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Featured Article

HUMIDIFIERS
By: Milt Fitterman

Most new Humidifiers are pre-charged with a humidifying solution composed of 50% PG (Propylene Glycol) and 50% distilled water. This solution will control the relative humidity inside a closed box at 70 to 72%. This relative humidity is considered ideal for maintaining freshness for your cigars.

Water evaporates and humidifies your cigars. PG controls the humidity level but essentially does not evaporate. Therefore, when you get your humidifier, it will probably only have PG in it because the water has evaporated. You must fill your new humidifier with distilled water to bring it back to the proper proportion. Distilled water is used because it has no minerals dissolved in it. Regular water has minerals in it and when the water evaporates it leaves behind the minerals. They will clog your humidifier and will leave an unsightly residue.

Distilled water must be added to the humidifier every 2 to 4 weeks or when you see the humidity level dropping. You can use a gauge called a hygrometer to be sure of the humidity level. The best gauges are usually digital. Although they cost more, they are usually worth it. It is considered wise to invest in an accurate hygrometer, usually $25 to $30 to protect a much larger investment in cigars. You can also simply feel your cigars to see if they are dry, but by the time they feel dry, it’s already too late. After about six months or when your humidity level gets too high, you should recharge your humidifier with your humidifying solution (50% PG & 50% distilled water) because you probably have been slowly losing your PG each time you filled it with distilled water. An alternate way would be to add a small amount of humidifying solution each time you refill with distilled water.

The best way to put distilled water or humidifying solution in your humidifier is by slowly dripping the liquid through the pour spout on the bottle into the exposed holes on the surface of the humidifier. Stop when it begins to leak out, taking your time so you lose as little as possible. Obviously, you should remove the unit from your humidor before doing this so you don’t damage your humidor.

This would be a fairly simple process if we were talking about a closed plastic box that did not lose any moisture. Nothing in life is that simple. Wooden humidors lose moisture in a number of ways. First, the wood will absorb moisture until it reaches 70-72% humidity. Depending on the finish on the outside, some of that moisture will travel through the wood to the outside air. Some moisture will be lost through the seal where the lid meets the body of the box. You are constantly trying to balance the loss of humidity with your humidifier. At the same time, the balance of PG to Distilled Water in your humidifier is constantly changing, so this becomes a bit of a juggling act. You can control this best if you use a good hygrometer gauge.

Unfortunately, many wooden humidors are not able to maintain the proper humidity when the air in the room is very dry no matter what you do. This may be because you live in an area that is very dry or it is during the winter when the heat is on. When this happens, you might want to try to add an additional source of humidity to your humidor. An excellent device to add is the DHS Humid-I-Guard. This is a relatively small humidifier that is relatively inexpensive ($1.99) and very effective. Add a DHS Humid-I-Guard to your humidor once a month while still using the hygrometer that came with your humidor. The DHS Humid-I-Guard is designed to be disposable and therefore it is preloaded with a solution that maintains 72%, eliminating all work or worry. All you have to do is remove it from its wrapper and place it alongside your cigars.

posted: 11/16/1999

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