How to Buy a Helium Tank

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As any parent knows, the car ride home from the party store with 25 balloons for your child's birthday party can be a challenge and may bring up the question, "Why don't we just buy a helium tank and fill the balloons at home ourselves?" Helium tanks are available for sale and come in a variety of sizes. While helium is a non-flammable and non-toxic gas, there are a number of considerations and safety procedures to keep in mind before making your purchase.

Considerations

  • Determine the size of the tank needed based on the task at hand. If you only need to fill 20-30 balloons for a party, you may want to consider a disposable tank. Note that once empty, you will not be able to refill the tank. If you have to fill 100 balloons or more, consider purchasing a larger, refillable tank.

  • Remember the helium. If you purchase a larger, non-disposable helium tank from an online supplier, they generally will arrive empty. Larger helium tanks will need to be filled locally.

  • Select your valve. There are a number of valves, which are also called regulators, available: economy, deluxe, Mylar (capable of filling foil balloons) and dual speed (fill two balloons at once).

  • Research your retail options and compare prices.

  • Test your tank every five years. If you purchase a non-disposable helium tank, it is important to undergo "hydrostatic testing" periodically every five years to be sure the tank is not ruptured.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get training on how to work the tank. If you purchase your tank or get it filled locally, check with store employees on how to properly use it. If you purchase the tank online, many retailers provide a contact phone number or email address if you have questions about the tank.
  • Think safety at all times when transporting your helium tank. It is dangerous to breathe in the gas, so if you are transporting a helium tank cylinder it is recommended that it be placed in the trunk of the car. If it needs to be transported inside the car, it must be secured, and it's a good idea for the driver to drive with at least one window open.

References

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