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Finally, an end to the great 50/50 PG solution debate?

It all started with an email I received from a reader who asked if PG solution was acceptable for use in an electronic humidifier, like a Cigar Oasis. Since I didn’t know the answer, I went to an expert. In this case, Rob Lembke, VP of Engineering and Process Excellence for XIKAR, Inc. His answer about the use of PG in electronic humidifiers will appear in an upcoming Cigar Advisor Q&A, but here’s what prompted me to address the question of using 50/50 PG in both crystal and oasis foam humidifiers:

In a section of Rob’s reply, he wrote: “…This is the reason we inform consumers that a 50/50 PG solution will eventually clog up a foam or crystal humidifier – the 50% PG stays behind much longer than the 50% water. The PG ratio in your humidifier slowly goes from 50/50 to 75/25 to 100% PG. It’s full of PG that is pulling all of the humidity out of the air! (100% PG will dehumidify to nearly 0% RH).”

Yours truly here has been using both Monster Venom and XIKAR brand PG solution in my crystal humidifiers. So I asked Rob: “Is this wrong? So far, all of the units seem to be responding fine, and several are over a year old. I thought PG only clogged the green foam models. If what you say is true, I may have to walk it back on some of my previous advice. Please clarify and thanks.”

And now the answer we’ve all been waiting for…

“A humidifier can get clogged with excess PG regardless of what material is used to hold the solution. In fact, you could technically ‘clog’ a shot glass full of solution – green foam and crystals are only necessary to keep the solution from sloshing around or dripping out of a humidifier that is turned upside down. A humidifier acts ‘clogged’ as the PG/water ratio gets too rich in PG.

I’m not familiar with the Monster Venom brand of PG so I don’t know what its PG/water ratio is. I can tell you that consistent use of a 50/50 blend of PG/water will clog a humidifier over time. XIKAR PG solution is blended in a proprietary ratio to ensure the ratio of PG/water in your humidifier does not get too rich in PG. This phenomenon is one reason that you might see some other brands of humidifiers say that you can use 50/50 solution or distilled water. If 50/50 is all that you have at your disposal, you are probably better off to only refill with 50/50 every 3-4 times and use distilled water the other times.”


The next time I refill my crystal-based humidifiers, I’m going with distilled water. The ironic thing is, that’s all I used until someone who works for a maker of crystal-based humidifiers told me to go with the solution.

Please feel free to express your thoughts and experiences on this subject.

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