Dos and Don’ts of Caring for Cigars in the Winter

Proper storage is the secret to having good cigars. It can be hard to maintain that storage during winter, since humidity tends to drop along with the temperature. A good humidor can prevent the worst of the damage, but the season will put even the best humidor under some extra stress. The best way to minimize the problem is to pick up a few good habits that minimize the problems.

Do: Act Fast

The best way to keep a humidor’s humidity stable is to avoid exposing it to the elements. The humidity inside and outside the device will naturally tend to equalize over time when it is open. The bigger the difference between the internal and external humidities, the faster they will change. Simply keeping the humidor closed as much as possible will do more good than any other technique.

Don’t: Forget to Refill

Most humidors include an artificial humidification device that needs to be refilled every few months. That device is going to be working harder than normal during the winter, so it is going to need to be refilled more often. The humidor won’t be able to do its job for long during the winter months if it is empty, so forgetting to fill it carries steeper consequences than normal. It’s best to make sure that you don’t forget about it by scheduling the checks at regular intervals. It’s hard to predict exactly how often the humidifier will need to be refilled without experience, so it’s best to start the season with daily checks and decrease the frequency if that turns out to be excessive. It may seem like an inconvenience, but it’s much better than losing an entire box of cigars to the environment.

Do: Avoid Heaters

Homes dry out during the winter because their artificial heaters tend to remove water from the air. The impact of a heater can be felt throughout the house, but the humidity changes are rarely equal. Most homes will see the largest humidity decrease in rooms that are near the heating system, while areas that are far away from the heater can maintain their humidity. Simply moving the humidor as far away from the heater as possible can eliminate most of the problem before it starts. It will still be important to check on the humidor regularly, since no technique can completely remove the problem, but it will make things much easier.

Don’t: Use Damaged Equipment

Humidors break down over time. They can last for years with good care, but nothing lasts forever. At the start of the winter, check the humidor for cracks and warping. Any flaws can let the humidity out and ruin the cigars regardless of other preparations. If it is damaged, either fix or replace it as quickly as possible to make sure that nothing can ruin the cigars. If possible, bring in another humidistat to make sure that the original one works properly. A little prevention will go a long way towards keeping your cigars fresh.

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