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Why Is My Hookah Not Pulling and How to Fix It

Hookah pipes can be pretty complicated. There are a lot of parts and pieces of a hookah pipe, and the physics behind the whole operation can get a little bit overwhelming for some smokers.

This lack of understanding can lead to a lot of unresolved issues with your hookah. If you run into a problem with your hookah, you should have the knowledge and know-how to fix it and get it smoking smoothly again.

While hookah pipes may seem a bit complicated, the reality is they are pretty simple, and with a little bit of research, you can fix almost any problem that you have. So the next time you smoke your hookah and it’s not pulling right, you’ll be able to fix it before your coals go out.

We’ve made things even easier for you, by compiling our best knowledge to make sure that you have a guide to fixing a hookah that doesn’t pull available to you during an emergency.

How Does a Hookah Work?

If you are dealing with a hookah that doesn’t quite smoke right, it is important to start by learning how a hookah pipe works when it is working properly.

Your hookah pipe starts with your coals, which provide heat to your shisha, vaporizing it and the glycerin and liquids in the tobacco. This smoke is then pulled through the stem and downstem, and into the water in the base of your hookah pipe. The smoke filters through the water, and bubbles up into the vase where it enters your hose and then your lungs.

It is no more complicated than that, which albeit is a bit more complex than a simple joint or cigarette. Nevertheless, you can’t wrap your head around pretty quickly.

What Might Be Causing My Hookah To Not Pull?

In order to fix your hookah, you need to know what is causing your hookah not to pull. There are two main things that will cause your issues with the pull on your hookah pipe.

These two potential causes are the seal on your hookah, and the airflow of your hookah. Either of these two things could cause your hookah to pull incorrectly, whether it is pulling too tight, too open, or not at all.

Depending on which of these two factors is the root cause of your hookah pull issues, you will have a different solution. Here are a few common problems and what might be causing them.

What Do I Do If My Hookah Pulls Too Open?

The first common issue we hear a lot is people struggling with a hookah that has a wide open pull. An open pull means that it is easier to draw on, i.e. you don’t have to suck as hard to get air to come through.

Some people like their hookah pipes to pull a bit more open than others, but when a hookah is pulling too open it can be impossible to draw smoke down through the stem and vase of your hookah. There will be no consistent airflow making it up to the coals, so no smoke can be produced.

The main cause of this issue is the seal on your hookah. If any pieces of your hookah are not an airtight seal, then you are going to get leakage and less suction. Make sure that you are using all of your grommets to get secure connections between your hose, the hose port, bowl, stem, and vase.

The issue might also be caused by having too many holes in your tin foil. If your pull is just a bit too open and your hookah is fully sealed, then you should check your hole pattern and make sure that your foil is wrapped tightly around the bowl.

What Do I Do If My Hookah Pulls Too Tight?

We know what to do if there is too little suction and we get a hookah pulling too open, but what if the hookah pull is too tight? If your pull is tight, that means you have to suck really hard on the hose to get smoke out of your hookah.

If your hookah pull is too tight, the problem isn’t the seal, it is the airflow in your hookah. While you can’t have leakage of air in the hookah, you do still need a good amount of air to flow into the hookah in order to get anything to happen at all.

There are two things that usually cause your hookah to pull too tight: too much water in your vase, or not enough holes in your tin foil. Either of these two issues can cause problems with airflow not being strong enough to draw any air or smoke from your hookah.

What Do I Do If There Is Too Much Water in My Hookah Vase?

There are a couple of ways that you can identify if too much water in your vase is the problem with your hookah or not. The first thing you will notice is that the water level in your hookah is high.

If you can see that your downstem is more than one inch submerged in the water, you may have too much water in your vase.

If your hookah vase is making different noises than usual, causing big splashes against the vase or large or particularly ferocious bubbles, you are probably dealing with too much water in your hookah.

The great news is that there is an easy fix, pour some water out of your hookah. Your downstem should be half an inch to one inch submerged in your water when at the proper water level.

How Do I Know If There Are Too Few Holes in My Tin Foil?

You can tell if there are too few holes in your tin foil if there is a billowing effect from your tin foil.

When there are too few air holes in your tin foil, there is not enough air allowed in from around the coals to light your shisha. It will also make it really hard to pull any air in through the tiny holes.

Simply try poking more holes in your tin foil to allow for better airflow. You can also try to widen the holes by running a toothpick around the edges and pushing them wider. You should have enough airflow to breathe in smoke when it’s at a good airflow level.

How To Fix Your Hookah Pull: The Takeaways

There are free things as frustrating as going to smoke from your hookah pipe and finding that the pull is unusably off. Whether it is too open or too tight, your hookah won’t smoke right, and that is a major issue.

Luckily, by maximizing the seal on your hookah and dialing in the airflow, you can get your hookah pulling right. The perfect hookah pull is determined by having an airtight seal on your pipe, the proper amount of water, and the correct level of airflow in your tin foil.

Together, with the knowledge that you have gained from this article, you should be able to solve any of these issues, and dial in your pull tightness however you want it.

Not only does MOB Hookah have all of the hookah expertise that you need for the perfect hookah smoking experience — we also have all the best equipment. We carry the highest quality hookah pipes, shisha, coals, hoses, bowls, and accessories in the industry so that you get a great smoke session every time.

And keep checking back here at our blog for more great content like this.


How to Fix a Hookah That Is Not Smoking Well | Hookah.org

Hookah Parts - Beginner Hookah Guides (1/2) | Hookah.org

How Much Water in the Hookah Base? | Hookah.org

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