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Wintering Humidity

Now that my heat's on full blast, I'm having trouble keeping my cigars humidified. Any suggestions?
Posted: December 17, 2012

Two. Move your humidor as far away from the heat source as possible and refill your humidification device often.

In cold-weather climates, this is the worst time of year for cigar storage. Constant artificial heat makes the air in most homes extremely dry and poses a real problem for all but the most-state-of-the-art humidors.

All you can really do is move your humidor to the least dry part of your house (probably your basement) and go through a lot of distilled water. Cigar enthusiasts who own a Bóveda Humidor or use the company's Humidipak system should consider adding one or two more packets in winter months to compensate for any moisture loss.

Those general rules about how often you need to refill your humidification unit go right out the window. Fill it often, every day if your cigars aren't moistening up.

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Joey Briley Kinston, North Carolina, United States, December 20, 2010 10:39pm ET
I share the same problem. I have a heat pump, and the temperature in my humidor stays about 65-70 degrees. however, the highest I can get my humidity has peaked at 63%.
Samuel De La Torre Virginia Beach, VA, United States, December 21, 2010 4:17pm ET
Oh man, have I had a challenge this winter. mine is at 65% right now and that's the best I've done in the past 2 weeks. I feel your pain.
George Smith Perkasie, PA, USA, December 22, 2010 2:26pm ET
In a gas heat/forced air environment, I can maintain an r/h of about 70 using an open container of pro-gly. Ratio of fluid to humi is key. I have a small 50 cigar humi usually filled with 20-30 sticks and use an open 3 oz ramekin full of prop-gly solution. If you have a hundred cap humi...use 6 oz etc. Fill the container as close to the top as you comfortably can and still get in and out of the humi without spilling the fluid on your sticks.

Maximum amount of fluid is key so use just the solution, not the crystals or sponges as the dry content of them take up space. Think of them as ice in drink.

Also, use the flattest container you can comfortably fit into your humi without impeding on your sticks room. The flatter the better as the evaporation surface is greater than a more upright container holding the same volume of fluid.

For obvious reasons, be careful moving the humi with an open container in it.
Brandon Frost Norfolk, VA, US, December 27, 2010 8:34pm ET
I've had to do the same thing, I got a new humidifier and it was nearly impossible to get the RH above 60%. I resorted to using an open dish of water, and once brought up to humidity (72%) I let the Boveda pack do the rest of the work so it doesn't get too high.
Taylor Franklin December 28, 2010 12:03am ET
Personally, I prefer my cigars stored at 65%.

Generally this is the preferred British method and seems to work the best for long term ageing. The smoking properties seem better to my palate at least; opposed to 70%.

Also, a nearly full humidor be it a desktop or a large cabinet, holds or balances the swings in humidity much better.

Lastly, make sure your hygrometer gauges are properly calibrated. I always have two (one is separate and a different make) just in case one of them goes out of whack.
Aleksander Koldingsnes January 11, 2011 2:22pm ET
I´ve had quite a problem keeping my cigars moist enough. Just before christmas I had to throw a sponge in the humidor just to achieve about 64%! But I found out the same trick as explained in this article, keep it away from any heat source! Finally the temperature stabilized and is now about 72%, a bit high, but better than under 60%.
Wayne Robinson Springfield, MA, USA, January 16, 2011 12:30pm ET
Same problem here in Massachusetts. I use two 125-cigar humidors so I am able to re-season one of them for "emergency" transfers (below 65 relative humidity.

Another trick that I've had luck with is to remove the trays and carefully wipe the bottom of the trays with distilled water- the tray bottoms do not come in contact with the cigars and help with bringing humidity back up to acceptable levels.

Has anyone tried the small, powered humidifiers made for medium-sized humidors? I'd appreciate comments or suggestions about using them to control humidity.
John Carroll January 20, 2011 7:22am ET
@ Taylor Franklin: I agree. Don't be obsessed with keeping your stock at precisely 70%: plus/minus 65% will do. By all means keep your humidor away from a heat source because too much heat and humidity could hatch any dormant tobacco beetle eggs and ruin your collection!
Kevin D. Bay Lebanon, Tennessee, US, January 20, 2011 11:42am ET
The fact of keeping your humidor as full as possible will help. I also have luck with keeping my humidor near a window so that I can acheive some natural heat on the sunny days in the winter. Using the above resources I'm able to stay in the 65% range during the winter months.
Rick Hilton Coventry, Rhode Island, USA, January 23, 2011 9:41am ET
My humidor is on the smaller side.(40 cigars) and two Boveda packs have not been able to keep up during the winter. I would add another pack but i dont want to sacrifice already limited space. To keep the humidity up, I use 2 boveda packs and also fill the humidification unit. The unit and the packs provide plenty of humidity and the packs make sure the humidity doesn't go too high. I usually fill the unit 1-2 times a week.(I fill it once the humidity dips to 67) Doing this keeps the humidor between 67-70 consistantly. I'll add that my local shop said I shouldnt use the humidification unit and the packs together. I'm not sure why, but its worked for me. Hope this helps.
Sean Sweeney AK, United States, January 23, 2011 9:55pm ET
Being so close to the Arctic Circle, I am having a nearly impossible time keeping my humidor up.
I have to refill every 2-3 days and, if there isn't enough cigars inside it doesn't go above 62%. YAY winter!
Dave Munroe Coventry, R.I., January 31, 2011 11:01am ET
Humidity doesn't seem to be to much of a problem for me. I have a 300 count Humidor with a Cigar Oasis and a standard rectangle humidifier. That humidor is full as well is my 2 other 100 counts. My problem is room temp. At night and when nobody's at home in the day, the temp in my house is usually around 62 degrees. I know 70/70 is the standard but what's more important? I'm guessing the humidity level is so I keep up on them constantly.
Chris Spedaliere February 24, 2011 9:13am ET
Has anyone tried buying a humidifier for the room? I'm not talking about a cigar humidifier, but just your every day appliance store humidifier. I've been toying with the idea for a bit but haven't tried it. I figure the room is less likely to suck the moisture from the humidor if it has enough moisture itself. Maybe turning it on sporadically like at night.
corey Berry November 2, 2011 10:06am ET
i been haven the same problem.I started thinking that maybe its just how the humi is built. and is the glue starting to fail on me.i mean my RH got down to 52 an i was out of town for a couple of days then i was like forget this. Then i broke down finaly bought a oasis xl. November 4, 2011 5:34pm ET
electronic humidification is simple and reliable... as long as you keep the sponge wet!
Jonathan Gluff Evansville, IN, United States, November 5, 2011 4:39pm ET
Using humidifiers throughout your house/apartment does help some with this problem. We lived in a small one-bedroom apartment last winter, and I ran a large humidifier in my living room and a small one in my bedroom and had no problems keeping my humidors between 65-70% RH.
adam.e.lyon November 10, 2011 10:00pm ET
I have a 100 count humidor in my basement. I've used the smallest Cigar Oasis humidifier in the past and that has worked great in the wintertime. The only problem that I have run into is that the small Cigar Oasis is meant to be attached to the lid of the humidor, and when attached this way, the fan points downward toward the cigars. When the fan runs is dries out the cigars directly below it. To remedy this situation, I put the Oasis on the top tray with the fan pointing upward toward the lid. This keeps my cigars perfectly. I tend to not use the Oasis in the summer (opting for a regular crystal based humidifier), as it is a pain to keep the cartridge full and there is something not nostalgic about plugging your humidor into a power source for the fan.
Gary Gengler Southern California, November 30, 2011 2:59pm ET
Here is So CA it doesn't get as cold as other places, still it gets cold enough during winter months, that the furnace is regularly on. To fend off possible heat problems, I had my wet bar built near the sliding glass door. It's not only sheltered from extensive light, the temp near the door is the lowest in the house, leaving single malts and Dor temperature stable and comfy.
Richard DiVincenzo Rochester, NY, December 25, 2011 2:14pm ET
This summer I bought a new cabinet humidor and a power humidification device. I was concerned about this winter since I've loaded it up with lots of cigars but I must say the device is doing it's job. I'm very impressed with the unit and it's been keeping the box up to what ever % I set the humidifier to. Being in New York with the heat running I feel it was a great investment. If I have to throw a handful of cigars out the cost would pay for the power humidifier. It's well worth the cost for anyone that has a large humidor
Wayne Accetturo Westminster, Colorado, USA, January 6, 2012 9:24pm ET
In Denver we are VERY dry and the altitude seems to make it worse. I got around the winter problem as George Smith mentioned. Use a larger humidifier with the greatest surface area you can handle. I went to a 250 cigar rated humidifier in a 100 cigar rated humidors. Works fine, holding at 69%, but I still have to add water twice as often as summer.
Matt Mac Osman January 23, 2012 2:03pm ET
The aficionados are going to jump all over this, but I swear it works. Use a digital hydrometer and a fine mist spray bottle. I have a glasstop humidor (50 count), so I cover the cigars and slightly mist the inside of the glass top if the humidity drops below 65. Not great at keeping the humidity constant, but it prevents things from getting out of hand.
Gary Bazdell Ottawa, ON, Canada, February 9, 2012 11:02pm ET
In the cold Canadian winters the humidity requires additional humidification and to achieve that I pop a couple of the round 75 count gel humidifiers in each humidor. This reinforces the larger humidifiers that are standard fare. Be careful for the first day or so to make sure this isn't too much and of course remove them as the winter fades.
Olivier Lhermite Jersey City , NJ, United States, December 27, 2012 5:43pm ET
As soon as I used my home humidifier, I saw that my humidor kept its humidity at the level I expected.
I guess a dry room sucks faster the humidity out of the humidor.
Anders Medeborn December 29, 2012 2:18pm ET
I live in Stocholm Sweden and we stare the challenge this time of the year. My solsting is that I abonden all kind of bought humidity producöts. In stead I am usiing oasis (utsedd for flower.arrangments).and put it in a small plastic container. This works super for me and keps the humidity between 75 and 80 %.
Salomon December 29, 2012 7:58pm ET
Im From Mexico City, cold weather is not a great problem here but personally, after several tries (I have aprox 700 cigar boxes in my house humidor) I think the best humidity is between 63%-65%. I constantly wanted a 70º-70% humidity, and had sticks almost soggy. I would recommend to try 63% for a while and try your cigars again. Cubans need a little more 65%-66% so don´t dry. I also recommend to do any temp or humidity changes very gradually. Remember, the most important thing is the equilibrium between temp and relative humidity. Hope it helps.
Anders Medeborn December 30, 2012 2:58am ET
I live in Stocholm Sweden and we stare the challenge this time of the year. My solsting is that I abonden all kind of bought humidity producöts. In stead I am usiing oasis (utsedd for flower.arrangments).and put it in a small plastic container. This works super for me and keps the humidity between 75 and 80 %.
Rod Hunt January 1, 2013 12:42pm ET
I have a 100 count Bally Humidor with about 50 sticks inside. I had a cigar guardian jar, xikar cigar bar, and two diamond crown humidifiers. Top r/h 63%. I bought one Humi-Care rectangle, 70%-73% continuous for the past 3 weeks. I even have vintage Diamond Crown Humidor, I tried the (((NEW))) Diamond Crown humidifier it maxed out at 50% all year. Boveda packs would last maybe three weeks tops. The Humi-Care rectangle is a solid 68-70%. :)
I live in Alberta, Canada and was never able to keep my cigars properly humidified in the winter (and it's a long winter up here!). I bit the bullet a couple of years ago and bought the Liebherr humidor. A ridiculous waste of money on the one hand but on the other, I no longer worry about my sticks or fiddle with humidification packs or solutions.
Cosmo Lavish Whitby, ON, Canada, January 4, 2013 9:53pm ET
Are you guys sure about the seals on your humidors? I find a 33% propylene glycol solution is keeping me at 72%RH, too wet, really. This is in the Canadian winter, room humidity less than 40%.
Bill Russo Rhode Island, USA, March 14, 2013 12:22pm ET
Hi, I have a 150 cigar Adorini humidor with about 60 cigars in it. I have 5 72% Boveda packs. I have two hygrometers, one on the lid and one in the bottom. Top reads 70, bottom reads 68. This is during the winter months when the room ranges between 25-40%. My humidor seams to seal very well so the humidity is very steady inside. December 28, 2013 12:49am ET
In very dry climate, winter time and its cold (62-65 in the basement). Got the Churchill 125 Count Humidor and have it full (75-80 sticks) along with a sponge, the unit's provided humidifier, and after 5 days it has stabilized at 68% RH. I did prep the unit for 1 day, and have struggled until today to get it to 65%+. Recommend, wipe the underside of the tray, and all sides regularly, as well don't be afraid to load up the humidifier and put a sponge in the humidor. These should age well at 65 degs F, and 68-72% RH. Cheap solution to a problem here in the Rocky Mountains at 8,000+ feet and -10 F outside for the highs at times.
Ed L. March 23, 2014 7:39am ET
I have a homemade humidor fashioned from an antique mahogany silverware chest. I gutted the felt interior and lined it with Spanish cedar. I lived in Florida and used only distilled water for humidification. My cigars liked it there. Everyone was happy.

Then we moved to Idaho where the relative humidity was less than 10% some days and my humidor got sick. It was drying out. Nothing helped. I watched my humidor die an agonizing death.

Now I keep my cigars in a vintage cedar box inside a Rubbermaid TakeAlong® with the Quik Clik Seal™ at a constant, worry-free 68%. It's red and ugly, but my cigars live. They live! The end.

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