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How to Set up a Humidor? — A Complete Guide

How to Set up a Humidor? — A Complete Guide

How you handle your precious cigar collection and how you set up a humidor determines its longevity. A humidor is a treasure box when it comes to its application and preserving of the aromatically rich cigars.

However, to prepare a cigar humidor equipped with proper humidification and outer body is a strenuous job. Thus, we've got you covered on how to set up a humidor under optimum conditions. 

Why is Cigar Seasoning Important or Preservation in a Humidor a Must-do? 

Cigar seasoning is the most significant task to take care of when you're into cigar culture and have cigars from the best brands. 

Ironically, cigars are like sponges in terms of morphology and are vulnerable to environmental conditions, especially humidity levels. Hence, their flavor and aroma entirely depend on their storage environment. 

Hence, the best way to keep that optimal temperature and humidity levels constant for your cigar reservoir is to prepare a humidor. 

Essentials of a High Performing Humidor? 

A high-performing humidor must be equipped with everything required to maintain its value for service. 

Here's an overview if you want to look into how humidors work and what makes them a necessary accessory for cigar aspirants. 

1. Hygrometer 

The ideal humidity level to preserve the richness of a cigar is 64-70%. This higher value is easily maintained with the help of a resilient hygrometer. Hence, real-time monitoring is conducted to determine the ideal humidity levels. 

Hence, you don't have to rush when the conditions are out of reach. Instead, you can easily put up your Humidor to regain its moisture. 

2. Humidifiers 

Maintaining a predetermined humidity level is as important as looking for the salt and spice ratio for the top chef competition. Humidifiers are specially designed to release moisture through their perforated surface into the Humidor. 

Some efficient humidifiers are categorized below; pick one and thank us later! 

  • Jars (Tubes and Gel Based) 

Jars with gel crystals or tubes like humidifiers are the advanced form of conventional humidifiers. These gel jars are filled with hydrophilic crystals that maintain moisture inside the Humidor. You can place the jar or tube inside the Humidor and let the crystals perform their magic for two months maximum. Add a humidifier solution once the moisture level in the tube or jar drops and is no longer functioning. 

  • Manual Humidifiers

Manual or passive humidifiers are popular for their easy handling and simpler mechanics. The humidifier is composed of vents and a spongy core surface. The core is structured to trap moisture and diffuse it into the Humidor. Once the Humidor's vapor level decreases, the humidifier must be soaked in propylene glycol or distilled water. 

  • Electric Humidifier 

Electric humidifiers are more efficient than the two listed before. Electric humidifiers don't require frequent refills with built-in moisture retaining properties. According to an average estimate, the automatic reservoirs can maintain humidity for a year without any refill. 

These humidification systems have two major components. These are; a moisture detection sensor to measure the dropping humidity levels and a fan that's activated to drive vapors into the Humidor. Electric humidifiers also contain notifying alarms to keep up with the water reservoir levels. 

3. Sectioning Components 

Being a cigar enthusiast, you must have various cigars from different brands. Moreover, these cigars have different aromatic properties, tobacco fillers, wrappers, and flavors. You won't take a chance of destroying their taste by placing them together in a humidor under humidity levels. 

Hence, a compartment is necessary to differentiate your cigar collection. For this purpose, get a humidor with compartments and removable cigar holders or trays

4. How to Make Your Humidification Solution? 

A typical humidification solution comprises propylene glycol (50%) and distilled water (50%). This homogeneous mixture is known to preserve the flavorful properties of your cigars and retain moisture up to 70%. 

The propylene glycol used in Humidification Solution is food grade and has disinfectant properties. Hence, you don't need to worry about any fungal or bacterial growth because of the vaporous environment inside the Humidor. 

Distilled water can be used as a substitute if you're short of propylene glycol, but it isn't a long-term solution! 

5. Setting Up a Perfect Time Duration 

Until now, you've got a comprehensive insight into what to look for to prepare a cigar humidor. It's time to learn about the time a humidor takes to season perfectly. 

Typically, a humidor takes 2-6 days, depending on the size, composition, and humidification system used to trap moisture. However, a gradual and slow progressive seasoning is the key. 

Seasoning a Humidor for Novice Users 

If you're a newbie to the cigar culture, pass through this checklist before taking a leap onto preparing a humidor. 

  • Premium handcrafted cigars require additional care in retaining optimum moisture inside the Humidor. Acquaint well with seasoning different moisture levels to understand how to set up a humidor under low humidity levels.
  • Check out the composition before you set up a humidor. Most humidors have a cedar based composition and perform well at regular temperatures. Travel friendly humidors are another important consideration. 
  • Keep your storage unit away from direct sunlight or heat source, under a regular room temperature of around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Make sure the Humidor contains the two most important components, such as a humidification system or humidifier and a hygrometer. 

How to Set up a Humidor? - A Stepwise Guide 

It's time to set up and prepare a humidor, considering all the necessary conditions. 

Start the process by cleaning and wiping out your cigar humidor with a dry cloth to remove any debris or dust inside it: the buffer lining or the wooden interior act as a major humidity retainer. The humidifier must be charged before its placement. 

Hence, you're ready to follow the steps underneath. 

1.Set Up the Hygrometer 

Setting up a hygrometer prepares a humidor for optimal functioning right away. But before its placement, it has to follow a cascade of processes:

  • Place the hygrometer in an airtight bag with the water and salt solution. Adjust the reading to 75% or take a reading once it's around 75%. This process is called calibration. 
  • Once the hygrometer is calibrated, place it in the Humidor for hours before measuring the humidity levels. 
  • Don't open the lid frequently after placing the hygrometer. Open it after 6-7 hours and take the reading immediately. 

2. Setting Up Different Humidifiers 

The conventional way to set up a humidifier is: 

  • Take out the humidification system and place it in an open container. 
  • Recharge it with distilled water and propylene glycol (50/50 composition). You also let the solution seep into the unit after soaking it. 
  • Don't use tap water or any other solvent other than the two mentioned above, as it can induce primordial growth inside the Humidor. 
  • Shake off any extra propylene glycol solution to ensure a perfect vaporous diffusion and place it in the Humidor.

Moreover, gel-based jar humidifiers and electric humidifiers function differently. After alarm notification, the former must be filled with distilled water, whereas the automatic humidifiers will be filled with PG (propylene glycol) solution.

3. Season the Humidor with Humidity 

Although there is no hard and fast rule to season your Humidor, the more gradual the humidity dispersion, the longer its moisture retention stays.

These contemporary measures will be of prime importance to prepare a cigar humidor:

  • Clean the inner lining of the Humidor with a damp cloth or sponge. This way, the moisture will be retained within the cigars, and the wooden lining won't absorb much of its portion. 
  • It might take a little longer or even hours to balance the required humidity level inside the Humidor. One pro tip is to place a damp sponge inside the Humidor. Thus, the wooden shelf can also get additional moisture retention. 
  • Close the Humidor and forget it for the next 3-5 days. To prepare a humidor for the first time, you might have to wait a week or two to humidify it fully. 
  • If not calibrated, the hygrometer can be put along with the damp sponge and humidifier. 

4. Keep Measuring the Humidity Levels 

The Relative Humidity level for a perfect moisture regulated humidor is 70% to 80%. It is wise to measure it once 3 to 5 days have passed after you last opened the Humidor. 

Moreover, the manufacturing of your Humidor also impacts the relative humidity levels. Whereas cedar lined humidors are moistened quickly as compared to discrete wooden interiors. You can play it smart by continuously recharging the humidifier and replacing the sponge damped in distilled water or propylene glycol. 

5. Time to Place Your Cigars 

The Humidor is optimally moistened and has achieved the RH value of 70% to 80%; it's time to fill it with cigars!

How you place your cigars and overfill the Humidor also determines the moisture distribution inside. The best way to place cigars is to fill the eight parts and leave the two parts for easy air and water vapor transport. Cigars tend to dry if the Humidor is stacked and overfilled. 

Humidor Maintenance | Keeping Other Factors in Check 

To maintain your Humidor is as significant as finding the cigars of your favorite flavor! 

The performance of even the highest performing humidor decreases as the moisture level drops below 65% of RH. 

  • Conventional Maintenance 

Conventional humidor maintenance means continuously reevaluating its performance with the help of a hygrometer. As the RH drops below 65%, you must know what to do next. Start refilling the humidifier unit and follow that beginner humidor seasoning cycle again. 

Whenever you take a cigar out of the Humidor, don't forget to shuffle the position of the cigars to get equal moisture entrapment. 

  • Acclimatize Your Humidor 

It might be your first time reading "Acclimatize Your Humidor". The flavor and taste retention of your cigars collection are in the hands of the climate you live in! 

If you're from a hot and humid climate, your Humidor might take longer to evacuate its moisture. A colder climate isn't favorable as you might have set up a heat source nearby. 

Hence, you must keenly observe the RH levels through a hygrometer, whatever the climate conditions are. 

  • How to Deal with Higher Humidity?

It is extremely careless to leave your Humidor open to get back to lower down the extensively increased RH levels. The best way to regain the ideal humidity is to remove the humidifier unit and leave a crack-sized opening of the lid to allow the moisture to release slowly.  

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