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New humidor and hygrometers

JRigsJRigs Posts: 24
Hey all,

New to cigars. Bought a cheap 50 count humidor on Amazon. I looked all over the internet and learned basically how to season a humidor and how to calibrate hygrometers. I didn't wipe down the cedar lining, not trusting myself to do so. I filled the humidifier and put a wet sponge on a plastic bag inside the humidor. I calibrated the hygrometer using the salt test and put it in/on the box. When I had calibrated it is was 5% low so I set it to 75% immediately after taking it out of the bag. So, after one night with the sponge and hygrometer in place, it read nearly 80%. I took the sponge out and it maintained about 70% for a day. I found this really odd as it generally takes days to season a humidor.

I had also ordered a digital hygrometer, hearing that they are more accurate. I had read reviews that this one came calibrated (in most cases) right out of the box, and that it was a good hygrometer for the price. I put it in the box as well, and it read about 62%. So there were two different readings.

This morning I decided to put them both in a bag with the moistened salt. It has been about 5 hours and already the analog that came with the box is holding at 75% and the digital is at 70%. I'm going to wait a few more hours, but at this point I'm confused as to whether or not the salt test is totally accurate. The instructions for the digital hygrometer says they are not. I ordered a boveda calibration kit but it won't come for a few days. I also hope they are not needed. I'm hoping to get this more or less resolved, my cigars come in a couple of days. I at least want to be able to season my humidor.

Am I overthinking this? Any suggestions?
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Comments

  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    First off, welcome JRigs. Glad you found this site .... stick around for a while, great group of BOTLs here .... lots of good discussion, wealth of info, and great camaraderie here. I am going to bump a couple of the "Newbie" threads in the "General Discussion" section for you, give those a look and introduce yourself over there.


    Now to your original questions.....

    ----"Bought a cheap 50 count humidor on Amazon."
    Have you checked the seal on it? Do a search on Google for "the dollar bill test" and give that a shot. Sometimes the "cheaper" humidors will have not-so-great seals and leak humidity. I have a small humi like this and find myself refilling the humidifiers more often than my other humidors that have good seals.
    Second suggestion: a full humi is a happy humi. Your cigars will be the main regulator of humidity in the humidor. And it's hard to maintain humidity in an empty humidor.

    ----"I had also ordered a digital hygrometer, hearing that they are more accurate......I put it in the box as well, and it read about 62%. So there were two different readings."
    Digital is more accurate & reliable than analogue in my experience.
    It's common to get different readings from different hygrometers. Good on you for trying to calibrate it......but.......

    ----"This morning I decided to put them both in a bag with the moistened salt. It has been about 5 hours and already the analog that came with the box is holding at 75% and the digital is at 70%. I'm going to wait a few more hours, but at this point I'm confused as to whether or not the salt test is totally accurate."
    I think part of your issue is you're not waiting long enough. Leave the hygrometers in the bag with the salt test for 48 hours then check them and adjust accordingly --- they should be at 75% with the salt test. Just make sure the bag is not in direct sunlight and is not directly in front of any open windows or air ducts ... those will evaporate the moisture quickly and throw off your test.
    I've always had good luck with the salt test on digital and analogues.

    ----"I ordered a boveda calibration kit but it won't come for a few days. I also hope they are not needed."
    If you want to retest your hygrometers with the Boveda packs when they arrive, go for it --- but after 48 hours with the salt test you should be good to go.

    ----"I'm hoping to get this more or less resolved, my cigars come in a couple of days. I at least want to be able to season my humidor."
    You will be fine, just take out the sponge when the cigars show up and put in the cigars with your humidification device (recommend beads, gel, or boveda packs --- ditch the black case humidifier with green foam that probably came with your humi. Those things are magnets for mold and cause more harm than good.)

    ---"Am I overthinking this?"
    LOL, probably. Just a little bit.
    But we've all been in your position when we were first getting into cigars. Don't fret too much. All will be ok :-)

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 5,343 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do not season with cigars in it. This will over humidify the cigars. It should take a few days min to properly season and some times over a week. At least 24 hours with whatever you have in there. All of mine I waited at least 48 then put in my humidifiers and hydrometer, then another 24 hours. Check to see where your at and go from there. This is a slow processes and should be done as such. Do not rush seasoning this is very important.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
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  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,673 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Patrickbrick:
    Do not season with cigars in it. This will over humidify the cigars. It should take a few days min to properly season and some times over a week. At least 24 hours with whatever you have in there. All of mine I waited at least 48 then put in my humidifiers and hydrometer, then another 24 hours. Check to see where your at and go from there. This is a slow processes and should be done as such. Do not rush seasoning this is very important.
    Yes, and if your cigars come in before you are finished seasoning, it would be better to keep them in a ziplock bag than to put them in before your humidor is ready.

    But it sounds like you are having fun so far, right? Welcome to the ccom forum :)
  • JRigsJRigs Posts: 24
    Sounds like good advice. Most says 8-12 hours but I can try 48 to be sure. But... would 24 be enough?

    The seal on my humidor is not great. I tried the dollar test and the dollar comes out fairly easily (some resistance, but it certainly doesn't come close to tearing). There is a "whoosh" when the lid is closed slowly, and you can feel the air being forced out, but if you just drop the lid from a couple of inches it slams right in. But I can't afford another humidor, so I'll just have to deal with a leaky one for now.

    I did buy a four pack of boveda packs.

    When the hygrometers are calibrated I'll restart the seasoning process and leave the sponge in for a least a couple of days, checking it on day two. I don't want to mess up the seasoning process and end up with my first batch of cigars being dry.
  • JRigsJRigs Posts: 24
    I just hope I get it right. I'll try to be patient.

    And I'll be sure to be (relatively) sure my humidor is seasoned before I put the cigars in.
  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 5,343 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's just it be patient, don't open the lid until its time to check. Like I said this takes time to be done right, slow and steady wins this race. The last humi I seasoned was in the dead of a Chicago winter. It took well over a week to get where I wanted it, but wonce there it's been solid ever since.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
    MOW badge received.
  • ShadowInTheMoonShadowInTheMoon The 8th CirclePosts: 507
    JRigs:
    But I can't afford another humidor, so I'll just have to deal with a leaky one for now.
    There are some fairly cheep good ones out there (Sprint sale and such). If anything go buy a cooler and use that. I got a 48qt for around $50
    Two people with a common goal can accomplish many things. Two people with a common enemy can accomplish even more.
  • JRigsJRigs Posts: 24
    jgibv:
    First off, welcome JRigs. Glad you found this site .... stick around for a while, great group of BOTLs here .... lots of good discussion, wealth of info, and great camaraderie here. I am going to bump a couple of the "Newbie" threads in the "General Discussion" section for you, give those a look and introduce yourself over there.




    Now to your original questions.....



    ----"Bought a cheap 50 count humidor on Amazon."

    Have you checked the seal on it? Do a search on Google for "the dollar bill test" and give that a shot. Sometimes the "cheaper" humidors will have not-so-great seals and leak humidity. I have a small humi like this and find myself refilling the humidifiers more often than my other humidors that have good seals.

    Second suggestion: a full humi is a happy humi. Your cigars will be the main regulator of humidity in the humidor. And it's hard to maintain humidity in an empty humidor.




    ----"I had also ordered a digital hygrometer, hearing that they are more accurate......I put it in the box as well, and it read about 62%. So there were two different readings."

    Digital is more accurate & reliable than analogue in my experience.

    It's common to get different readings from different hygrometers. Good on you for trying to calibrate it......but.......




    ----"This morning I decided to put them both in a bag with the moistened salt. It has been about 5 hours and already the analog that came with the box is holding at 75% and the digital is at 70%. I'm going to wait a few more hours, but at this point I'm confused as to whether or not the salt test is totally accurate."

    I think part of your issue is you're not waiting long enough. Leave the hygrometers in the bag with the salt test for 48 hours then check them and adjust accordingly --- they should be at 75% with the salt test. Just make sure the bag is not in direct sunlight and is not directly in front of any open windows or air ducts ... those will evaporate the moisture quickly and throw off your test.

    I've always had good luck with the salt test on digital and analogues.




    ----"I ordered a boveda calibration kit but it won't come for a few days. I also hope they are not needed."

    If you want to retest your hygrometers with the Boveda packs when they arrive, go for it --- but after 48 hours with the salt test you should be good to go.



    ----"I'm hoping to get this more or less resolved, my cigars come in a couple of days. I at least want to be able to season my humidor."

    You will be fine, just take out the sponge when the cigars show up and put in the cigars with your humidification device (recommend beads, gel, or boveda packs --- ditch the black case humidifier with green foam that probably came with your humi. Those things are magnets for mold and cause more harm than good.)



    ---"Am I overthinking this?"

    LOL, probably. Just a little bit.

    But we've all been in your position when we were first getting into cigars. Don't fret too much. All will be ok :-)



    So I left the sponge and humidifier in for a few days, and the reading on my calibrated analog hygrometer was consistently above 80%. I calibrated the digital and it is within 1% (thing jumped around some even after 24 hours in a boveda test). I put in the digital and took out the sponge and the humidor stayed at 70% for a day. I took out the humidifier and put in 2 Boveda 69% packs. My humidor read 68%, then 65% last night, and this morning reads about 64-65% on the digital hygrometer, 63-64% on the analog and I worry about it dropping more. I have five cigars in there and by the end of this week there will be 8 more (12, total, as I plan to smoke one tonight).

    The only change I could think to make was to take out the divider in the humidor, as I had one boveda pack on an empty side.

    Any suggestions?
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    1) Removing the divider won't make a difference.
    2) Add more cigars & get your humi close to "full". (Seriously, this will be the best way to keep it stable)
    3) Give it another day or two to stabilize. 65% RH is fine for your cigars. The cigars may have been a little dry due to a number of reasons and are recovering now, sucking up some extra moisture. No need to worry
    4) Disregard your analogue hygrometer reading and only worry about the number on the digital.

    5) If the RH starts dropping down to the mid-50s then add more humidification (more boveda packs, gel jars, etc.)
    6) If you want your RH to be in the upper 60%, add more boveda packs (maybe throw in a 72% pack)

    7) Do you live in a dry climate? If so, you may have to add extra humidification due to the climate. Or you may never be able to reach 69% RH or more with a wood humidor. I notice that in the drier months my humis run a couple RH % lower than they do the rest of the year. I have to recharge my humidifiers more often and usually toss in a couple extra boveda/humi-paks in the humis to get through those drier months. Never had a problem though.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,673 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would suggest you take out the 12 cigars and put them in a ziplock bag along with one of your 69% Bovedas. They will be much better off in that bag than inside a humidor that is fluctuating RH. In my opinion you need to keep the sponge in the humi much longer. Maybe a week. I don't think that "a few days" at 80% is long enough. And what about the seal? Unless I missed it, I didn't read anywhere that you have solved the seal problem. You said you suspected it wasn't that good. You may be losing humidity because of a bad seal. Sometimes blue painters tape can be applied in one layer around the seal to close the gap. This humidor is too much work for a new guy. It's HARD to stabilize a crappy 50 count. Better off using a tupperware or rubbermaid container and Bovedas. If you like the spanish cedar smell,......smash that humi and put the broken pieces inside the Rubbermaid container. LOL
  • JRigsJRigs Posts: 24
    I live in Boston, so this time of year the weather is all over the place. 40's today, likely 60's tomorrow. We don't get a lot of humidity until it is closer to summer.

    The five cigars I have in there took a week to get to me so I imagine they are dry. More cigars on the way, and I plan to go to this shop I discovered nearby, an old fashioned cigar parlor.

    The digital now says 64%, and I plan to put the cigars in a tupperware with the Boveda and put the sponge back in if it drops to 60. Maybe I didn't season it long enough?

    So I'll be watching this closely.
  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 5,343 ✭✭✭✭✭
    64% is fine add more sticks and relax. Just remember the more you open the lid the worse it is. Sounds to me as though you have a fine seal.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
    MOW badge received.
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Patrickbrick:
    64% is fine add more sticks and relax. Just remember the more you open the lid the worse it is. Sounds to me as though you have a fine seal.
    +1

    You are on the right track, JRigs. Just need a little patience and some more time for everything to stabilize.

    Give it until, let's say Saturday or Sunday, and see where the RH is at then.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • JRigsJRigs Posts: 24
    jgibv:
    Patrickbrick:
    64% is fine add more sticks and relax. Just remember the more you open the lid the worse it is. Sounds to me as though you have a fine seal.
    +1

    You are on the right track, JRigs. Just need a little patience and some more time for everything to stabilize.

    Give it until, let's say Saturday or Sunday, and see where the RH is at then.
    Trying to be patient. Had to open the humidor twice to add cigars, and each time the RH dropped 1% and didn't recover. All 17 of the cigars in there now were shipped to me, so I don't know if they were all a bit dry so that is keeping the RH down, or if I'm presently drying out thus temporarily ruining some really nice cigars, and I should put them in a tupperware and restart the seasoning process. Since last night at 11 the RH has been 62%. I really appreciate everyone's help with this. It all looked so easy on the tutorials I looked at online!
  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    Just got me a Quality Importer Humidor three draw holder. where should Put the humidifier at on this? AND HOW DO i TEST IT TO SEE IF IT WORKS MY MOM FOUND IT FOR me paid 30 $
  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    it is a 150 ct front slide out draws three of them
  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    ok this 150 ct Humidor has three draws and seem to not have a good seal. I wiped it down with Distilled water with anew sponge layer it on a lip lock bag and waited 24 hr. the next day the Meter moved from 0 to approx. 10% then dropped back down. I placed the humidifier into it the second day and it would not move at all third day still no stick inside it and no movement from the meter. I am not familiar with this type of humidor three draws can anyone give a some advice? My mother picked it up for me priced at 106$ she got it for 40$.
  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 5,343 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You have to calibrate the hygrometer. Then again be patient, these take time. Leave the sponge/paper towel in there un checked for a min of 48 hours. Then check, if the sponge is dry repeat. You are rushing a slow process.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
    MOW badge received.
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Patrickbrick:
    You have to calibrate the hygrometer. Then again be patient, these take time. Leave the sponge/paper towel in there un checked for a min of 48 hours. Then check, if the sponge is dry repeat. You are rushing a slow process.
    +1

    To calibrate the hygrometer follow steps on the 1st page of this thread....or do a Google search for "hygrometer salt test". Is you hygrometer digital or analogue?
    Anyways, try the salt test (or if you want to be super sure get yourself a Boveda hygrometer calibration kit), let it sit undisturbed out of direct sunlight and away from drafts (aka not right next to a window or air duct) then in 2-3 days and let us know what the hygrometer says.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    thank you so much. I have a problem I am not able to get the hygrometer out of it. and their is a hole on the in side where the meter go's I think it is there to adjust from the inside do I force it our the top draw is in the way. And how many humidifiers should I have for this ? one for each draw? I pulled the sponge out after one two days it was still damp, also what about the play in the draws should it feel more tight like it is sealed or not important? it is empty right now no sponge in it really do appreciate your time too thank you
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Retircs1:
    thank you so much.
    welcome. if you can take a couple pictures of the humi/hygrometer that would be helpful.

    In the meantime I'm going to assume it looks something like this humi:
    image

    And the back of the hygrometer probably has a small hole in the center, with maybe a slot in the center? .... If so, you can put a flat head screw driver in the hole on the back, and when you turn it it should adjust the display hand on the front of the hygrometer

    There should be a way to "pop" it out too, so you can get it calibrated. You will probably have to apply a little pressure and push it from the back....but it should come out.
    Retircs1:
    And how many humidifiers should I have for this ? one for each draw? I pulled the sponge out after one two days it was still damp, also what about the play in the draws should it feel more tight like it is sealed or not important?
    Did it come with a black humidifier with foam inside, similar to this?
    (It might be a circle, or slightly different size)
    image
    If so, throw it away. Seriously. It will only cause problems down the road. These types of humidifiers are not very good at regulating humidity and are magnets for mold. They come included with most humidors because they are cheap.

    You would be better off with bead, gel jars, or boveda packs.
    Amount of humidification devices will depend on which type of humidification you go with But usually you can find a recommendation on how many you need in the product description (if ordering online) or on the packaging (if purchasing at a store).
    Retircs1:
    it is empty right now no sponge in it
    Ok, before you can determine if the humi is seasoned properly (or if the seal's bad, etc etc etc) you'll have to get a calibrated, working hygrometer.

    Try to get the analogue one calibrated....
    If not, order a digital one like this http://www.cigar.com/cigars/viewcigar.asp?prod=M-HYG10.

    Once you have a properly calibrated hygrometer you can set it in the humi and keep an eye on the seasoning process.




    Oh, and one last question --- do you have any cigars in the humidor at the moment? Or is it empty?

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    I am going to answer each of your responses to me 1. yes this is it the one I have humidor Bingo you got it 2. yes that is the type humidifier with a magnet on the back of it 3 I will get a bead one today 4 yes it is empty no stick in it 5 yes I will get out the Humidifier meter and calibrate it asap. then start my process of seasoning what are your opinion this type of humidor/ with draws ?
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Retircs1:
    I am going to answer each of your responses to me 1. yes this is it the one I have humidor Bingo you got it 2. yes that is the type humidifier with a magnet on the back of it 3 I will get a bead one today 4 yes it is empty no stick in it 5 yes I will get out the Humidifier meter and calibrate it asap. then start my process of seasoning what are your opinion this type of humidor/ with draws ?
    Excellent, sounds like you are on the right track then.


    As far as #5, I can't say because I don't have one.
    I like the look of that model though.
    I know some of the BOTLs here have a similar model and I think most of them like it.




    And the only 1 other suggestion I have --- (and it's probably obvious) --- but leave the humi empty until you get the hygrometer calibrated and reinstalled, and you get the humi seasoned.
    Those are things you can't rush...might take a week total.. Say 2-3 days to get the hygrometer calibrated. Then reinstall it in the humidor and another 3-4 days to season the humidor and get everything "leveled" out.

    If you get any cigars in the meantime, you can store them in a tupperware container or ziploc bag with one of the small humi-paks (the kind that usually included with your order)...that will keep the cigars humidified and nice & safe for the short term until you can put them in the humidor.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    ok not a problem I will be patience AND I have a nice 10 holding travel humi that will hold what I have right now until I am able to load this one:) thank you so much
  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    ok I got the hygrometer out doing the salt test. gage moved only to 10% so I tried to adjust the meter but it keeps flipping back to 0. I think it is no good that being said should I just put it back and get a electronic one?
  • PatrickbrickPatrickbrick Lake Zurich IlPosts: 5,343 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm sure it's fine, you have to let it sit for a day= 24 hours. Try that, stop rushing this. As posted above this will take about a week if done right.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give".  Winston Churchill.
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  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    ok I did the salt test my Q? is when you move the gage hand to 75 is it suppose to bring back to 0 ? that is all I am asking :) and do I keep doing the salt test until it move to 75% ?
  • jgibvjgibv John G.Posts: 9,263 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Retircs1:
    ok I did the salt test my Q? is when you move the gage hand to 75 is it suppose to bring back to 0 ? that is all I am asking :) and do I keep doing the salt test until it move to 75% ?
    Do the salt test for 48 hours or so, don't open the bag, don't try to adjust it at all during this time.
    Just met it sit.

    After 48 hrs you **should** notice the dial has moved since you started. It May not be up to 75 when you're done but it shouldn't be at the same place as before you started the test,

    After that 48 hours, then you can adjust the hygro so the dial reads 75. I'd then "recharge" the salt, put the hygro back in for another 24 hrs and see if it stays steady around 75.

    * I have a new address as of 3/24/18 *

  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    ok salt test going lip lock bag meter on below 0. going to leave it for the rest of the weekend just look at it to see where it is . when you turn it from the back side to calibrate the hand will move to 75 and as soon as I let it go it will spring back to 0 that is ok right? then it should move closer to 75 each time correct as the test continues?
  • Retircs1Retircs1 California Posts: 453
    ok I am continuing the salt test the reading was 10 % then it went back down and then back up to 10% hve not adjusted it
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