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Greetings.

As Summer slowly makes its' way into Toronto, I find my humidors are getting close to the 70F mark and the temps have barely begun to rise. Therefore, does anyone have recommendations for a good wine fridge to convert to a humidor? Something that I can find in the Toronto area that won't break the bank?

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Hey Mate,

I just bought a portable A/C dehumidifier and closed of one of our bedrooms as basically a walkin humi until my Aristocrat arrives.

If that is not an option for you, both Walmart and Costco have wine fridges.

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Hey Mate,

I just bought a portable A/C dehumidifier and closed of one of our bedrooms as basically a walkin humi until my Aristocrat arrives

Tom. How's it working so far? I've moved my humidors to my basement which is really a sub basement as it partly above ground. On the odd time the temps will hover around 68-70. As it gets warmer it will be well over that mark. I could move them to the garage but that's where my garbage bins and I don't want that odor getting into my cigars. :)

My house gets all kinds of Sun despite being surrounded by pine trees and is relatively cool and comfortable for the wife and I. But my stogies are another story. We maybe turn on the A/C five times a year. I'd rather run a wine fridge humidor than pay for 2500 sq/ft of A/C every day.

Can you send me some info on the unit you're using?

Cheers,

Frank

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Hi Frank,

The Vinotemp 28 bottle units have been extremely reliable from what I've heard. I have a Vinotemp 18 bottle, and it's been in use for almost a year with no hiccups. It's way too small though, it can't fit a Monte 2 box lengthwise. Go with the 28.

Best,

John

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The Vinotemp 28 is the one I want. Can't seem to find one locally though. Plus, I want to get one that is compatablie with what Chasidor is making in terms of inserts. All the new units they have do coincide with what he's making. They might fit, they might not. I'd hate to have to find out the hard way.

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Frank, with you having a "sub basement" as you stated, it sounds like a similar thing to my situation, and we don't live that far apart. I have a 96-quart Thermos cooler, just a standard blue and white one from a few years back (not the crazily-insulated, super-thick marine ones). I just have it resting directly on the cement of my basement in my utility room / crawl space. With two 8-ounce packs of RH Beads in there, and it being nice and air-tight (no odour-ous air getting in there), things stay right nice year round. I've been getting an average of something in the neighbourhood of 64-67% RH and 61-63 F during the winters, and 63-68% RH and 64-66 F during the summer. And that's with my interior house temps sometimes getting into the upper-70's fairly regularly with the summertime heat.

I'm telling ya, before you spend the money on some big expensive chilled unit ('cause it's not like we haven't been spending enough money on our group-buy wish-list! :D ), just go for buying a decent cooler, get a nice and airtight one, and give it a try first for this year. My two cents anywho....

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Whatever you get, try to get one that has thermo-electric cooling versus a standard condenser/compressor. Thermoelectric is kind of like a heat pump and it will minimize the swings in humidity. There's a lot of information on this subject over at Cigar Family. LMK if you need me to message you the link as I'm not sure if it's cool to post links to other cigar sites here.

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The Vinotemp 28 is the one I want. Can't seem to find one locally though. Plus, I want to get one that is compatablie with what Chasidor is making in terms of inserts. All the new units they have do coincide with what he's making. They might fit, they might not. I'd hate to have to find out the hard way.

You can get some 1/4 inch pieces here to make the shelves and for the bottom of the fridge. They are a decent price too. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=18538

I prefer to keep my cigars in the original boxes and not in some slide out trays. I'll have to take some pictures this week and post them.

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And that's with my interior house temps sometimes getting into the upper-70's fairly regularly with the summertime heat.

Upper 70's??!!! My place gets into the upper 80's quite regularly in the summer.

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The Vinotemp is good. I use the Avanti. I have an Oasis, and a few bags of beads. 80% of the time I have 65/65 percent and then some variations up/down 3 percent. I have two desktop humidors in there with their own humidification inside, and several slide top cabinets. I am planning to have only desktop humidors inside because the humidity variation and the condensation goes crazy sometimes. Having the desktop with its own humidification helps, and all I will then use the Avanti is for the temp regulation and not worry about the humidity.

Where I live my regular humidors hit 80 F a month ago. It will get up to mid 80 at a certain point. What I would give for 70 F.

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The plastic cooler option while seeming "ghetto" works just fine for me. I can keep all cigars in there boxes, perfectly humidified at all times, and being in Southern Ontario and keeping the cooler on my cement basement floor temp is pretty stable.

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Hmm. Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll go with an old fashioned cooler for now. I've been using for two years and it's never failed me and seems to keep "cooler" than my desktop humidors. I'm just going to need a coffin sized one at the rate I'm going.

Thanks everyone. :lookaround:

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Whatever you get, try to get one that has thermo-electric cooling versus a standard condenser/compressor. Thermoelectric is kind of like a heat pump and it will minimize the swings in humidity. There's a lot of information on this subject over at Cigar Family. LMK if you need me to message you the link as I'm not sure if it's cool to post links to other cigar sites here.

I disagree with this statement. A refrigerated humidor must be made based upon the temperature delta it needs to overcome. Pelier device coolers cannot typically overcome a temperature gradient above 15 degrees. If that gradient is less than 10 degrees the Pelier may be fine, but above that and they run constantly causing havoc with your RH.

Bundy... If you don't need one, don't go there. If you are going to battle 75 degrees or above then a cooled unit may be desirable. Above 80 degrees... you had better think compressor unit. Just my 2cts. -Piggy

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You may have a point PF, but I don't see where Frank said he was trying to drop the temp by 15 degrees. I have a THC controlled unit built by Bob Staebell--they're well insulated boxes and work great.

My house is currently at 75, the temp inside the humi is at 68 and the coolers just kicked on to get it back down to 65. They'll run for 10-15 minutes and go off. I have a pound of beads inside it and it all works just fine without the coolers running constantly.

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You may have a point PF, but I don't see where Frank said he was trying to drop the temp by 15 degrees. I have a THC controlled unit built by Bob Staebell--they're well insulated boxes and work great.

My house is currently at 75, the temp inside the humi is at 68 and the coolers just kicked on to get it back down to 65. They'll run for 10-15 minutes and go off. I have a pound of beads inside it and it all works just fine without the coolers running constantly.

This is about what should be expected from Peltier device systems. Remember, I am not here to put down a system or a project, I am just stating some pertinent facts. I have built several systems based on commercially available coolers and am simply happy to share my experiences.

-Piggy

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Being in Hawaii, my garage is regularly 80 F and above. My Vinotemp fan (thermoelectric) does produce quite a bit of condensation, which I have running down into an empty tupperware dish by way of a plastic ramp. The temp stays right around 68 F, and 64-65% RH. I keep about a pound of beads in three different tupperware dishes. Every few days, I circulate the condensation from the dish back to the beads. It also helps to keep the air nice and circulated in there. Be sure to plug the bottom with a cork. Oh, and keep a dish of beads at the top as well, otherwise the RH at the top of the unit will be off as much as 5% from the bottom (see photo).

I have a desktop humi, and even with 65% beads in there the humidity tops 70%, with temps around 82 F. I only use the desktop for NCs (the higher RH helps bring out the best in Opus, WOAMs and the like), but I always leave them for a few days in the Vino before smoking.

vino1.jpg

vino2.jpg

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Being in Hawaii, my garage is regularly 80 F and above. My Vinotemp fan (thermoelectric) does produce quite a bit of condensation, which I have running down into an empty tupperware dish by way of a plastic ramp. The temp stays right around 68 F, and 64-65% RH. I keep about a pound of beads in three different tupperware dishes. Every few days, I circulate the condensation from the dish back to the beads.

So you also have issues with condensation. I thought I was doing something wrong having to go into the wine cooler every couple of days, but good to hear it is a normal thing. It's a pain though. That is why I am giving up on humidifying the wine cooler and instead, relying on the desktop humis to do the humidification while being cooled.

In FL it is tough to deal with the temps. I have the AC at 78 F, but my desktop humidors are routinely in the mid to upper 80s. Cellars, basements..how I miss those.

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So you also have issues with condensation. I thought I was doing something wrong having to go into the wine cooler every couple of days, but good to hear it is a normal thing. It's a pain though. That is why I am giving up on humidifying the wine cooler and instead, relying on the desktop humis to do the humidification while being cooled.

In FL it is tough to deal with the temps. I have the AC at 78 F, but my desktop humidors are routinely in the mid to upper 80s. Cellars, basements..how I miss those.

I don't want to be giving lessons unsolicited but gentlemen when you have sealed humidors (wine coolers) you are dealing with a completely different animal than your typical semipermeable wood humidor. You guys are getting water from outside when you open the doors and supplementing it with other sources. Just like heat outside, the outside conditions greatly affect how your humidor will run. Want to find out what is really going on inside... buy a datalogger.

Most people are thinking that humidors "add water and keep your cigars from drying." That is not always the case. Humidors are for consistent smoking conditions, or storage conditions, if you prefer the term. With that said, you guys living in the tropics, might try taking all the humidity elements out of the box completely. I find it hard to believe that anyone who is catching pools of water is at actually 65 RH. You might try drying the humidor out, with your cigars in there in boxes. Let it run for a week or so and collect all the water. As the water diminishes leave in a container that collects the runoff, perhaps add some beads if you prefer and stop this cycle of adding a ton of water just to remove a ton of water.

I hate to say it, but this is a common problem with small environment refrigerated humidors where the cooling coil mixes air with the air in with your cigars. Frankly mixing refrigerated air with cigars is a bad idea, but we all do it. I have a new humidor on the drawing board that will avoid this and solve a lot of problems as a result.

I live in a relatively dry environment. I use active humidifiers that are fan driven to push the air around. I have a humidor that has not had water in it for almost 2 years now and is at 62 RH. Since they are compressor type humidors, when the cool, they cool quickly and my instruments respond quickly and turn them off in just minutes, not hours. They never get a chance to soak up the free water in the in system as a result. My "saturated at 62 RH" boxes put the moisture they have right back into the system. Air dries down to 45 RH but the boxes never dry. What little condensation there is on the coil is fanned right back into the system when the coil thaws as long as the controller is asking for moist air.

I know the way it works because I have been data logging my systems for years now.

Good luck amigos, Piggy

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Thanks for your insight Piggy.

Just in response to your comment about doubting the 65% RH, I am fairly fanatical about maintaining my vinotemp and check it several times a day. I know it's not an exact science, but every time I check it's between 63-65% RH. With the heat outside at around 82 F, and the temp inside the vino at 68 F, the fan is going to run a lot. As the fan runs, it produces condensation which drips down into the empty dish. The more the fan runs, the more condensation is produced, but as long as I keep that water cycling through the beads, the RH stays pretty constant.

I went through quite a bit of trial and error, and found that having a dish of beads at the top of the humidor, as well as having the condensation drip into an empty dish (rather than beads, which become over saturated unless you have a TON of beads in the bottom), is essential to keeping a steady RH throughout the humi.

I just checked it for the first time this morning, and it read 68 F / 65% RH. I also check the calibration on both of the Hygroset II's every couple of months. See, fanatical :2thumbs:

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John,

If I'm interpreting what PF is trying to say correctly, then we should not add back in the condesation. I run a Vino set up just like yours and ran into the same issue during summer. After a couple of days, there would be a good amount of water from condensation at the bottom of the unit. At first, I would throw it out and then add distilled water to the beads only to have the same issue amount of condensation a couple of days later. Figured, if I don't add distilled water after getting rid of the condensation there shouldn't be more. Voila. Problem solved.

At least for my situation. Hope this helps.

-Chico

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Thanks for your insight Piggy.

Just in response to your comment about doubting the 65% RH, I am fairly fanatical about maintaining my vinotemp and check it several times a day. I know it's not an exact science, but every time I check it's between 63-65% RH. With the heat outside at around 82 F, and the temp inside the vino at 68 F, the fan is going to run a lot. As the fan runs, it produces condensation which drips down into the empty dish. The more the fan runs, the more condensation is produced, but as long as I keep that water cycling through the beads, the RH stays pretty constant.

I went through quite a bit of trial and error, and found that having a dish of beads at the top of the humidor, as well as having the condensation drip into an empty dish (rather than beads, which become over saturated unless you have a TON of beads in the bottom), is essential to keeping a steady RH throughout the humi.

I just checked it for the first time this morning, and it read 68 F / 65% RH. I also check the calibration on both of the Hygroset II's every couple of months. See, fanatical :2thumbs:

Like I said mate I am not here to call anyone out... well except maybe Rob and Ken!!! -LOL

post-79-1306432968.jpg

This is a data logged humidor. One of mine. While you will look at the graph and probably get the shivers, this is how a refrigerated humidor performs. My controls sample several times a second and have a 0.1 resolution which means that they react to changes rather quickly. Open the door and the thing springs to life. Usually something is running about the time the door is open half way!

These are the cycles that I am talking about. If you don't see cycles then you have a dry area next to your cooler or your instruments are simply not sensitive enough to see them. I am just speculating mate!

The datalogger is a separate instrument. It is taking a reading once every 8 seconds and has nothing to do with the controls. By accident I converted a daily log and not an intra-day log so the time frame in this chart is 1 sample per minute. It is just there to tell me what is going on over time. The fact is, without the chart, without the data and the resolution, one is only guessing.

I have 3 of these data loggers. I am actually thinking of running a little rental service for them. XX amount of dollars for a few weeks of time. You can learn a lot by using one a while. Ask my friend Dennis. I convinced him to get one and he is crazy with it. Or ask Ozzy, OzCuban, he borrowed one on my recommendation and also learned a lot from the experience.

I am simply saying literally, there is more than what meets the eye when it comes to what is going on in your humidor.

Lastly; I am pretty hardcore with my opinions around here. But I am equally critical at separating facts from them. I have found cigar boards, and I have been on a few, to be rife with wives tales and bad data. I am not talking differing opinions, I mean "bad advice" from people who think they know but don't. This is not a big **** contest. But sink 10, 20 or 50k into cigars in a humidor and you had better know what you are doing if you want your investment protected. Wether it is 1 box or 100 boxes, I just don't want to see members here trashing their cigars based on bad advice or poor data. So that is where I am coming from. I am not here to prove anything to anyone about how much I know. I am simply sharing experiences so that a friend does not make the same mistakes that I have over time.

Best of luck on your project. -Ray

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John,

If I'm interpreting what PF is trying to say correctly, then we should not add back in the condesation. I run a Vino set up just like yours and ran into the same issue during summer. After a couple of days, there would be a good amount of water from condensation at the bottom of the unit. At first, I would throw it out and then add distilled water to the beads only to have the same issue amount of condensation a couple of days later. Figured, if I don't add distilled water after getting rid of the condensation there shouldn't be more. Voila. Problem solved.

At least for my situation. Hope this helps.

-Chico

Right on amigo! I am thinking that while your hygrometer is telling you you're okay it is concealing that fact that the majority of the time it is way to wet in there. Keep a box of cigars in there for two years and you may find them moldy or way to water rich to smoke. REMEMBER, I AM ONLY GUESSING. But pulling that much water out of the air it is intuitive that it is going to go somewhere when the cooler is not running.

If you're happy with the way your cigars are smoking... well ignore my advice or input. They are your cigars and your tastes and you are the only person that matters. - the Pig

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Man, Ray, you write some great content. Thanks for sharing with us as you do. I'm still chewing on some of your thoughts there... good stuff.

Good luck in your hunt, Bund. I liked Keith's addition as a practical solution which may not work for you but may for others.

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