BMTV 84 – Increasing Balloon Float Times with Hi-Float

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In this week’s show we are joined by Mark Drury as he demonstrates Hi-Float and the techniques to get the maximum float life out of your balloons! Using Hi-Float can make normal 11-inch balloons float for up to 25 times longer and Mark even reveals that in his tests, he gets at least 9 weeks float life out of an 11-inch Qualatex balloon, so it really is a great product!

If you weren’t aware, Hi-float is a fluid that you put inside balloons to prevent the gas from escaping so easily. It can be described as the glue on a postage stamp mixed with water. Latex is a net-like material when viewed under a microscope, and Helium is one of the smallest molecules that exists. When you inflate a balloon, the latex is stretched out further and over time the Helium molecules will escape through the ‘net’. Hi-Floating your balloons can reduce this effect by creating a solid layer that helps block the holes of the net and prevents the helium from escaping so easily. It is important to note that high-quality latex balloons (like Qualatex) have a tight-net structure anyway so they will stay floating even longer with Hi-Float, whereas a cheaper product won’t last as long.

Preparing Hi-Float

Right, onto the product itself. We have a few different options depending on how much Hi-Float you’re planning to use. If you’re a beginner and just want to give it a go, then we recommend the Hi-Float kit which includes a 473ml bottle of Hi-Float and a dispenser pump that gives you just the right amount of Hi-Float for 11-inch latex balloons. If you’re going to be using a lot of it then we sell a 710ml bottle and massive 2.8L bottle! You will need to buy the dispenser pump separately for these but the pump will be supplied with several clips that allow you to expel the correct amount of Hi-Float for a number of different balloons. It also comes with a handy cheat-sheet on which clip to use, and how many depresses of the pump are needed for which balloon. We recommend using this product if you are planning to Hi-Float lots of different sizes of balloons. When you get your pump for the first time, you will need to prime the nozzle by pumping Hi-Float through to the end. One other important piece of equipment is the cap that fits on the end of the pump nozzle when you are not using the pump. This stops the Hi-Float from drying into a glue inside the pump. Handy hint: if you lose the cap then a 5-inch balloon will perform the same function.

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Using Hi-Float on a Balloon

Mark is going to demonstrate Hi-Float using an 11-inch balloon, which is the standard size most people will use Hi-Float with. First, take your balloon and place it down onto the pump in the upright position. You don’t want to pull the latex balloon so far down as to restrict the Hi-Float from coming out of the pump, and you don’t want to be putting any Hi-Float into the neck of the balloon. If you do, the Hi-Float will come out of the balloon when you tie it and the whole process will get messy and sticky! Rotate the pump down and give one full depress of the pump with the red clip attached (check your cheat sheet and apply as much as is needed for your balloon). Now use the wider part of the balloon to wipe the nozzle clean, then return the pump to its upright position and re-cap the nozzle. This will prevent the Hi-Float from drying in the pump.

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The balloon now has Hi-Float inside. One thing that Mark sees people do all the time is continually massage the balloon, overworking it and forcing bubbles inside the Hi-Float. This will leave gaps in the protective layer, allowing helium to escape. What you need to do is put the balloon in the flat of your hand, put your thumb over the neck of the balloon so no Hi-Float can escape and rub the Hi-Float all the way around the until you feel like you’ve covered the balloon evenly. If there’s too much weight to one side of the balloon, then the balloon may tilt when inflated. Inflate the balloon as you normally would; during this process you may be able to see the wet Hi-Float inside the balloon but don’t worry, this will disappear as the Hi-Float dries. Speaking of which…

Drying the Hi-Float

The average drying time for Hi-Float in perfect condition is 45 minutes. However, this does depend on a variety of factors, mainly due to humidity, temperature and ventilation. Hot and dry is perfect, whereas cold and damp will take longer to dry. Helium will be escaping during the drying process so if the balloon is in a poorly-conditioned environment it can actually go down before the Hi-Float dries. In this instance you are better off putting less Hi-Float in the balloon; you will get a longer float time if the Hi-Float dries quickly than if it doesn’t dry at all. This brings us onto another point: you need to correctly balance the float time against the weight you’re adding to the balloon. You are better off putting less Hi-Float in a heavier balloon (like a Double-Stuffed balloon, for instance) as the overall lift-ability will be lower.

One final note is that Hi-Float also works for air-filled balloons and there is even a special adapter for use with modelling balloons. You can make your twister decorations last for weeks using this method!

The most important thing to remember is to do your own tests in the environment that you will be working with.

Rob

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