Urban Balloons Blog

Helium Facts

Save it for medical use

For as long as I have been doing balloons I have heard comments regarding the irresponsible use of helium for balloons when it is a limited resource important to the medical industry.

It is true, helium is used in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines and other medical and scientific equipment.  However this helium is Grade-A, 99.99% pure.  In the process of extracting this pure helium from natural gas reserves in the ground, a by-product of impure helium is found.  What is not collected and sold as balloon gas is released into the atmosphere as it is useless elsewhere.


US Geological Survey results have found that the world is not running out of helium, but rather it is becoming ‘unavailable’.  With the US selling off its helium reserves over the last several years it pushed prices down and deterred any new entrants into the helium extracting industry.  Once the US tanks are empty it is expected that more companies will enter the market and begin mining the yet untouched resources.

Above all else, the balloon industry uses a tiny 2-7% of the helium produced annually, a very small amount comparatively.

Float Time

Helium balloons will not stay floating on your ceiling forever.  In fact, depending on the size and quality of your balloon, it will usually only stay up there for about 12 – 18 hours.  This is because helium is a very thin gas and latex is porous so it doesn’t not take long for helium to start leaking out of the balloon.

An option to increase the float time of a latex balloon is by using a goo called Hi-Float.  This clear solution is squirted into the balloon and when the coating inside dries it has increased the thickness and hence delays the helium from seeping out.  In fact, in the right temperature conditions the balloon will now float for at least a week instead of less than a day!

Scattered Ceiling Balloons

Loose helium-filled balloons scattered on a ceiling with long ribbons attached is a really good decorating idea. 

It can also look very elegant with tulle ribbon instead of standard curling ribbon or really festive with extra ribbon attached and curled.

However, you do need to consider your venue, the size of it and what will work best.

High Ceiling

If the ceiling is high all your decoration will be up there where people don't spend all night (or day) looking.  By instead using floor bouquets (balloons attached to weights) or other decor, such as columns or arches, the balloons are in the eyesight of the viewer and aid in filling the venue with decoration.  

If you really want to put balloons on a high ceiling, long ribbons down to the height of your guests will fill in the space and draw the eye up to the decor.


Ceiling Balloons

If you do choose to have balloons scattered on the ceiling be mindful of the space and how many you will need to fill the area. For the best coverage you need to allow 10 balloons per square metre of ceiling area.

The following is 100 scattered ceiling balloons over 10 square metres.  

If the entire ceiling area is too large for you to get a good coverage with balloons, consider focusing on one area and do that well. For example, just the dance floor or the centre of the room or an area where the ceiling has been lowered. 

If you are not sure of the size of your ceiling contact your venue, they should already know or measure it for you.  However if are now deciding against balloons scattered on the ceiling, please call us and we can give you plenty of alternative ideas and suggestions.

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