The Best Way to Humidify?

thunderbucks

Guerilla
Short and sweet, I've had humidifying problems ever since I got my humi a year and a half ago. I've got the humidor pictured below (once again, thanks Greg!), appx. 120-150 count.

I started with the Heartfelt beads, but just couldn't keep that running. I dealt with some mold issues, general lack of humidity, etc (mid-50s%). Then I picked up a Savoy black rectangle humidifier, you know, one of the $13 ones. That seemed to be doing OK - better than the beads (high-50s%/low-60s%) - but I still needed help. At this point I got one of the 2 oz. jars of Madeline-turned-Xikar prypolene glycol gel, which actually seemed to work well (low-mid 60s%).

As a point of reference, at the time of the heartfelt beads, my stash was around 55-65, but at the time of the 2 oz. jar, it was closer to 20-25. Around the time of the Savoy defice, I threw in a Boveda packet found in one of the Fuente boxes, in addition to a rotating group of two to three of the $.99 water pillows.

AT ANY RATE...I realize that for the next couple years, I will never be over the 40-50% mark in terms of cigar count in my humi. I'm happy with the Xikar solution (I'm thinking of buying a second), and I've been thinking about getting 3-4 Boveda packets to toss in there.

I'd just like some advice from what you guys have experienced and recommend.
 

Totemic

Young Ape
I started with the Heartfelt beads, but just couldn't keep that running. I dealt with some mold issues, general lack of humidity, etc (mid-50s%).
The latter two statements almost makes me wonder if your hygro is reporting too low. If it is and you crank the humidity up high enough for the hygro to report the "expected" RH, it may be far too humid and result in mold.

In fact, I would first check to see if the hygro is calibrated and if it is and you're still getting abnormally low RH, I would suspect a leak in your humidor. Heartfelt beads for me have been absolutely rock solid.
 

DonnieW

Rookie S.O.B.
Looking at the quality of that humi (pretty nice humi), I'd definitely say you have a bad hygro. Go get a digital, or try the silly salt test.
 

bobarian

Elder Jungle Leader
You say when you used beads the Rh was low, but you had mold problems. This is not possible. Mold grows at above 75% RH. Your problem is either a leak in the humi or a bad hygrometer. I would suggest you get a digital hygrometer and calibrate it using the salt method. While you are waiting for your hygrometer to arrive check the seal on your humi. Open the top and drop the lid from about 2-3". It should close with a "whoosh" and not a "bang". If it drops with a bang you have a leak. The glass edges being the most suspect areas in your type of humi.

You also might try moving your humi, it if is near a window or vent that can cause swings in humidity.:2
 

mcmoyer

Young Ape
I'm new at all of this. Just picked up a cooler to use this weekend, I already had ordered the Heartfelt beads (65%). It is keeping the humidity at 65% on the nose.

:2
 

chippewastud79

Wow, Bengals Suck!
Beads are by far the most effective way of maintaining a proper environment. I would say you have a number of problems, given all your statements.

Your humidor sounds like it has a terrible seal if you need so many humidifying options. There is no reason in something that small that a singular humidifying device would not be sufficient.

You likely have a bad hygrometer. The fact that you said the beads were only maintaining a 50-55% humidity but you had mold would suggest that the hygrometer is severely off. There is no way you can have a humidity in the 50's and be growing mold without something being wrong.

And, for what its worth, the number of cigars in the humidor should not affect the humidity, unless they are put in there overly wet/dry and it should even out fairly quickly.
 

Rev2010

Maturing Primate
Are you only judging by an alaog hygrometer? If so, you really need to get a digital one. The analog one I got with my humi is always wrong. Usually it just stays stuck but sometimes changes. I got tired of trying to guess what the true humidity was so I picked up a Western Caliber III and man, what a $16 piece of comfort! Definitely worth the price and seems extremely accurate. I agree with the aforementioned statement that you wouldn't have gotten mold if the humidity was truly that low.


Rev.
 

doubledown

Young Ape
At the risk of sounding like a broken record...I'll also echo the Heartfelt beads opinion. They're solid in keeping the humidity where it needs to be. You can check out their options and see what amount of beads you'd need for a humidor of your size.

There's also digital hygrometers you can pick up on the cheap (I think they were $7 or $8?) at Wal-mart. I bought two, calibrated mine using the salt test, and one came up right on at 75, and the other was +1 at 76.
 

bigloo

Bushveld Baboon
I keep extra beads around already loaded. In a pinch, I have thrown sticks into a tupperware with the beads and cigars with a calibrated hygro and within 30 minutes am spot at 68-70 (I used higher humidity beads by preference). With all the humifiers you chucked in there, I would almost bet your hygro is bad. I have 3 150ct humis (same model). Some seal better then others (more woosh, more "pull" on the dollar bill trick), but all hold in that 68-70 RH range. So again, check your hygrometer like the others are saying.
 

Waynegro1

Maturing Primate
You say when you used beads the Rh was low, but you had mold problems. This is not possible. Mold grows at above 75% RH. Your problem is either a leak in the humi or a bad hygrometer. I would suggest you get a digital hygrometer and calibrate it using the salt method. While you are waiting for your hygrometer to arrive check the seal on your humi. Open the top and drop the lid from about 2-3". It should close with a "whoosh" and not a "bang". If it drops with a bang you have a leak. The glass edges being the most suspect areas in your type of humi.

You also might try moving your humi, it if is near a window or vent that can cause swings in humidity.:2
:tpd:
 

thunderbucks

Guerilla
!!

Wow, I appreciate the reponse guys. A few things I should clear up though...

~My humi doesn't have the glass panels that that does, just solid wood
~I do have a digital hygrometer, although I may need a new calibration, or most likely, new hygrometer
~The mold I mentioned was on the beads themselves, not the cigar

Given all the response to think over, there's got to be a leak in the seal. Short of my hygrometer possibly giving me bad readings, I notice it in the cigars. Once they've sat in there for several weeks/months, they just feel dryer...NEVER as fresh as something I just picked up at a B&M. Sometimes the labels start to get loose...other times the wrapper cracks/peels too easily, or sometimes it just feels dry and has a hotter-than-normal burn.

At this point, I do plan to try a few tests for the seal, re-season it, and see from there.

This weekend I pulled in a haul from CBid, which included a 20-ct. desktop (with the Gurkha Legend on the cover, no less!) that I'm anxious to set up and see if I have any better results. Once again, thanks for the advice!
 

seegarfan

ChestBeater
I have to agree with the bad hygrometer camp. Having a good hygrometer that you can depend on the reading is a necessity. I also use the 65% beads from Heartfelt and they hold somewhere between 63-67% in 8 different coolerdors/tupperdors.

I used the amount of beads recommended on their web site, with just a small adjustment to amount I needed in each one. So I would have to say that their calculations are pretty close and a good place to start.

I also use the digital hygrometers from them that can be recalibrated and I check the calibration on each one every 90 days using the calibration bags that they sell. Most hold right around 64% which is perfect for me. I think it is normal to have a little swing, but like I said even that is within 63-67%. What I found with the beads is at first I was wetting them down too much and they were not able absorb the excess humidity as they are designed to do. Once I started following the instruction on how much to rewet them they have worked perfectly.

Remember you can ony be as precise as your instrumentation. I'm sure there are a lot more precise hygrometers for a lot more money that require less calibaration, but since I have 9 to keep track of ( I also use one of Heartfelt's digital hygrometer in my Aristocrat Plus cabinet) the cost for "professional" hygrometers would be prohibitive for me.

Hope this helps, I probably have not added anything that has not already been said. But I stand by this method as the best I have found to keep my sticks right were I want them, and I have peace of mind that my collection is being kept in perfect smoking condition.....I can pull a stick out of any of my coolerdors/tupperdors and they all smoke the same, humidity wise.

Mark
 

madurolover

Icehog '08 YES WE CAN!!!
I started out using an analog and the PG solution. I then went digital with the beads from Heartfelt. Two years later the beads work so well that I do not even use the hygrometers any more. The batteries died about 8 months ago but I am so secure in using the beads that I never even thought to replace the batteries. :2
 

Totemic

Young Ape
Re: !!

This weekend I pulled in a haul from CBid, which included a 20-ct. desktop (with the Gurkha Legend on the cover, no less!) that I'm anxious to set up and see if I have any better results. Once again, thanks for the advice!
I haven't had a lot of luck with decent seals on small humidors like a 20 ct desktop. Of the two I have, both are leaking humidity like a sieve.

Each had about 2 to 4 ozs of 65% Heartfelts and the hygrometer is never higher than 62% (one is never above 55% which is roughly the ambient room RH).

It's very possible that the two I have are just el cheapo POS. I've been using them as a glorified cigar boxes *inside* my cabinet humidor.

Personally, I would just recommend using an air tight plastic container (aka., tupperdor) for now. Combined with the Heartfelt beads, you should have absolutely no concerns with humidity.
 
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