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Cigar 101

How to Fix a Leaky Humidor

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

A leaky cigar humidor is a humidor with an unreliable seal, meaning there are gaps where the lid closes or in the joints where the sides of the box meet, and the humidity escapes as a result. Indications your humidor has a leak include cigars that are too dry, consistently low humidity readings on your hygrometer, and having to refill your cigar’s humidifier or replace your Boveda packs sooner than you should. A leak in a humidor can be a sign of cheap construction, or a leak can result if the lid or any of the wood that contributes to your humidor’s seal has warped over time. If your humidor has dried out because you neglected to replenish the reservoir, you may need to season your humidor again to get the wood to swell and engage the seal.

Before you diagnose the causes of a leaky humidor, make sure your hygrometer has been calibrated and is providing an accurate reading. When you’re confident your hygrometer is working correctly, here are a few ways to check if there’s a leak in your box.

The Whoosh Test

Does the lid on your humidor fit tight when you open and close it? In most humidors, a wooden lip traces the interior edges of the box. In some humidors, the lip is attached to the lid; in others, the lip is mounted to the base of the box where the lid comes down. After a humidor is seasoned, the wood swells and the lip creates a seal. As a result, you can feel and hear a faint “whoosh” of air when you close the lid. Hold the lid open a few inches high and let it drop to close it. A slight whoosh of air should absorb the impact. If the lid slams shut like a door, the seal on your box may be compromised.

What Is the Dollar Bill Test?

Another basic way to test the seal on your humidor is the dollar bill test. Open the lid, insert a wrinkle-free dollar bill between the lid and the bottom of the box. Close the lid, but leave part of the dollar sticking out. When you pull on the dollar, you should feel some resistance – from the seal. If the dollar slips out too easily, your box could have a weak seal.

What Is the Flashlight Test?

Remove the cigars from your humidor. Turn a small flashlight on, set it inside your humidor, and close the lid. Turn the lights off in your room, and inspect the box to see if light from the flashlight escapes from any cracks or crevices in your humidor. The flashlight test can identify areas where your humidor’s seal may be compromised. You can then caulk the gaps with silicone.

Caulk the Gaps with Silicone

Get a tube of silicone from the hardware store. A clear, non-toxic, food-grade silicone is best. Remove your cigars and the humidification source from your humidor. Seal the gap(s) with the silicone on the interior of your humidor. Leave the lid open, and allow the silicone to fully dry for three days. Return the humidification source to your box, and re-season the interior to achieve 70% RH (relative humidity). Once your box is re-humidified, you can put your cigars back in. Also, if you have a glass top humidor, adding a layer of silicone around the window on the inside is a way to reinforce the seal on a glass top box.

Repair Vs. Replace Your Humidor

If caulking your humidor seems like too much fuss, it may be easier to upgrade your box. You can also take your humidor to a woodworking professional for repair. If you’ve got an expensive humidor that you plan to keep for a long time, get a quote for fixing the seal. However, if you’re trying to repair an inexpensive beginner humidor that you’ve had for years, your money may be better spent investing in a new box. Hardwood models like the Executive series from Savoy are crafted from premium materials with a fragrant Spanish cedar interior guaranteed to last for decades. A mix of exotic and traditional finishes includes the Santos Rosewood, Ebony Macassar, and Olive Ash Burl in a variety of sizes to accommodate your collection. Savoy humidors are designed to age cigars. Because they are made from substantial materials, warping and leaks or gaps in the lid are highly unlikely.

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