Having your own helium tank is useful if you are throwing a large party or frequently host events. Fortunately, it's straightforward to get a helium tank refilled. Just take it to a party supply or welding and gas company that offers the service.
Get a Helium Tank Refill
Not all helium tanks are refillable. Trying to refill a tank designed for a single-use can be dangerous and cause the container to burst and injure anyone standing nearby. If you have a refillable tank, the first step is to contact stores near you to find one that offers refill services. You may be able to get a refill at the same location where you purchased the original tank. If that store is no longer open or if you have moved, there are other options for getting a helium tank refill.
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Do an internet search to find party stores, balloon stores and welding and gas companies in your local area. If they offer helium tank refills, these companies often list the service on the website. Call stores near you to confirm they can refill the tank and find out what hours the store is open to provide the service. This is also an opportunity to compare prices for helium.
Once you have found a location, take the tank to the store for the refill. Be sure to remove the balloon inflator attachment from the tank and replace it with the steel cap for transport. Make sure the tank is secure and won't roll around or fall while you are driving.
Helium Tank Considerations
Before an event, make sure you have enough helium to meet your needs as it may take time to get a refill, and not all stores are open on weekends and holidays. For a small 7-inch balloon, plan on using about 0.15 cubic feet of helium per balloon. A larger, 11-inch balloon uses about 0.5 cubic feet and an 18-inch foil balloon uses about 0.44 cubic feet of helium.
If you are going to own a helium tank, it is important to use and store it safely. Don't allow children near uninflated balloons or near the tank, as both can be hazards. Don't spray helium into your mouth or face as the pressure of the gas can cause injury. Use helium outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. Take care not to drop or puncture the cylinder.
When you store the canister, make sure the room is dry, because moisture can cause helium tanks to rust. The storage location should not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Disposable Versus Refillable Tanks
Purchasing a refillable tank can be more expensive than a disposable helium tank. However, if you frequently have parties, a refillable cylinder can be a more cost-effective option. Some party stores will also rent refillable tanks, which is a great option for a single event.
If you do opt for a disposable tank, be aware that you cannot simply toss it in the trash. When you are finished using the tank, make sure to empty it completely. Contact your recycling company to see if it will accept it in curbside pickup. Alternatively, check for steel recycling companies in your local area. Make sure you follow all state and local regulations regarding the disposal of a compressed gas tank.