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Question
James:

I have a gorgeous Cuban Crafters humidor that holds around 150 cigars. I have been having recent humidity problems and have tried to stabilize my readings. Unfortunately, I am stuck at 62%. I have checked the seal, and tried to re-season the unit. I removed the two large humidistat tubes, and the small Xikar 50/50 jar I had been using for about a year and now just use 4 of the small Xikar distilled water tubes. I have never had a problem with humidity until the last 3 months or so, and I am concerned that I am unable to raise the humidity in the box.

Is it possible that the Xikar jar has damaged my humidor and the Spanish cedar is now saturated to the point that it is not repairable? I used to have to fill the jar bi-weekly with the Xikar PG solution, and then a few months ago the crystals just stopped falling to the fill line. I have never had to use the large humidifier that attaches to the lid of the box (it has never been installed), and have always used some combination of tubes and the Xikar jar.

I have close to $1,000 worth of cigars in the box, and I hope you have some suggestions so I can not only save the cigars, but the humidor as well. Most of the cigars are still in their cellophane wrappers, but I have some Punch and Cohiba that are unwrapped and laying on the top shelf. They seem to smoke fine, although they burn a little hot and uneven currently.

Any advice you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Answer
Hi Jack,

Are you using PG solution in the 4 Xikar water tubes?  You mentioned that you used to fill the Xikar jar with a PG solution on a bi-weekly basis.  Constantly using PG solution can oversaturate your humidification devices with PG and this will prevent your humidifiers from producing the proper amount of humidity.  Propylene Glycol can last a long time inside your humidification element (on average, 2 years) so all you really need is one dosage of PG solution to regulate the humidity at 70%. After that, simply add distilled water to your humidifiers when needed.  If you constantly added PG solution to your Xikar jar on a bi-weekly basis, your Xikar jar may be fully saturated with PG to the point where it can't produce much humidity from the distilled water.  The distilled water from the solution remains in the jar but the abundance of PG prevents it from producing humidity. PG is hygroscopic and restricts humidity output in your humidifier.  As a result, you may notice that your humidifier/jar are somewhat full of solution but the humidity level is much lower than normal.  The same effect will happen if you use PG solution in the 4 water tubes.  

If you're only using distilled water in your water tubes, try adding an additional humidifier and this may boost your humidor's humidity level.  If you are using an analog hygrometer, salt test it to ensure that it is properly calibrated and accurate. If you salt tested your hygrometer before, it's best to check it again as hygrometers can lose accuracy over time.  If you are using a digital hygrometer, make sure that it is functioning properly. If it uses batteries, replace them with new batteries as weak/depleted batteries may provide an incorrect reading.

It should also be noted that PG is only necessary if you have problems with high humidity in your humidor. If you normally don't have high humidity (greater than 74%) in your humidor, then it's not necessary to use PG.  (Using PG when it's not necessary can actually create more problems for you.)

If your hygrometer(s) are functioning properly, you are only using distilled water and the problem persists, you may want to contact the retailer or humidor manufacturer and have them troubleshoot the problem for you.

It's hard to diagnose the problem without examining the humidor so I hope this info helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.

Regards,
James

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James Yee

Expertise

My main area of expertise is Cuban cigars and I can assist you if you have questions pertaining to Cuban cigars. I can also assist you with the following:

- General cigar-related questions and advice
- Humidor maintenance and troubleshooting (How to treat humidor mold, correct high/low humidity, humidor seasoning, etc.)
- Accessory maintenance and troubleshooting (Cigar cutters, hygrometers, humidifiers, etc.)
- Cigar restoration, preservation and troubleshooting (How to treat cigar mold/tobacco beetles, restoring vintage/dry cigars, etc.)
- Cigar/Brand identification
- Cigar etiquette

Unsure of a certain cigar brand? Wondering what a certain cigar tastes like? Have a question about Cuban cigars? Having problems with a humidor or Just let me know! I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. (NOTE: My main focus is on premium, hand-rolled cigars and not cheap, machine made, convenience store cigars.) IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE CIGAR OR CIGAR-RELATED APPRAISALS. If you have a vintage cigar item and you want to know if it's worth something, please contact an antique dealer that specializes in "TOBACCIANA".

Experience

I currently have 19 dedicated years of cigar smoking and counting. I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. For 5 years, I studied with Cuban torcedores (rollers), catadores (taste testers) and revisadores (inspectors) on every aspect involving the production of the Cuban cigar and I am currently writing a book that will help beginners understand everything they need to know about cigars and cigar smoking.

Publications
Maple Leaf Gardens: Memories & Dreams 1931-1999 (1999; ISBN: 0920445616)
50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do (2006; ISBN: 0452286654)
The [London] Times (October 8, 2009)


Education/Credentials
B.A. University of Toronto

Awards and Honors
Allexperts Top 25 Shortest Average Response Time: 2008-2009
Highest Rank:
- 2008 - 6th Overall, July
- 2009 - 10th Overall, February

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