“Are humidification beads the same as ordinary desiccant silica gel?” Definitely NOT! Humidification beads give off water vapor, as well as absorb it, to maintain a specific RH which is ideal for a cigars particular need. This is not the case with silica gel which can only absorb water then must be dried out after it is saturated. By nature silica gel is not meant to control humidity, only lower it. Humidification beads are the premier product for precise control in terms of performance, cost effectiveness, and simplicity.
One good point to remember is humidification beads have an indefinite life span. There is nothing to wear out and all that is needed to maintain them is either the addition of distilled water or the drying out of the beads if they become water logged.
“How do I add distilled water to the beads when they get dry?”
There are a number of ways to do this. You can just pour distilled water on the beads. A lot of folks do it this way but the beads can fracture when it is done this way. One thing to remember, fracturing will not affect the efficiency of the beads or ruin them in any way, they will still do their job. A good rule of thumb is 25ml of distilled water per pound.
My 1/2 ounce humi tube takes 1-2 teaspoons of distilled water,
The 1 ounce humi tube takes 2-3 teaspoons of distilled water,
The 2 ounce humi tube takes 3-4 teaspoons of distilled water,
The four ounce humi tube takes 4-5 teaspoons of distilled water.
½ pound takes approximately 1-1 ½ tablespoons,
1 pound takes approximately 3-4 tablespoons.
You can put a container of distilled water, like a bowl, next to the beads and let them absorb the distilled water in this way. When they have absorbed all they can remove the bowl. This method is effective but takes a while for the beads to absorb the water.
The method I use and prefer is using a spray bottle. I purchased an inexpensive spray bottle at the grocery store and filled it with distilled water. When the beads need water I just spray them until they have absorbed enough distilled water. This method will work well if you have the beads in a bag or dish.
"If my beads are going white, should I add distilled water until they are all clear?"
The optimal is to have about 80% to 90% of the beads clear. Don't try to get them all clear because if you do they cannot absorb any sudden rise in humidity in your humi.
“What do I put the beads in?”
A great variety of containers are possible. You can use a Heartfelt drawstring mesh bag, Heartfelt Humi Tubes, place the beads in a shot glass or small dish, put them is a leftover container with holes drilled in the lid, nylon stockings (be careful stealing them from your wife or significant other) or any other container. The main point of whatever container you choose is to have the greatest amount of surface area as possible. If possible the beads should be no more than 1 to 1 ½ inches deep, this way they will work the best.
“How can I tell when the beads need water?”
This is very easy. The color of the beads is the dead giveaway. When they are full of distilled water they are pretty much clear and when they are completely dried out they are a bright white. Believe me you will be able to tell the difference.
You may have noticed that every time I mention the fluid that is added to the beads I say “distilled water”. This is extremely important; anything other than distilled water will ultimately ruin the beads. All the impurities in tap water will be drawn in by the beads and remain there. Ultimately the beads will get plugged up and not work anymore. The same is true with any type of humidifier solution (also known as 50/50 solution) this will also ruin the beads in the long run.
DO NOT immerse you beads in distilled water or dip the beads in distilled water. Trying to add distilled water this way will ultimately rinse out the salts that the beads are impregnated with. This rinsing off of the salts will ultimately make the beads not be able to hold the given rh level that they are set for.