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nagano21 10-29-2013 07:48 AM

Humidor during the winter
 
With winter approaching that always means its time to fire up the furnace. Having forced hot air, the humidy in my house drops drastically which sucks it up of my humidor. Any tips on what I can do t keep my humidor humid during the winter months when the heat is on. I keep it away from heat vents, and already check it frequently. I use to go as far as to keep it wrapped in a large plastic bag but that's unsightly. I even go as far as to weekly run a moist sponge along all the wood surfaces as to re season it again. Looking for a low maintence tip

Thanks

tonygraz 11-13-2013 03:49 AM

Use a room humidifier or a whole house humidifier on the heating system.

sy7vester 01-10-2014 04:57 AM

Heartfelt Beads!!!!!! Best thing since sliced bread.

CamoSutra 02-01-2015 08:41 PM

Hello! is anyone still here?

Furnace-heated air is usually very dry, and when the RH difference is great (as often happens in winter) just about any wooden humidor will give up moisture right through the pores in the wood. Unless you want to apply a couple coats of polyurethane to your humidor -- or switch to a coolerdor or ammodor -- there's not much you can do about that.

But I have a couple of suggestions.

First, bear in mind that wood shrinks a bit as it dries out, and that includes the lip of your humidor; even if it seals beautifully most of the year, it could develop a "seasonal" leak during winter. An easy fix is to cover the lip all the way around with a single layer of blue painter's tape -- better looking than ordinary masking tape, and the adhesive isn't so aggressive that it pulls splinters if/when you remove the tape. Use an X-Acto knife or razor blade to carefully cut the tape at the corners, so it makes a seamless a seal as possible.

You can always transfer your cigars to ziplock bags and then store the bags in your humidor; that will keep the cigars from drying it, but doesn't help keep the humidor itself properly humidified. While your technique of using a moist (but not too moist!) sponge probably won't do any damage, be careful not to apply so much water that you ever see any water standing on the surface; this will cause the wood to swell, possibly making any leaks worse or introducing new ones at the joints in the wood.

(If you decide to move the cigars into another container, I suggest leaving a wet sponge resting in a saucer or other container in the humidor to keep it from getting too dry over the winter months. Obviously, you can't do this while the cigars are in there.)

I'll echo sy7vester's recommendation to use Heartfelt beads (www.heartfeltindustries.com). While the air in my home probably isn't as dry as it is in yours (the hygrometer at my desk is showing 35%), I was having a problem maintaining high-enough humidity year-round using the usual green-foam and gel-jar humidifiers. I switched recently to Heartfelt 65% beads, and my desktop humidors now stay at 65% (my RH preference), give or take a point ... which could be hygrometer error, even with a calibrated digital hygro. And my humidors recover quickly after I open them to add or remove sticks. I'm not connected with Heartfelt, and I'm still a new customer, but I gotta tell you they work well.

FWIW, I bought a half-pound of bulk beads, washed out my gel-jars and put the beads into the jars, then returned the jars to my humidors. Think of it as recycling, or just being cheap. :)

You could also use Boveda packs (the recommendation is one for each 50 sticks capacity, plus one additional for the humidor itself), and they work well too; but even though they can be recharged, eventually they have to be replaced. I expect the beads to outlive me.

CamoSutra 02-07-2015 12:59 PM

I just read Jonathan DeTore's article on Cigar Advisor about the problems that come with winter cigar storage. One of his recommendations is to recharge the humidor -- essentially reseasoning with a higher-RH Boveda pack to replace all the moisture that dry air sucks out of the lining. He mentioned using a couple of 84-percent packs, which might be necessary for a large humidor. I gather the idea is to add them one at a time (so the RH rises gradually) and leave them in until RH returns to the RH range you prefer, then remove until it drops again. Apparently he did this with the cigars still in the humidor. I'm not sure I'd take that risk using 84-percent Bovedas in a working humidor; either I'd move the cigars elsewhere temporarily, or use lower-RH Bovedas or beads in order to avoid shocking the sticks with a too-rapid rise in RH.

But the basic idea -- adding humidification -- is sound, and right now I'm using extra 65-percent Bovedas along with the 65-percent beads in my three desktops since my home's ambient RH has dropped into the twenties and RH within the humidors is now fallling below 60 percent. I suppose I could try 69-, 72, or 75-percent Bovedas instead. Maybe I'll even buy another order of Heartfelt beads ... although a half-pound divided among the three desktops should ordinarily be more than adequate.

Or I might just cook more and go out to eat less often. Any sort of cooking that releases moisture into the air should raise the ambient indoor RH significantly, and save money on food that can go into more cigars. :)


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