Q. I recently purchased the Conquistidor humidor and it seems the hygrometer fluctuates more with surrounding environment then inside humidor. Is this normal? If not, what am I doing wrong? The humidor has been shut for about a week and the needle swings at least 10% RH. Is it just a cheap measuring device or is this normal? It hangs out about 10% above the atmospheric RH. I have about 50 cigars in the plastic wrappers in there, and the box is sealed as best as I can tell. Should I not sweat this and just be patient?
A. Actually, this is normal, because wood is porous and reacts to outside conditions. I notice that when the humidity outside goes up, even though my house is air conditioned, etc., the humidity inside my cigar humidors goes up, and vice versa, but not as much as 10%. It may have to do with this particular model, where the hygrometer is mounted on the outside of the humidor, and some humid air may be getting in from there.
Note that the hygrometers that come with most humidors are not exactly made to NASA specs, so you’ve got to find the wiggle room. If you believe the RH is well above normal, not only because the needle says so, but because the cigars are feeling a little spongy, remove the humidifier for a day or two and see what happens. I have often let mine “dry-out” a bit when necessary. Try to keep the RH at average of around 68%. That works best for me at an average temp of 71 degrees.
It might also be worth getting a second digital hygrometer to mount on the inside of the box for comparison. Between the two, you may get a better overall reading of the RH inside the box.
Once it is well-seasoned, over time you’ll get a “read” on your humidor and know just how much water (DISTILLED WATER ONLY) or solution to add when needed.