Skip to main content

Helium Valves and Balloon Inflators: Use, Care and Safety

The words valve and inflator are often used interchangeably, but they are two separate (though complementary) components of balloon inflation. The valve is permanently attached to the cylinder while the inflator simply attaches to the valve to allow for inflation.

It's important to know how to safely attach and remove the inflator. However, there are other guidelines to abide by when handling helium cylinder valves and inflators - both for general safety and for promoting inflator longevity.

Using the Balloon Inflator

To start, remove the cylinder cap from the cylinder and secure the inflator to the valve. In the past, wrenches were required for this step, but this is now rarely the case. Check the packaging on your specific inflator to be sure, but most inflators will specifically state "hand-tighten only" on the package.

The next step is opening the valve. Turn the handle in a counter-clockwise motion to open the valve. You'll hear and/or feel a click, which lets you know the valve is open. NOTE: The top of the handle indicates which directions open and close the valve.

If you simply tilt or bend the rubber tip of your inflator, helium will be released from the cylinder. If you are using a foil balloon inflator, then helium will be released when you push the foil balloon nozzle down.

Once you are done inflating balloons, close the valve and release the pressure from the inflator by tilting the rubber tip once more. Remove the inflator and secure the cylinder valve with its cap.

To see this all in action, watch our video below. It will outline the same steps to attach and remove an inflator as well as provide tips for proper care in between uses.


Care

Your balloon inflator may or may not look exactly like the one shown in the video, but the same principles apply. Be aware that inflators are typically damaged and deemed unusable as a result of falling. Handle them with care and store them in a safe space such as a drawer.

If your inflator has stopped working, let us know. We may be able to repair it for you.

Let us know if you're unsure about any handling provisions mentioned. And remember to always take great care when dealing with helium valves and balloon inflators.



For additional information on the products featured in our video, visit our accessories page. There, you'll find inflators, cylinder caps and cylinder stands.

Related Reading: Understanding Your Balloon Inflator with Gauge




Written by: Miriam E. Medellin

Comments

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. The owner

Vinyl "Balloons"?

What are they? Well, we liken them to beach balls on a stick. They're composed of vinyl and are inflated with air. That's right, no helium required. We've seen them pop up at apartment complexes, car lots and storefronts. We get asked about these "balloons" from time to time, so let us review the pros and cons of purchasing and using these so-called balloons. At first glance, they sound like an efficient choice. They don't require helium so you can immediately suspend that expense. And they're reusable so you don't have to replace the balloons on a regular basis. Another perk would be that employees, office managers and store owners do not have to spend time inflating balloons on a daily or weekly basis. You can expect to spend around $30 per balloon if you're shopping from the cheaper end of the spectrum. However, this will include the pole, clamps, and other assembly items needed for that balloon. Various options are available regarding the

The Float Life of Helium Balloons

Customers always ask how long balloons last. This is sometimes difficult to answer as many variables can impact a balloon's float life. However, the answer is essential to party planning. Helium-filled balloons float due to the simple fact that helium is lighter than air. Because latex balloons are porous, helium slowly seeps through the pores. As less helium is left in the balloon, the balloon decreases in size and simultaneously floats lower to the ground until there is no longer a sufficient amount to keep the balloon afloat. The typical indoor float life of 12" latex balloons is 10-12 hours. If outdoors, this float life can be expected to decrease by at least half. Part of the reason a balloon doesn't float as long outdoors is due to temperature. The hotter it is, the more susceptible the balloon is to popping. In contrast, balloons typically contract in extreme cold, which decreases the size of the balloon. Ceilings that are texturized or have abrasive surfaces