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Desiccant Questions

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CelticKnot
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United States
1805 Posts
 Posted 02/18/2012  8:53 pm Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

Are the little desiccant packs found in shoe boxes, electronics, etc. suitable to use for protecting coins? I don't see why not, other than who knows how effective they are after weeks or months in those boxes.

I make a habit of grabbing those whenever I come across them and toss them into my safe.

How can you tell if they've absorbed all the moisture they're possibly going to absorb and need to be pitched? And do they ever return the moisture to the air or is it locked in there?

Valued Member
United States
418 Posts
 Posted 02/18/2012  9:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Funny Money to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I do the same thing. Throw em in the corner of the safe when I get them.
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 Posted 02/18/2012  10:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Buddy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I do too!

You really can't tell when they are used up -- that is, as full of moisture as they can get. They used to -- and maybe still do -- make some with cobalt. The beads were blue and turned pink when full of moisture. But they are carcinogenic.

I don't think they return the moisture to the air -- but I'm just guessing. The silica beads were used by the military as part of the gas-mask filtration system. So it would seem to me that they captured moisture but didn't release it. But that is just a guess.
Rest in Peace
United States
9104 Posts
 Posted 02/18/2012  10:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add biggfredd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Put them in a warm (250°F) oven once every few months to drive off the water.
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 Posted 02/19/2012  02:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mitchhailey to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
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 Posted 02/19/2012  10:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, guys. While I feel good about reusing those things (I /don't/ re-use the ones in beef jerky packs though :) ), does anyone have recommendations on nicer ones that don't necessarily need guesswork to tell when they are used up? I'm sure if I check Wizard Coin they'll have stuff I never even imagined would exist. But I thought I'd check with y'all first.
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United States
464 Posts
 Posted 02/20/2012  08:35 am  Show Profile Check wheatiefan's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add wheatiefan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, those are the same type of desiccants. Known as silica gel. They often say 'Do Not Eat' which I think is a little silly.

You can weigh them to find out when they are saturated. For a baseline, take a packet that's been sitting around a while, weigh it, then dry it out and weigh it. I believe they absorb ~40% of their weight.

Dry them in the oven as mentioned at just above 212* to drive all of the moisture. I use the microwave but am not sure if that's as effective. At first I was worried about the paper packets melting, but it didn't happen.

The ones with color changing indicators just use a different chemical, as mentioned. They are more expensive. To keep the costs down, you only need a few grains of the indicator types mixed in with a whole bucket of the regular grains to gain the visual benefit.

They should not 'release' moisture into the air, but attain an equilibrium where they no longer absorb moisture. In theory it's possible but not probable in a sealed, climate controlled environment.

Can't help you with sources as I've never bought any! If I did, I would only buy a small sample of the indicator type and keep recycling the free stuff.


-wheatiefan
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126 Posts
 Posted 02/20/2012  11:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ozerman to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I got somewhere along the line of 12 medium packets shipped for $6 to throw in my safe. Just made sense for such a low price, I'm sure anyone else can find them for the same price shipped and much lower. Still have some random ones saved from shoeboxes... just figured when it comes to protecting an investment its worth the sub $10
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284 Posts
 Posted 02/22/2012  08:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DM1975 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I get packets of these in the bottles with my crazy pills twice a month or so. They go straight into the safe or coin cabinet. I get so many of them I just cycle them out as I get them.
Rest in Peace
United States
9104 Posts
 Posted 02/26/2012  04:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add biggfredd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That crazy, eh?

Gun sellers, safe sellers and tobacco sellers should all have dessicants. Cigar sellers even have gauges that can read the humidity, so you know when they're no longer effective.
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United States
284 Posts
 Posted 02/26/2012  09:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DM1975 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Biggfredd, the crazy pills keep it all in check pretty well, you should give it a try

By the way, cigars have to be kept a little bit humid, not dry. You have to add moisture to the air rather than taking it out, so the stuff you get for them will help to maintain a humidity, not take the moisture out.
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 Posted 03/05/2012  6:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As to those giving off moisture, remember that if you can heat them and drive off the moisture, that should indicate to you that once filled to capacity with moisture, any increase in temperature will do the same. So in a safe as long as the temperature is stable, once they are saturated, should stay stable. HOWEVER, if the temperature in the safe or any inclosed area increases and those are full of moisture, they WILL give off humidity.
And be carefull of where those were before you use them. If in an area of Sulfur humid air, those gel packs may now contain Sulfur in the moisture. Not good for coins.
just carl
Edited by just carl
03/05/2012 7:00 pm
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