Every five or so years, the helium industry experiences a demand that exceeds the supply. Furthermore, helium isn’t cheap, regardless of times of surplus or shortage. If you want to save your dollars and get the most out of every molecule of the notoriously leaky gas, these super-easy checks will teach you how to conserve helium.
How to conserve helium in storage
1. When you’re not using your helium cylinder, shut it off! Helium molecules are notoriously tricky to keep contained and are able to permeate many materials. While helium cannot permeate metals like aluminum or steel, the molecules have been shown to escape from a cylinder with a regulator attached when it is left on after use.
2. Monitor and mark your tanks. Use a helium regulator with a gauge to monitor how much helium is left in your tanks, and mark them “empty” or “full” before returning them to storage.
3. Keep two separate storage areas to avoid losing a full or partially full cylinder. After a tank is fully emptied, immediately move it to a storage area that you have designated for empty tanks only. Keep partially and fully filled tanks in a separate storage area until you’ve used all of the helium.
How to conserve helium during ordering and transport
4. Always refer to cylinders by their size in cubic feet. Product names vary from supplier to supplier, and item or order numbers can change in a system, so whenever you’re ordering or reordering helium cylinders, always refer to them by the one descriptor that cannot change: the cubic feet of the tank.
5. Check every delivery to make sure you get the proper sized tank.
6. When your cylinders are delivered, check to make sure they’re completely full. You cannot tell if a helium tank is full unless you use a gauged regulator. A full tank will register about 2000 PSI.
How to conserve helium using inflation equipment
7. Keep your inflation equipment in good condition. Worn, nicked, or cracked O-rings will allow helium to escape, so monitor their condition and keep replacements on-hand. Regularly look at the latex and/or foil inflation tips on your regulator and inspect for any cracks or gaps. Listen closely to the regulator. If you hear leaking, repair or replace the regulator immediately.
8. Use a 60/40 inflator to fill latex balloons. 60/40 inflators like the BR6040L, are designed with an air mixer that pulls in regular air and mixes it with helium (60% helium, 40% air), extending the life of your tank by 40%! The beauty of a 60/40 like the BR6040L is that you can still use it to fill with 100% helium as well if you need or want to.
9. For foil balloons, use an inflator designed with a foil regulator. Some foil balloon inflators, like Zephyr’s BRFO with gauge feature a built-in auto shut-off that cuts off the flow of helium as soon as the foil balloon is filled. If you have a regulator without an auto shut-off feature, stop the helium flow as soon as the balloon is fully inflated. You will see the pressure gauge drop once the balloon is full.
How to conserve helium during use
10. Don’t use it! If you are filling balloons for displays or decorations that do not need to float, just fill them with air!
11. Use the proper tips when filling different balloons. Latex and foil inflator tips have specialized, unique designs that have been perfected to minimize and even eliminate helium waste. Always use just the latex tip for latex balloons, and the foil tip for foil balloons.
12. Use it all up! Make sure you fully empty your helium tank by using all of it up before sending it back to your helium supplier.
Speaking of helium suppliers, we know a great one…
Zephyr supplies helium and related equipment to retail chains and high-volume stores all over the world. We are the only wholesale helium supplier with a national distribution network throughout all 50 United States, which allows us to deliver helium to geographic areas that our competitors simply cannot reach. Want numbers? Get a free online helium quote from us here!
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How to conserve helium freebie
Here is a handy PDF checklist on how to conserve helium, which is free for you to download, save, and share as you see fit.