Those who read my previous post may recall that I had set up my drying tent with a humidifier on the bottom and my air intake and outtake fans operating at a lower speed. I can safely say after a couple days that this did not work; while this approach has kept my digital humidifier from running solidly and prevented it from going through a ton of water, my bud is drying way too quickly on the upper levels of the drying rack. This calls for an intervention.
The uneven drying between top and bottom triggered a memory from my cigar aficionado days when I converted a wine cooler into a digital humidor.
I remember a handful of basic principles from that project which could apply to the current situation:
- To prevent cigars from drying out, the cooler had to be fully sealed. Wine coolers don't come sealed, so I had to silicone all the openings in the back. Humidity packs were placed on each level to maintain humidity at a fixed percentage. Extra dry cigars placed in the humidor would eventually come up to the right humidity, and extra wet cigars would eventually dry to the right humidity.
- Humidity is inversely affected by temperature, and colder air settles. I had to keep a slow running fan at the bottom blowing air upward to keep humidity and temperature from varying too wildly between the top and bottom of the humidor. Cigars are prone to mold at above about 75% humidity and are ideally kept around 63%-70% humidity, so the fan helps to keep the environment from being favourable to mold.
- The temperature inside the humidor should be kept stable but ideally shouldn't be too far off the temperature outside the humidor to avoid condensation from forming and ruining the cigars.
Obviously, this situation is a bit different; here, we are looking to have the bud eventually dry out, just not too quickly. We also aren't able to make the tent into a completely sealed environment. We can, however, slow the dry by simply turning off the fans venting air in and out of the tent. This increases mold risk, but I'll come back to that in a moment.
The next problem is my humidifier placement. Since cooler air settles and therefore the lower part of the tent ends up being higher relative humidity than the upper part of the tent (resulting in drier buds at the top) my placement of the humidifier on the bottom of the tent was very silly; the air at the bottom of the tent remained stagnant and so the humidifier barely ran. I've now put my old spacebin into the tent as a stand for the humidifier, allowing humidity to at least start at the top of the tent:
To keep the humidity from being uneven from top to bottom of the tent, there are a couple of options:
- Heat the mist so it rises more initially and precipitates downward as it cools; or
- Run a fan blowing air upward to keep cold air from settling for too long.
The problem with #1 is introducing a heating element to the cooler air inside and around the tent creates a risk of condensation – both the increased temperature and increased moisture is a breeding ground for mold. #1 is clearly not an ideal option.
Conveniently, I have fans inside the tent making #2 the easiest to pull off. Since taking the photo above, I've repositioned the spacebin and humidifier to the right-hand side of the tent, and adjusted the fan on the left to blow air upward. The humidifier is running more frequently now as the humidity at the top of the tent drops slowly (the tent is still leaky), but the measured humidity at various positions within the tent is more consistently high. This should actually slow the dry effectively. I just wish I'd thought harder about the setup earlier.
I'm going to monitor this new setup closely, of course, but it's already showing promise. I ordered a new temperature and humidity monitor that should help me keep better tabs on things, though upon consideration I should have ordered two (one for near the top of the tent and one for near the bottom).