Maintenance Instructions for Lance Allen Humidors
- Storage of Cigars
Your cigars will taste best if they are kept in the environment which provides Relative Humidity range of 68 – 70% and temperature range of 68 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 – 21 degrees Celsius). If your cigars go through harsh temperature and humidity variations, they will lose their flavor. Ensure that your humidification device is working properly to maintain a proper humidity level. When adding cigars to your humidor, you may notice that the humidity drops inside of you humidor. This is because the cigars are absorbing the moisture from you humidor. You will need to monitor the humidor more closely because the humidification device may not be able to keep up with the rate at which the cigars are absorbing.
It is recommended to have an additional humidification device on hand when adding new cigars. This second unit can be used to add the additional humidity required to help moisten the cigars. Once you see that the humidity is starting to rise over 72%, the second device can be removed.
- Relative humidityThe Relative Humidity (RH) is defined as the amount of moisture in the atmosphere in comparison with that at the saturation point at a given temperature. Water exposed to air gradually evaporates until the saturation point at which the air may retain the highest quantity of evaporated water. At the saturation point, the slightest drop in temperature will cause condensation. This is known as the dew point and corresponds to 100% RH. At 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) and a normal atmospheric pressure, the amount of water present in the air at 100% RH is approximately 15 grams per cubic meter. At a Relative Humidity of 70%, the amount of evaporated water is approximately 10.5 grams per cubic meter.
- Why Create a Humid Environment with a Constant Relative Humidity of 68% – 70%?
In common with many organic substances, cigars dry out in the absence of humidity in the air, or absorb moisture when air humidity is high. They establish equilibrium with the surrounding humidity. A dry cigar burns too quickly. The temperature at which burning occurs is too high because it is not tempered by the natural moisture of the cigar. The smoke is hot and bitter, and the cigar becomes harsh. In contrast, a damp cigar does not burn easily. It becomes difficult to draw.
For a pleasant smoke, a cigar should contain a certain amount of moisture which corresponds to 13 – 14% of its total weight. When this is the moisture content, the cigars burn smoothly; and the draw is easy. The aroma of tobacco is fully developed while the irritating effect of the smoke is moderated by the humidity of the cigar itself. The ideal moisture content of a cigar (13 – 14%) corresponds to a Relative Humidity of 70%.
How to Maintain Proper Humidity inside Humidor: By adding distilled water to the humidifier periodically, you can maintain the Relative Humidity of 68% – 70%. Under normal use, your humidifier should be refilled with distilled water or PG solution approximately 2-3 times every month (More frequent opening of the lid will require more frequent fills) Make sure to use distilled water only so that no bacteria will develop inside your humidor. Adding cigars and removing cigars will affect the balance of the humidity so expect fluctuations until balance is restored.
When you set up your Lance Allen humidor for the first time, you might have to refill humidifier more often because the wood of a new humidor is quite dry. We do season the humidor before it is sold to ensure a good seal, but the humidor will start to dry out once the humidification device is removed from the humidor.
- SET UP
When you receive your Lance Allen Humidor, install the hygrometer and humidification device. Set up the humidification device according to the manufactures’ directions. Close the humidor and allow the humidification device to re-season your humidor. Patience is essential during this process. The Spanish cedar must be allowed to absorb the moisture at its’ own rate. Once your hygrometer displays 70% the humidor is ready to have cigars stored inside. When setting up your new humidor, DO NOT shock your new humidor by over humidifying it in order to get the humidity level up quickly. This will damage your humidor and the lid and interior will warp. This will also void your warranty. It usually takes about a week to achieve the ideal humidity level in your new humidor.
- HygrometerThe hygrometer will enable you to determine whether you need to refill your humidifier.
Many years ago, the old models of humidors came with an analog hygrometer (the kind with a needle and a dial). The analog hygrometer does not accurately measure the humidity level. Consequently Lance Allen recommends a digital hygrometer/thermometer whose measurement of humidity is more accurate.
Please note that digital hygrometers have a margin of error of +/-3%. The best way to determine how well cigars are humidified inside the humidor is to monitor your cigars regularly and feel for brittleness, too dry, or spongy feel, to wet.
- Tobacco Beetles
When the humidity inside of your humidor falls below the ideal Relative Humidity range of 68% – 70%, please refill the humidifier with distilled water (about once a month). If the humidity goes higher than 70%, leave the humidor lid open until the inside humidity goes down.
In addition, please make sure that your humidor is kept in the temperature range of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit (20-21 degrees Celsius).
During the winter months, do not put your Lance Allen humidor next to a heater. During the summer months, try to keep your Lance Allen humidor in an air-conditioned room which maintains a temperature range of 68°F – 70°F (20°C – 21°C).
If the humidity and temperature of your humidor move above the ideal range (68% – 70% and 68°F – 70°F), tobacco beetles, which exist in larvae form inside of tobacco leaves, can hatch. If the outbreak of tobacco beetles occurs, you will find your cigars with circular pinholes. This is the evidence of tobacco beetle infestation. In two days, the full fledged beetle infestation can destroy every cigar in your humidor.
In the first place, you must prevent the inside environment of your humidors from getting to moist or to hot by keeping it in the ideal range (68% – 70% and 20°C – 21°C).
If beetle infestation occurs, discard all of your cigars with the circular pinholes and put the ones without the pinholes in a sealed plastic bag. Then place them in the freezer for 72 hours in order to kill the tobacco beetles and their larvae.
After 72 hours, move the cigars to the refrigerator for one day, and then back to your humidor. This extra step will protect your cigars from the shock of sudden temperature change.
Before you put the cigars back in your humidor, clean the inside of your humidor with a paper or cotton towel dampened with distilled water.
- Mahogany or Spanish cedar
The inside of a Lance Allen humidor is completely lined with Spanish cedar. We use Spanish cedar for its moisture retaining abilities, protective properties against tobacco beetles/worms and positive flavor effects on cigars.
Mahogany can also be used due to its similar qualities, but has less of a fragrance and therefore does not repel tobacco worms as well.
- Cleaning of Lance Allen Humidor: To clean the inside of your humidor, lightly dampen a clean cotton or paper towel with distilled water and gently wipe the inside of the humidor. If you would like to remove fingerprints or stains on the inside mahogany, use fine grit and paper and gently rub it sideways along the grain of the veneer but not against.
If you own a Lance Allen humidor with glossy finish, we recommend you to clean the outer surface with a soft cotton cloth or microfiber cloth. Finishes that are ordered with an oil and waxed finish maybe be re-polished using Johnson’s Paste Wax, or a similar product. Follow the manufacturers directions and only apply to the exterior of the humidor.
WARNING: Warping of Your Humidor Lid
Lance Allen stands behind its humidors and if a Lance Allen humidor has any manufacturing defect, Lance Allen will repair it at no charge according to its warranty. However, if the lid of the humidor warps due to improper maintenance by its dealers or consumers, the warped lid will not be covered by Lance Allen Humidor Warranty. In order to prevent the lid of the humidor from warping, do not place the humidor under direct sunlight or track/spot lighting. Moreover, if your humidor experiences dramatic temperature changes, the lid of the humidor will also warp. During the winter months, you must not keep your humidor next to heater and during the summer months, prevent your humidor from being exposed to extreme sunlight. The humidor has been pre-seasoned to ensure proper fit when at the correct 70% humidity and to ensure that all of the exterior and interior wood has not warped. Proper seasoning takes several days and “wetting down or wiping extra water” into the wood will damage the humidor and VOID the warranty.