Care and Maintenance of Helium Inflatables

When working with helium-filled inflatables, it’s important to keep several basic tips in mind. With proper care and maintenance, your helium inflatables will give you lots of use down the road.

1. Not all helium is created equal. Helium-filled inflatables require 99% pure helium so when you shop around, be sure to ask for standard industrial helium (99% pure), not party balloon or medical helium.

2. You will need to add helium to your inflatable every three to five days. If you’re planning long-term use of your inflatable, ask your helium supplier if he/she can deliver fresh tanks as needed.

3. If using your inflatable outdoors, be sure to select a site that is clear from power lines, trees, buildings, and poles. These items can damage or destroy your inflatable, and cause possible injury to you or others in the process.

4. FAA regulations state that you may not fly your balloon at a height of over 150' nor within a five-mile radius of an airport without permission.

5. It’s always wise to check the local sign ordinances to make sure you are in compliance with regulations.

6. If you are inflating your helium balloon in cold weather, take note. Towards the end of the inflation, when the balloon starts to take shape, finish the process very slowly to allow the cold material time to stretch without damage. If the temperature is below freezing, the final phase of inflation must be done in stages.

7. Be sure the tether line from the balloon to its anchor does not rub against any nearby objects. Severing your tether line will send your balloon sailing!

8. Pack your inflatable only when it is completely dry, and store it in a place free from moisture. This prevents mold and/or mildew from accumulating and damaging your balloon.

Frequently Asked Questions: Helium Balloons

Helium inflatables are fun and exciting but are very different in function and care than cold-air or sealed inflatables. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about helium inflatables that can help you with their use and maintenance.

Q: What's included when I purchase a helium inflatable?

A: You get practically everything you need except the helium. When you purchase a helium inflatable from Landmark Creations, we include 135 feet of tether line, quick links and a reel. You also get a repair kit in case of an accident and complete filling and flying instructions. Just add helium and you're flying high!

Q: I've just repaired my helium inflatable with the included patch kit. How long should I wait before I inflate again?

A: Because of the way helium inflatables expand and contract with the gas as well as with the air pressure, you'll want to wait a bare minimum of two to three hours. Ideally, we suggest waiting 24 hours before use after applying a patch.

Q: Landmark's FAQ article says I need 99% pure helium and not medical or party balloon helium. What does that mean?

A: Helium comes in a wide range of grades from 90% up to 99.999%. Certain industries use different grades for a variety of purposes. For example, medical grade helium (99.9% pure) is more expensive than the helium gas needed for inflatable blimps. On the other hand, party balloon helium is not as pure, but comes in very small tanks. To purchase the amount needed for a helium inflatable would make this form of helium cost prohibitive also. Helium that is 99% pure is of good quality while also being cost efficient.

Q: Where can I buy helium to fill my inflatable?

A: Many rental supply centers carry helium tanks for rent. They usually range from 40–300 cu ft. per tank. Praxair is a helium supplier with locations all across the globe.

Q: How much helium will I need?

A: That depends on the size and shape of your helium inflatable. Landmark will provide specific instructions when we deliver your inflatable, explaining how much helium is needed. For example: a 10' blimp is 72 cu ft. and an 8.5' ball (sphere) is 322 cu ft., so, as you can see, each inflatable will have different needs.

Wintertime Tips for Helium Inflatables

You don't see helium-filled inflatables used outdoors as frequently in the wintertime. That's because helium behaves differently as the weather turns cold. When the temperature falls helium contracts making it difficult (but not impossible) to use. If you need your helium inflatables for parades or for indoor fairs or exhibits patience is going to be the key. Here are some tips that will help you remain afloat.

1. After you've connected the tube from your inflatable to the helium tank, open the tank very slowly. Helium is stored under extreme pressure. Releasing this gas quickly can damage your balloon.

2. Open the helium tank slowly (only about half-way) until the balloon fills to at least 50% capacity. In cold weather the gases can freeze the sides of the balloon to each other if inflation isn't paced.

3. When your balloon is about 75% filled, begin to slow the rate of helium you add. In cold weather, the balloon's material can become stiff and crack or tear if it isn't allowed time to adjust to the temperature. Take the remaining 25% of the inflation in three stages. Inflate slowly then allow the balloon to rest for several minutes. Add a little more helium and allow the balloon to rest. Then complete the inflation. This process provides time for the material to stretch without danger of tearing.

Also remember that standard protocols for inflating with helium will still apply regardless of the time of year. • Select a site that is clear of power lines, buildings, trees and other potential dangers. If you'll be indoors, keep an eye out for ceiling lights and ceiling fans that might cause damage to your balloon.

• To begin your inflation, lay out a tarp underneath the balloon for added protection during the initial phases.

• Find your tether points. You should anchor your inflatable to objects that are heavy and sturdy. Tie off points will need to hold three times the lift force of the balloon itself due to wind and other factors.

• Once the balloon is fully inflated and tethered, it can be released into the air! NEVER allow the tether line to slide through your bare hands during the launch. This can cause serious rope burns. Always wear gloves for protection.

•After inflation, rain, ice and snow will not hurt the material of your inflatable. However, the added weight will reduce the lift and affect the flying performance. Rain should not be a serious problem, but accumulating ice and snow will be so it is advisable to keep a cautious eye on helium inflatables during foul weather.

•Helium balloons are an enchanting part of the holiday season. With a few precautions and some additional planning you can enjoy helium-filled inflatables all year long.

Custom Inflatables FAQ

What is a cold-air inflatable?

Custom inflatables that are labeled cold-air require a blower system (fan) to keep them upright. Cold-air inflatables include sports tunnels, large product replicas, mascots, rooftop inflatables, etc. Cold-air inflatables do not “fly” or float in the air like helium-filled inflatables.

I’m looking to rent an inflatable (fill-in-the-blank) – can Landmark help me?

Sorry, but no. We do not rent inflatables, each of our structures are custom manufactured for purchase only. We do not have anything in-stock as everything is made to order with your specific needs in mind. We think it’s better that way!

What is included in my inflatable purchase?

Depending upon what you purchase your inflatable can include a blower system, installation hardware, instructions, ground stakes, tethers, cambuckles, a repair kit all wrapped up in a storage bag. We also offer specialty storage and shipping container options upon request.

Do inflatables need constant airflow? How does it stay inflated?

The answer is different depending on the type of inflatable you have. Landmark specializes in cold-air inflatables; this style does require a constant source of airflow. Our custom inflatables come complete with a blower that should be kept running while the inflatable is in use. Sealed inflatables do not require a source of airflow. Helium inflatables do not require a source of airflow, but must be filled with 99% pure helium to remain afloat. The helium will need to be replenished every three to five days.

Does my blower system need to stay plugged in and turned on to keep it inflated?

Yes. Cold-air inflatables require a blower system (fan) to keep it upright. You’ll need to plug in the blower system, turn it on & keep it on as long as your promotion lasts!

How is the blower (fan system) attached?

That depends on the type of blower your inflatable has. For external blowers use the zipper and Velcro strap to simply attach the blower sleeve to the blower tube. Internal blowers are permanently installed in the inflatable. No action is necessary.

Can I hang a custom inflatable from the ceiling (at a trade show, museum, etc.)?

 But of course! Our inflatables can be designed with the blower system placed at the top of the structure allowing it to be hung. An inflatable used in this way will include the hanging hardware required for installation. Note: If you plan to suspend an inflatable at your next trade show review the regulations and requirements of the show prior to purchasing!

Do you provide straps to keep inflatables grounded?

Yes, cold-air shapes do come with tether straps and ground stakes that keep the inflatables secured to the ground or roof can be added to your order as needed.

I can’t use ground stakes at my location? What can I use to secure my inflatable?

Depending upon how large your inflatable is you have a few options: Sandbags, water barrels, stationary items and solid weights are some popular anchoring options. Once an inflatable project is designed we can offer installation advice!

How can I maintain the inflatable and continue using it for years to come?

It is not hard to keep your inflatables in good shape. Just follow these simple steps:

Keep your inflatable away from sharp objects to prevent punctures and tears.
Always completely deflate your inflatable before storing it.
Be sure your inflatable is completely dry before storing it to prevent the development of mold or mildew.
Store your inflatable in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading.
Each year, do a quick inspection of the blower, tether straps and seams to be sure your inflatable is not in need of repairs.

800.553.3593   |  952.895.0947   |  3240 West Co Rd 42 Burnsville, MN 55337 USA