How Much Water Should You Put in Your Bong, Rig, or Perc?
Expert advice for how much water you should put in your perc chambers, including your bong, rig, or percolator.
The other day I was asked by a customer how much water they should put in the perc. I drew a sketch and sent it to the them to explain. I'm sure this is a question lots of people have. Or maybe they should ask this question if they're putting too much or too little water in their bong, rig, or perc chamber.
So how much water should you put in your bong?
Here is the sketch I sent to our customer:
Unfortunately, my graphic designer wouldn't just upload my sketch. So here is a much better info-graphic.
The main principle here is that any opening that air can pass through must be submerged under water. In the this case we have pretty standard 6-slit downstem: all six slits, which air flows through, must be submerged. This is the same if you have a beaker, straight, bubble, donut, or any other shaped base bong/waterpipe. If the openings that air flows through are not submerged, smoke will pass above the water and you're essentially smoking out of a dry pipe.
How high past the slits of the downstem should you fill with water? That's a topic of debate, and a matter of preference.
For me, I consider a few things. I like to use as much water as possible without it splashing in my mouth when I pull out the bowl to carb the chamber (when pulling out the bowl and allowing clean air to clear the smoke from the chamber of the waterpipe). That gives the pipe a nice heavy, stable base to sit on.
If my bong or rig has an ice-pinch, I take into consideration that the ice will slowly melt and add to the water in the lower chamber. So, I may use a little less water. Most important factor is that all openings, in this case the slits of the downstem, are completely submerged under water.
So lets talk about percolators. These are extra chambers above the base chamber that can also hold water. Percs come in all shapes and sizes but the principle amongst all of them is the same. Just like the base chamber, which is a percolator as well, smoke passes through a submerged tube filtering the water again. Some bongs and rigs have multiple percolators, repeating the percolation process. How much water to put into your percolator?
Here is my sketch again that I sent to our customer:
Again, a much better info graphic.
I'm going to explain how a perc works and why you need the amount of water you do in a separate post, but for now, here are some key points. Again, any opening that air flows through needs to be submerged. Percolator slits must be completely submerged in water for smoke/water percolation in the chamber. Another aspect to keep in mind is how high you fill the perc chamber. In the sketch above, you can see a tube in the center of the perc. This tube allows air to flow from the lower chamber, beaker for example, up into the perc (in this case, a showerhead perc). You need to keep the water level below the top of this inner tube. If you fill the percolator with water above the top of the inner tube, water will simply fill the perc and flow to the lower chamber until it levels with the top of the inner tube. It's science baby! So your water level needs to be above the slits but below the top of the inner tube. Putting too much water in the perc, can also cause water to splash from the last perc into your mouth….No bueno!
And, that's how much water you should put in your bong, waterpipe, rig, and perc. Of course there are variations not covered here, like recyclers. So if you want to get technical with recyclers or any other topic, let me know!
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Li from LA Pipes