You can often save the liquid in a burnt out atomizer by pouring it into a container or into a new atomizer. You may not get it all, but you can at least save most of it. If your atomizer has been giving a burned flavour for a while this may have flavoured your liquid slightly though, so watch out for that, you want to catch it early to avoid that.
Now, sometimes an atomizer will give a burnt taste every now and then even though it’s not burnt out. This is usually when the wicking material dries out which can happen in something with short wicks at the top of the tank when the liquid starts to get a bit low. Just give the liquid a swirl or two upside down and that should put some liquid in those wicks and make the atomizer taste fine again.
If you get a burnt taste regardless of how much liquid is in the tank or in the wicks then your atomizer is done and it’s time to move on to the next.
We hope that helps.