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Helium • Helium Filled Balloons • Weights

Tank 55-CF

Helium is a colorless, non-toxic, non-flammable gas that is lighter than air. When balloons are filled with helium, they will float.

Helium can be obtained from a local industrial gas supplier. Check your telephone directory for listings.

Many different sized cylinders are available. In addition to the cost of the helium itself, some suppliers charge a monthly fee for the cylinder and require a security deposit.

You should also ask about delivery charges and whether or not a regulator is included with the cylinder. Regulators are discussed in detail in another section.

Helium Safety & Precautions

  • DO NOT inhale helium. While helium is a relatively safe gas, direct inhalation can cause dizziness, fainting, suffocation, and possibly death.
  • DO NOT leave cylinders unattended in a public area.
  • DO NOT open the cylinder valve before attaching an inflator to it.
  • Store cylinders in a secured, upright position where they will not accidentally fall. Cylinders should be chained to a wall or placed on a safety stand at all times.
  • Close the cylinder valve after each use and when the cylinder is empty.
  • When transporting cylinders, always close the cylinder valve, remove the regulator, and replace the valve cap.
  • Open cylinder valves slowly and stand to one side of the cylinder when opening cylinder valves. Never stand directly in front of the cylinder valve.
  • Never use a damaged cylinder or regulator.

Helpful Hint

Keep outdoor conditions in mind when inflating balloons with helium. Helium is hot and cold sensitive and will expand or contract in extreme temperatures.

For example, a balloon inflated in a warm room and taken outside to very cold condition will seem to lose helium. But when the balloon is returned to normal temperatures it will expand back to its original shape.

The opposite is true in hot weather conditions. If a balloon is inflated to the maximum and taken outside to very hot conditions, it could burst from the expansion of helium.

Handle With Care

Helium is stored in highly pressurized cylinders ranging from 1800-2400 pounds per square inch. A ruptured helium cylinder can be compared to a missile or the equivalent of two pounds of TNT.

Helium Filled Foil Balloons

Self-sealing Valves
The majority of 18" and larger sized foil balloons manufactured today have self-sealing valves. As soon as a balloon is filled with helium and removed from the regulator, the self-sealing valve automatically closes. Be sure to tie the ribbon below the self-sealing valve. Curling ribbon tied above the self-sealing valve could cause helium to escape quickly and would prevent proper re-inflation if the balloons should need "refreshing". Balloons that do not have a self- sealing valve must be sealed using a heat sealer.

Helium Filled Balloon

Packaged Foil Balloons
Many 18" balloon designs are individually pre-packaged. Packaged balloons can be displayed on a spinner or wall rack. The customer can choose the balloons directly from the rack and bring them to the counter for inflation.

Inflating Special Shapes
Special shaped balloons need extra care when inflating. Inflate slowly and do not overfill. These balloons are not as strong as round balloons.


14750 Ballon Weights

Every helium-filled balloon should have a balloon weight attached. If a cluster of balloons is sold, each individual balloon should have a weight. Balloon weights can be purchased or made from any item heavy enough to weigh down a balloon-baskets, mugs, and gift totes make excellent weights.

Inflation In High Altitudes
Some foil balloons will not float in high altitudes. If you are located in a high altitude area, please consider the following when ordering foil balloons:

Balloons that are 21" or larger are more likely than 18" to float in high altitudes.

  • 18" balloons that have detailed designs use more ink, which may cause the balloon to be heavier and less likely to float in a high altitude. This is also true for all two-sided, 18" balloons.
  • 18", round-shaped balloons generally float better than heart, star, or other shaped balloons.
  • Also, keep in mind that balloon weights and ribbons attached to balloons can affect the floating ability in high-altitude areas.
Balloon Council
Proper Disposal of Foil Balloons
Encourage customers to properly dispose of foil balloons by cutting them open to release helium and then discarding them in a trash container. Unlike latex balloons, foil balloons are not biodegradable. They are, however, recyclable with plastic. Never release foil balloons into the atmosphere.

Helium Chart

Helpful Hint

Before inflating a self-sealing foil, tie a balloon weight to one end of a ribbon and attach the other end of the ribbon to the foil following inflation.

It is important that the ribbon be tied below the self-sealing valve of the foil balloon. Attaching ribbon above the valve can cause a slow leak.

By attaching the ribbon and weight, time is saved and balloons will not escape if accidentally released after inflation.

Never use a heat sealer on a self-sealing balloon. It could cause damage to the self-sealing valve.

To release helium from a self-sealing balloon, place a long straw up inside balloon through the valve and gently press down on balloon to release helium.


Never use metallic ribbon on helium-filled foil or latex balloons. If accidentally released into the air, the ribbon could cause electrical failure if caught in power lines.