A: Sounds like you need to calibrate your hygrometer. 44% is awful low unless you have the humidor sitting on a hot air duct. Copy the following link below to learn how to calibrate: http://www.cigarsinternational.com/cigar-101/article/29/salt-test/
A: I always recommend using propylene glycol with beads/crystals. However, beads/crystals do contain some propylene glycol already, so it is not necessary. If cost is not a concern I would keep using it. But distilled water will also get your across the finish line.
A: If your humidor is new, always season before you do anything else. With that said, you can leave your jar in there if you would like. Some people do, some people don't. I always do just for good measure.
A: If you don't take the lid off, you've got nothing more than a paperweight (the picture showing the lid on is more for placement/size purposes of the jar).When you take the lid off, you'll see the holes/slits where the moisture is released. Some people keep their lids under the jar while in use. That way in case they need to seal it up, or store it for a while, they can. I just throw mine away, but the choice is yours.
A: Generally, you add water when humidity levels show signs of dropping, or the beads/crystals shrink. However, it is the summer time, and the outside air/air conditioning can be responsible for spikes and drops in humidity. If you find yours running higher, don't add as much distilled water as you usually do. Another large factor in humidity levels is how many cigars you have in your unit. A good rule of thumb is to keep your unit somewhere between a handful and a lot, but never packed to the gills or bone empty (this allows for circulation) Also, you might need to recalibrate your hygrometer. Copy this link for a brief tutorial on calibrating: http://www.cigarsinternational.com/cigar-101/article/29/salt-test/ There are always a lot of factors at play when maintaining humidity. If you still have questions, please contact customer service. We have plenty of people knowledgeable in this area.
A: Some people will argue with one being the absolute correct answer. I've found both to work. However, the bottom is a bit larger and has more room for circulation. The top shelf is near the lid, and doesn't allow for circulation quite as well. I would stick with the bottom. Just don't pack your top shelf to the point where all the slits are covered, this prevents circulation.
A: That is personal preference. It isn't required since the cellophane is porous and will allow the humidity to reach the cigar. It also works as a protector from damage to the wrapper leaf, and allows you to tell which cigars have been aging longest with the cellophane gaining a yellow tint the longer the cigar rests.
A: When the crystals are not expanding when you add distilled water anymore, it is time for a new jar. If you keep up with refilling the jar and do not let the crystals sit bone dry for an extended period of time, they should last you over two years.