Skip to main content

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Okay, maybe it's not cold yet, but it's certainly less hot! And on some particularly cool mornings, we'll be seeing an interesting effect on balloons. At the risk of sounding a little too scientific, let's explain.

The Science

In short, balloons will appear to shrivel up in the cold while they tend to expand in the heat. The reason is due to a density change of the molecules. (We warned you things may get a little scientific!) Cold weather makes the molecules more dense, which causes them to move around more slowly and within a smaller space. Because latex balloons are elastic, they will appear to "shrink" in extreme cold as the latex gives way to the smaller area of movement within. Foil balloons do not have the elasticity latex balloons do, but will appear to shrivel up as the foil around the unused space crinkles upon itself. As you can probably already guess, heat has the opposite effect. In this case, the molecules become less dense and begin to move around more rapidly and within a larger area, which causes the balloon to expand. In some cases, the balloon can expand until it pops. However, in most cases, the changes are only temporary. Once you return the balloons to room temperature, they will expand or contract again to a normal state.

The Solution

Between the two extremes, heat is the only one that has the potential of popping the balloon. So it's probably the one you'll want to try and avoid. However, unless you've inflated the balloon so that it's already very tight in room temperature, you won't have to worry about the heat too much either. You see, these changes are not necessarily bad, but they do raise a lot of questions from customers who are unaware of this phenomena. Now that you're aware of the reason balloons behave this way, you can differentiate between knowing when balloons are actually defective and deflating prematurely and when they're just temporarily responding to changes in their environment.

There's no way to avoid this completely (and you don't have to), but you can certainly decrease the impact temperature makes on your inflated balloons. To compensate for these "climate changes", try to follow the ground rules below.

1. If you've just bought a bouquet of balloons and you're about to load them into your vehicle, try to make sure the change in temperature will not be extreme. Make use of the AC or heater. It doesn't have to be room temperature in your car too, but the smaller the difference in temperature, the less of an effect there will be.
2. If you're inflating your own balloons and then transporting them, take note of the weather. If it's particularly warm out, don't inflate the balloons too much. Give them a little wiggle room so that when they expand, they won't pop!
3. Decorating outside? Balloons will take a beating in extreme heat or wind! Just know that the float life of the balloon will be adversely affected. Also the sun will fade latex balloons, making the colors less vibrant. For more information on float life, read The Float Life of Helium Balloons.

Written by: Miriam E. Medellin


Popular posts from this blog

Helium Cylinder Refills

At Helium Xpress, we can and do refill helium cylinders. However, there are certain criteria that must be met for us to legally and safely do so.

Please note if you purchased a Balloon Time kit from a store such as Party City or Walmart, these tanks are disposable and cannot be refilled. If you have an industrial cylinder, please continue to determine your refill eligibility.

Who Owns the Cylinder? This may sound like a trick question, but it's not. The answer to this question provides us with valid and important information regarding whether or not we can refill your cylinder. You might believe you are the owner of the cylinder because it's been on your property for as a long as you can remember, it has a self-made tag with your business name on it or because you personally paid for the cylinder. However, in some cases, it's still not your cylinder. This is why it's very important to purchase helium cylinders from a trusted source. Let us explain.

Business owners typi…

The HX Loyalty Program

Are you someone who throws parties often? Do you often have get-togethers and gatherings at your home on weekends? Do you love decorating and find yourself being asked by others to help decorate their events as well? If so, then you'll love this!

Chances are you have a lot of fun, but you might also be spending more than you need to on balloon decorations. Disposable Balloon Time kits are popular at several retail outlets due to their portability. We think they're great for small, infrequent events and you can learn more about them here. However, if you find yourself hosting or decorating for several events throughout the year, it may be beneficial to purchase your own small cylinder.

The HX Loyalty ProgramHow does it work? Well, in a nut shell, you buy a small cylinder from us and we'll continue to refill it at a reduced cost. If you were to bring us an outside-sourced small helium cylinder, we could fill it for $57. However, if you purchase one of our small cylinders, we…

Cylinder Sizes

We often get asked for height and weight measurements of helium cylinders. Whether you're renting or purchasing, it's good to know exactly what you're getting. It needs to meet your needs with regards to output, but in many cases, it also needs to be easily transported.

If you plan to be mobile while using your cylinder, make sure it's something you're comfortable transporting. Will you be able load it into a vehicle unassisted? If not, will someone be available to help you? Do you plan on transporting it a lot or just occasionally? These are just a few questions to ask yourself when deciding on a cylinder size. Consider the following information to assist in your decision-making.

Small Cylinder55 cu. ft.Inflates approximately 65 12" latex balloonsStands 27" tall and is approximately 8.5" in diameterWeighs in at 26 lbs.* (aluminum cylinder) Medium Cylinder125 cu. ft.Inflates approximately 200 12" latex balloonsStands 48" tall and is approx…