Humidor Help

BigginBiggin Posts: 52
I know there are other humidor threads on here.  I hope no one is offended by my need for specific help without my having to search everywhere.

I have a humidor that was given to me brand new maybe 12 years ago.  I never made proper use of it.  Yesterday, I went through the process of seasoning it per the instructions that came with it.  The humidity never went above 70 ever when it was most "wet," and now the humidity is at 64 and presumably on the way down.  The puck is obviously old; I don;t know if that matters.

I need to know what the cheapest possible fix is to get the thing working properly.  If I can avoid buying more gear like beads, etc, that would be optimal.  There has to be a solution.  Maybe I'm doing something wrong.  Please, help!

Comments

  • mustluvcigarsmustluvcigars Posts: 686
    seasoning can take a few days or longer, leave a shallow dish with distilled water only in the humi for several days without opening the lids, if you are going to use the puck you will want to use some PG 50/50 solution as distilled water alone offers no humidity control, if you do end up having to replace the humidifier I recommend the Xikar crystal gel humidifier, also make sure you are using a properly calibrated hygrometer

    from my expierence, my humidor took a few weeks if not a month to finally stablize, so dont fret, and also I found tempature changes affect this too, Find the most stable spot to keep your humidor.
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    Most pucks contain florist foam (that green foam you see in potted plants, the kind that when you put your finger in it, it leaves an indentation); which, since its cheap foam, wears out after awhile, or just degrades.

    As for a humidifier I've heard unscented kitty litter (so it doesn't leave an odor on your smokes) works pretty well. One caveat though - the kitty litter isn't geared towards any particular pH, and it only releases moisture, it doesn't take it up. But there are plenty of members on these boards that swear by the stuff.

    So the kitty litter is a quick fix; for something more elaborate/pH accurate, you're probably better off with beads. You can buy a puck from Heartfelt for $15, and the beads never wear out.

  • 0 That Guy 00 That Guy 0 Posts: 188
    I'm kind of in the same boat so let me ask this question:

    I just ordered beads in a tube form as well as a puck for my new humidor. Do I still need to season the humidor with a glass of distilled water for a few days or is setting the beads in their after getting half or so of them wet take care of seasoning?
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Definitely season first. If you don't the wood will absorb moisture from everywhere simultaneously, including your cigars.
  • brc81brc81 Posts: 249
    Also remember that a full humidor will be much more stable than an empty humidor.
  • BigginBiggin Posts: 52
    I guess I'll "season" the humidor again, and see what happens.  The instructions said to leave a damp sponge in the humidor for 12 hours on top of some plastic so it doesn't touch the surface; I'll use the bowl of distilled water instead.
  • Garen BGaren B Posts: 977
    Leave it in for about 24 hours, and check to see if your hygrometer is accurate, it might just be that it's not calibrated correctly. And you might just want to stick with beads, the factory pucks and gels that are made for humidifying cigars, it's a bit dodgy to use stuff that isn't made for humidifying cigars as a humidifier.
  • KriegKrieg Posts: 5,092 ✭✭✭
    Might want to go ahead and invest in a digital hydrometer, u can pick one up usually for about $15. You will love the beads, you will probably through that other puck u had away.
  • BigginBiggin Posts: 52
    I wiped down my humidor with distilled water again last night, and I left a bowl of distilled water in it overnight.  When I looked at it today, the hydrometer read 67.  How can the humidity only be 67 if there is a bowl of water in the thing?  Is there a way to calibrate my hydrometer?  Any other thoughts that don't involve me spending money?
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    just because there is water in the thing doesnt mean the humidity will skyrocket.

    the wider the dish is the more water will be able to evaporate.

    there is a way to calibrate your hygrometer. search this forum for "salt test" and you should get results you are looking for.

    thoughts that dont require you spending money?
    yeah... send me your humidor and cigars. ill cover shipping. that way you wont have to spend a cent on fixing your humidor, or on buying cigars to fill it up.

    seriously though, if you are going to have a humidor it will take a few bucks to keep it running anywhere near worry free. the $20 or so you spend on beads is well worth it.
  • BigginBiggin Posts: 52
    I realize that I'm cheap.  I'm Scottish so at least I come by it honestly.

    Here's the current status.  My hydrometer is currently at 64 with a bowl of distilled water sitting in it.  I looked at t the salt water test thread, and it got me thinking.  I called my local shop and they said they carried beads and some solution that you can use with them for cheap.

    Assuming...  A. The beads release and absorb moisture.  (and) B. My humidor does seal correctly.  Does it really matter if the hydrometer is right or wrong?  If I get the beads and put them in my humi (following the instructions to keep them maintained), the beads should self-regulate the appropriate humidity, right?  If so, then I can just get a digital hydrometer at a later date.
  • Garen BGaren B Posts: 977
    Yes, it does matter if your hygrometer is calibrated correctly, even though your beads may be maintaining the correct humidity, some extra will sneak in from the surrounding atmosphere. Or the air will suck out some moisture (this happens to me, I live in a relatively dry area.).
  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    To parrot what Garen B said, you do need a hygromter, since the humidity can vary even with beads - you need to know if something's off.

    Also, the beads use distilled water - NOT a solution
  • smokestersmokester Posts: 131
    Beads are the easiest they last forever so they are a good solid investment. You just spritz them with a little distilled water and they are good to go for a while. A hygrometer is a must to be able to tell if your cigars are at the right rh. The foam pucks are pretty much worthless i usually just take the foam out and throw some beads in its place and use that in my travel humidor. The beads are the way to go and definitely salt test your hygrometer so that is it reading properly. Also to check your seal you can do the dollar bill test or put a flash light in it and close it and turn out the lights i personally prefer the dollar test. For that just put a dollar half in half out and close than try to pull it should have good resistance on it and barely be able to be pulled out. Perform that around all areas of your humidor. If you do get the beads don't over water them a little goes a long way. Thats about it hope this helps.
  • BigginBiggin Posts: 52
    Well, I'm definitely buying beads tonight.  That money could have gone to smokes.  Oh, well.  When I get home from the store I will do the tests on my humidor.  The hydrometer test will happen soon, too.  Any idea what common retail outlets might have a hydrometer for sale?

  • xmacroxmacro Posts: 3,402
    check amazon - cheapest one I ever found sold for $15 from cheaphumidors. Whichever you choose, make SURE it's adjustable (the Caliber III, a new one out, isn't adjustable).
  • gmill880gmill880 Posts: 5,947
    Biggin:
    Well, I'm definitely buying beads tonight.  That money could have gone to smokes.  Oh, well.  When I get home from the store I will do the tests on my humidor.  The hydrometer test will happen soon, too.  Any idea what common retail outlets might have a hydrometer for sale?


    Wal Mart sells a unit for about 7 bucks thats pretty reliable and does a good job. Be sure to ask for a hyGrometer and not a hyDrometer ...two totally diff things ...I've bought several of the wal mart digital hygro's and they seem to work just as well as the more expensive ones you can get at your cigar shops...remember every dollar you save is another dollar to spend on cigars ;)
  • BigginBiggin Posts: 52
    Hygrometer...check.

    The product that my cigar shop had was actually the Xikar crystals in a cannister, so that's what I ended up getting not the beads.  I also bought the solution that goes with the crystals.  After leaving the new method in my humidor overnight with my cigars, the humidity only reads 62 on my gauge.  I have to assume at this point that my gauge is probably wrong.  The directions on the crystal cannister say that the crystals will maintain 70.  Something is still definitely wrong.

    Will it take more than 12 hours for the humidity to stabilize?  I have heard all kinds of different opinions about what humidity is appropriate.  The numbers I have heard range from 65-75.  Will my cigars be ok if the humidity is actually only 62 and my gauge is right?
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