Helium Inflation Basics

by Jan Iiams

Balloons seem so basic it's easy to overlook wasted dollars from improper handling

Don't let the whimsical nature of balloons mislead you. You can spend a lot of money in wasted helium and balloon breakage-not to mention customer dissatisfaction-due to improper inflation. Efficiency and precision sizing saves time and money, and your perfect balloon designs will build customer loyalty better than any other effort to build a more successful business.

Valves: Different balloons, different needs

*Latex balloons. Many retailers aren't aware there are various types of valves available for use for filling latex balloons. Instead, they rely on their intuition for proper inflation. But you can waste and helium using this technique. After all, over-inflating an 11-inch balloon to 13 inches uses twice the gas. Instead, opt for a digital inflator on which you pre-set the balloon size and the equipment automatically and consistently inflates it using the correct amount of helium.

*Foil balloons. You cannot properly inflate a foil balloon using a valve designed for latex products. Judging the size according to whether the wrinkles on the crease disappear can cause you to easily over- or under-inflate a foil balloon, especially when temperatures vary. An under-inflated balloon is eventually going to droop, and an over-inflated balloon wastes helium and is at greater risk of popping, especially in hot climates. For proper inflation, foil balloons require a valve that can sense the pressure inside the balloon and stop inflation when it reaches a certain level. Note: using this auto fill foil outlet also can increase the float time up to 30%! Great for longer lasting, point of purchase sales. Conwin inflators offer auto shut off valves on many models from the basic Precision Plus, the Duplicator 2 and Hi Float Inflator which are perfect for retail store settings, and the Dual Split Second Sizer now includes the Auto-Fill Foil Outlet.

A tip: Make sure you tie ribbon to foil balloons below the valve opening. Tying above the valve can damage it and cause a slow leak. Also, if a balloon becomes limp, you can easily add more helium when you haven't tied off the valve.

*Bubble balloons. Bubble balloons consist of a balloon shape inside a separate balloon. They are made of a different material than latex and foil. Thus, this newer product has different needs for proper inflation. To save you from having to switch valves between filling latex, foil and bubbles, a new specialty valve offers two tips: one for latex and a second for foil and bubbles. A dial indicator allows you to switch between three settings. One is for foil balloons, a second fills the inside shape of a bubble balloon, while the third fills the outside balloon on a bubble.

When properly filled, the new Bubble Balloons will easily float 3 - 4 weeks!

Helium-tank do's and don'ts

Helium (He) is the second-lightest element on earth. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-flammable gas.


Strap the helium cylinder onto a 2 or 4 Wheel Hand Truck, remove the filler valve and tightly secure cap when moving it.

Store upright on a flat, level surface and secure in a Cylinder Safety Stand or Hand Truck. You can use a Cylinder Safety Wall Bracket to easily secure a tank to a wall.

Accessory Equipment and Products

To make fast and consistent double bubbles, (a larger clear balloon on the outside and a smaller usually colorful balloon inside) Conwin now has an inflation accessory, the Double Bubble Outlet, for the Dual Split Second Sizer that fills both balloons simultaneously.

Hi Float is a helium retention chemical that extends the float life of a helium latex balloon. Now, with new Ultra Hi Float, the longevity of a lighter than air balloon is absolutely amazing! You'll build customer loyalty and repeat business by treating every balloon, every time.

For more information on safe and efficient inflation, see www.ConwinOnline.com , www.Qualatex.com and of course, watch for daily posts from your peers on BHQ for information that supports the success of your growing business.

Happy Ballooning!
Jan Iiams, CBA
Conwin, Inc.