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Old 11-15-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
OlivaCorey
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Default Humidor talk

You all asked for it so here I go. Sorry about the length but I wanted it to be a comprehensive post.

OVERVIEW
First of all I will say that I am crazy about my cigars. I have been collecting cigars for quite a few years now and it is my belief that if you are going to invest all of the time and money that we do into our hobby it is worth preserving your investment. I will warn you, what I have done has cost some money, but you can cut some corners and still be ok…I just didn’t want to take a chance. Below you will find a detailed description about how I keep my cigars and why I do it how I do. After years of reading cigar boards, searching through online articles, talking to experts, and A LOT of experimentation I believe I have come up with a very accurate way to protect my investment.

For starters, most people have heard of the 70/70 rule. This rule states that cigars are perfectly kept at 70% humidity and 70 degrees F. While this is not incorrect, it is not my preference. I keep my cigars at 65/65. I do this for a variety of reasons.

-First the temperature
If your cigars get above 70 degrees F you will run the risk of beetles hatching in your cigars (use the search function to see my post about freezing cigars). To be on the safe side, run my humidors at 65 degrees to account for fluctuation in room temperature, sunlight, etc.

- Now for humidity
While cigars may age perfectly at 70% relative humidity (RH from here on) it is my experience that they do not smoke as well at that level. Also if you get a humidity spike you will run the risk of mold growing on your precious smokes. That being said, all of my humidors are kept at 65% RH so I do not run the risk for mold and so that I can pull any stick out of my humidor at any given time and smoke it without needing to dry box it for the night (dry boxing is the process of taking a cigar out of 70% RH and placing it into a dry cigar box or unseasoned humidor for a period of time to allow the stick to dry out just enough to reveal the true potential locked in the cigar/eliminate the risk of the cigar being over humidified and it smoking hot).

I will break the rest of this post into three sections. One for towers, one for coolidors, and one for desktops.

SUPPLIES
High proof booze- Something tasteless like Everclear. The higher the proof the better. This is used to eliminate fungal problems.

Thermoelectric cooler- Thermoelectric coolers won’t take the humidity out of the air like regular air conditioners do. I can’t give you exact makes or models but a quick search online should bring up tons of options. These take some instillation and it is the most expensive past of the set up. You can skip this if your house/basement is always under 70 degrees F. I will not be explaining how to install these units but whoever you buy it from should be able to help you buy the correct controller/power source/unit and give you direction on how to install.

Distilled water- I skip the 50/50 stuff. It’s overpriced and I have not had great results with it.

Humidity beads from heartfelt industries- These guys make one of the best products on the market. These beads hold humidity at a set level and WILL NOT over humidify your cigars. Buy them in bulk and put them in the bags they sell. Link >
http://www.heartfeltindustries.com/p...Humidity+Beads

Cedar sheets- get these from boxes of cigars or from your local tobacconist.

Hydra humidity unit(or similar system)- these active humidification devises are wonderful inventions. Invest in one, you will not be disappointed. Also I suggest buying the extra fans for these to circulate air.

Regular floral humidity beads- these are used to fill the hydra…more on that later. These can be found at hobby shops or florists.

Cedar airflow racks- for desktop humidors.

A real RH gauge- buy an adjustable one or go big with a scientific caliber one.

I currently have two towers and three coolers running at a perfect 65/65 and here is how it is done.

TOWER HUMIDORS
All of my towers are set up in the same way. Set up the thermo electric unit at a high point in the tower. The cool air will flow down and the fans (we will talk about these more later, will circulate the air further for you). With a clean towel wipe down all interior wood surfaces with a light amount of distilled water. Do not saturate the wood. Close the door and after 12 hours repeat. Once the humidor is seasoned move to the next step.

Take your hydra unit and take the base off. Remove the green floral foam and throw it in the garbage. In a clean bowl mix the regular floral beads with distilled water as directed. Fill your hydra units base with the saturated beads and sprinkle the high proof booze over the beads. Let this air out for about 30 minutes. This will kill any fungal spores that are present. Every 3 months or so you will want to re-saturate the beads and sprinkle more of the booze over them. Reassemble your hyda unit and place it in the bottom of your tower. Take the fans that you purchased and run them as such. Place the first fan flat on the shelf directly above the humidity unit. The shelves should have grates for air flow so the fan should be able to suck the humid air up to the next level. From there, stagger the fans on every shelf so that if the first one is on the left side of the tower, the next shelf has a fan lying flat on the right side and so on and so on until you reach the top. This will make the humidified air travel in a zig zag across your entire humidor.

Once this is done it is time to load the humidor. Make sure that you leave space for air to flow but a full humidor is a happy humidor and it will work more efficiently if it is at least 75% full.

Next take the hydra beads that you purchased and hydrate them according to the manufactures specifications. Load them into the bags and place one bag on ever other shelf.

I have my towers set up like this for a very specific reason. The cooler keeps the cigars at proper temp. The hydra actively circulates humidified air and re humidifies the heartfelt beads, and the heartfealt beads maintain a perfect 65% Rh. The fans also make sure that there are never any dead spots in the humidor and that everything stays equal across the entire system. The only time I ever see any spikes or drops in temp or Rh is when the door is open. I should note that this all works much more efficiently if you have an insulated tower. Also keeping your tower out of direct sunlight/away from heating and cooling vents is recommended.

DESKTOP HUMIDORS

I love desktop humidors. They are beautiful pieces; they just never seem to work well for me. I have bought and sold countless numbers of desk top humidors and besides several custom humidors and Daniel Marshal’s desktop line I am largely unimpressed with them. It is my opinion that you will grow out of your desktop quickly and they are far too difficult to regulate. If you want my advice; make a coolidor. They are cheaper, more reliable, and it is easier to expand with a coolidor. That being said, I have several desktops that I love and every cigar smoker should have one good desktop to store their smokes in.
Open your desktop and throw out the hydrometer and humidity unit that came with it. 99% of the time these are useless and will not properly store your smokes. Next, with a clean rag wipe down the insides of the humidor with distilled water. Close the humidor for 12 hours and repeat. Once this is complete insert your cedar air flow rack and your heartfelt 65% beads. You now have a desktop that will actually hold at the correct humidity (as long as your humidor has a proper seal) and the airflow rack will allow humidity to properly circulate. If you really want to get fancy, you can add a battery operated fan on a timer to further circulate the humidity.

COOLIDORS

These are the best option for rapidly expanding collections and for a cheap alternative to a tower. You can use any size cooler but I always buy the 150qt coolers.

When you are looking for the right cooler, make sure you have a $1 bill with you. Open the cooler you plan on buying and place the dollar half way inside and close the lid so that you can still grab the bill. Try pulling the bill out. Is should not easily pull out. Do this around the entire cooler to make sure you are purchasing one with a good seal. Once you have your cooler, wash the inside out with a mild detergent and warm water. Make sure it is well rinsed out and let it dry out with the lid open. If you plan on adding a cooler to it, do so now, If not move onto the next step.

Follow my instruction for preparing your hydra unit (see the tower humidor section). Place the hydra unit in the corner and mount the extra fans in the top corners of the cooler (leave enough room for the lid to close). I used an epoxy and let it air out and dry very very well. Now coolers work best for box storage but if you have a lot of singles you can always buy cedar trays or extra cigar boxes and place your singles in there for storage in the cooler.
Load up the cooler and set the humidity unit for your desired RH level (65%!!!!!!!!!). Stash some saturated heartfelt beads in it as well to be safe and to be sure you are maintaining perfect levels. Once a month I do suggest burping your coolidor. Because the cooler will have a much tighter seal than a normal wood humidor, the air will get stale and you will want to introduce some fresh air into it occasionally.


Well guys, I hope this helps. I am more than happy to answer any questions about my methods, supplies, and construction. It is my opinion that once you have a properly aged and stored cigar there is no going back. So go out and build that Coolidor, fix up that tower or over haul your desk top and get ready to smoke the best sticks of your life.

Also I am willing to make similar posts about any other cigar related topics/ questions that you all may have(best cutters/lighters, how to properly track and age cigars, training your pallet, dealing with beetles, etc) . Just shoot me a PM and I will try and get a post out within a week.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:18 PM   #2
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dude - this is great. glad I am on the right track!!!
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for all the great information Corey... Looks like I need some fans and i'll be good.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:27 PM   #4
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Thanks Corey....quite a read...and a ton of good information. will be changing a few things in my setups!!!
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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Wow nice job bro, great info... Thank you I have heartfelt in one of mine and thy work good I use shilila beads in my other and they are awesome as well
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:09 AM   #6
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Well done Corey!
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:12 AM   #7
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Great thanks
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:47 AM   #8
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Wow that's some great Info they should make that a sticky
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:20 AM   #9
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Great stuff!!
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:51 AM   #10
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Glad everyone is finding this helpful. Remember that this is not gospel! It is just what I have found to work best. Figure out how how much time, money, etc you are willing to invest and go from there.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:25 PM   #11
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If I may be so bold as to try to add to what Corey has expertly stated here, people tend to stress out over the humidity. It is IMPORTANT to realize what we talk about here is RELATIVE HUMIDITY or RH. RH is relative to the temperature. This is WAY different than absolute humidity which is a reference of how much moisture there is per unit of medium (in this case air). We use relative because it makes more sense for what we are doing (& Absolute humidity gauges cost several hundreds of dollars).
So, back to the topic.
What is RH?
It is a percentage of how much moisture in vapor mode the air can support given the amount of available energy (no, I did not look that up nor copy it, I just know this stuff).
Another simpler way of saying that is the amount of moisture air can support at the given temperature.
Follow me on this...
If you have a vessel sitting at 70/70. Lets say your favorite humidor. Then without adding ANY moisture if you reduce the temperature by 10 degrees to 60, it will read approximately 85% RH. Is it more moist? No. (more humid, yes) Is there more moisture in the air? No. But the air is more saturated because 60 degree are doesn't have enough energy to support as much water vapor as 70 degree air does.
So if you come home and find wild swings in your humidor humidity, check the temperature FIRST.

Now that we understand the importance of temperature, lets look at how it is more important than I have stated. Fluctuations in temperature not only causes wild swings in your RH, but it causes your cigars to expand and contract. This WILL lead to cracked wrappers and smoking issues! I see people going crazy over humidity changes, I tell them all the time, worry about your temperature first then (if the temp correction didn't correct the humidity already) address the humidity. Also, fluctuations in temperature will lead to seal issues in your humidor and even your cooler.

Last point, ambient conditions.
Most of you have what is called a passive humidification system. Meaning no auxiliary energy applied to release water vapor from your humidifiers. Meaning it relies on evaporation and not some sort of electronics. There is only so much this can do. If you have your humidor in a cold dry environment don't expect to be able to easily maintain your humidity. Or... if your humidor is in a room where the average humidity is over 80% (like my house in the summer), you will have issues. No humidification device can efficiently reduce humidity (although the beads will help lower it a bit IF they aren't saturated).
I am careful to maintain the temperature and humidity around my humidors. In fact my humidors are located directly under my thermostat.

One last point, if I haven't convinced you to stress a little less about some swings in humidity, realize that a decent hygrometer will run your around $400. How much did you pay for yours? $20? Expect it to circle and not too often hit the actual number.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #12
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nice good points skip...
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:30 PM   #13
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here guys, get a load of this.
this company makes and markets scientific instruments
A $30 hygrometer is said to be + or - 5%
http://techinstrumentation.com/produ...nel-Meter.html

A $400 is said to be + or - 3%
http://techinstrumentation.com/produ...ygrometer.html
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:30 PM   #14
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Great add on skip. You are spot on about a decent hydrometer. Are they worth the money? That's for you to decide
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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Very informative read....
Thanks for taking the time to do it !!!

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Old 11-21-2011, 09:45 PM   #16
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Can someone send me a bottle of the high test everclear? I can only get the "FL"kinda that is 151* or something like that.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:59 PM   #17
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Thanks a lot for that! Now I just need to find better fans.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:14 PM   #18
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Do you have the ability to remove the foam inside an Oasis Humidifier base or only on the Hydra model? Second, does anyone know where to get a cheap fan for the Oasis apart from their site or any fan? I have an additional power outlet in my cabinet that I could plug a small into, but cant seem to find a small one
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:19 PM   #19
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Look on eBay Jonny. I have seen them on there cheap before
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:53 AM   #20
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I use the humidity sheets for my coolers from heartfelt and they work awesome
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:56 PM   #21
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Dumb question... How do you store tubos? Loosen the top? Nothing? Just curious of peoples preferences.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:03 PM   #22
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Not a dumb question...not sure that it matters but I take the caps off.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #23
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I guess can the humidity get in the tube with the cap on.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:11 PM   #24
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Not sure all tubos are air tight....
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:13 PM   #25
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i just take the caps off mine, seems to work fine
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:08 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPlaspohl View Post
i just take the caps off mine, seems to work fine

i do the same...
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:50 AM   #27
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I think it's a personal preference. Look at cigar shops.... The caps are on and they could sit there for months before they sell.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:10 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnysmokes View Post
I think it's a personal preference. Look at cigar shops.... The caps are on and they could sit there for months before they sell.
That's what I was thinking.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:28 AM   #29
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The best way to store them long term is to take them out of the tube. Otherwise they will get moldy. Cap off for midterm storage (only a few months), less than 4 week, you can leave the caps on.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:22 PM   #30
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I take the caps off... Have had some for a long time like that... Have smoked some old ones no issues...
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