When planning a party, big or small, balloons are often a big part of the decorations. Some choose to blow them up using their lungs and then tape them, to chairs, poles, or walls. Others prefer to rent a helium tank from a welding supply store or gas and gear and take balloon decorations to a whole new level. Handling a helium tank is not to be taken lightly. If handled improperly, a devastating accident could happen. Here are some reminders and steps to ensure you handle a helium tank properly
When handling a helium cylinder, it is important to review safety instructions. Before using the cylinder for inflation, check to make sure it is properly secured. It may be fastened to a wall, safety bracket or cylinder stand. While in transport, make sure the cylinder does not tip over. Also, when moving the cylinder, be sure to keep the cylinder cap securely attached. The cylinder cap may be removed only after the cylinder is secured. If for any reason the cylinder cap is lost or misplaced, a new one can be purchased at a welding supply company.
Receiving the Helium Tank
If you are using a helium tank rental company, the tank should arrive with the cap in place, once the helium tank has bee properly secured, then it is safe to remove the cylinder cap. This can be done by turning it counterclockwise. After removing the cylinder cap, place the cap close by since you will need to place it back on if you need to move the cylinder. Now the tank is ready for one of the most common helium uses.
Attaching the Balloon Inflator
The balloon inflator can also be called a regulator. It is a piece that will fill the balloon with helium. Since the cap has already been removed, the inflator can be attached. Insert the end of the regulator that is threaded, into the valve opening and secure it by turning it clockwise until there is a tight fit. It may be tempting, but do not use a wrench to tighten the nozzle. If you should break or lose the inflator, a new one can be purchased at a welding supply store.
Opening the Valve
With the inflator in place, you can open the valve. Turn the valve located at the top of the tank, counterclockwise. Do not be alarmed when you hear a small pop in the inflator. That is caused by pressure from the helium. If the helium tank rental company filled the tank all the way, there should be 2000psi. Now you can fill the balloons.
Filling Helium Balloons
There are two different types of inflator tips, basic latex inflator, and dual-tip foil and latex inflator. The basic latex inflator is used to blow up common latex balloons. By placing the opening of the balloon around the nozzle, the nozzle will begin to release helium once it is tilted at an angle. Once the helium begins to flow into the balloon, be sure to monitor the size carefully. Keep in mind that helium expands so you do not want to overinflate.
A dual-tip foil and latex balloon inflator can be used to inflate both latex and foil balloons. To fill a foil balloon, simply slide the opening of the foil balloon over the brass valve. When the valve on the regulator is pushed in, the helium will begin to flow out of the tank into the balloon. A precaution to take is not to push the balloon opening too far over the valve as it may end up breaking the seal on the balloon, causing it to tear. This specific type of regulator is designed to stop the flow of helium once the balloon is fully inflated.
Now you understand how to inflate foil and latex balloons, there are still steps to take to secure the helium tank safely. As mentioned earlier, you want to remove all valves and replace all caps tightly. Remember, any lost valves of caps can be replaced at a welding supply store. Keep the tank in a secure location until the helium tank rental company can pick it up. When handled properly, helium tanks can add more joy to any party. Keep these tips in mind next time you decorate.
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