How to set up a helium advertising balloon

Helium advertising balloons are powerful landmarks, which are proven to increase visibility and drive traffic. They are also simple to use and can be set up quickly. This in-depth guide will explain the process of setting up giant helium balloons.

Things to consider before starting: 

  • Always check with the FAA and local authorities about restrictions in your area before using helium advertising balloons.
  • Do not fly helium advertising balloons at night when unattended, or exceed 100 feet.
  • Never fly helium advertising balloons in winds in excess of 15 MPH, or during inclement weather.
  • Do not fly a helium advertising balloons directly over moving traffic.
  • Never fly a helium advertising balloon where it can come into contact with power lines or buildings.
  • Do not secure an inflatable near sharp objects, open flames or heat sources, which can cause the tether line to be severed and the inflatable to escape.

 Step 1, select a setup spot:

Find a flat, open space to set up your advertising inflatable. Seek out as clean and smooth of a surface as possible and always use a tarp or 4 to 6mil plastic sheeting to set up your inflatable on. Never drag the inflatable, even on a tarp. Small rocks can cause tiny tears in the fabric even through a setup mat. When selecting a place to inflate and deflate, always look for obstructions such as fences, street lights, power lines, etc.

Step 2, spread out the Balloon:

Once you have selected a safe location to set up, lay down the setup mat and spread out the balloon. Weighting the corners of the setup mat will help keep it in place.

helium sphere setup

Step 3, check & untangle tether lines:

Inspect the tether system where it attaches to the balloon and make sure it is secure. Check the lines to ensure they are untangled.

Step 4, secure the balloon prior to helium inflation:

Before filling your advertising balloon with helium, securely attach the main tether line to both the balloon and a secure anchor point. It is recommended that your anchor point is a sturdy, fixed object that can withstand significant pressure. While it is possible for an individual to set up small advertising balloons, a second set of hands is aways recommended.

IMG_4448 IMG_4439

Protecting the main tether line:

Helium advertising balloons that are tied to a fixed anchor point are susceptible to wind and will likely sway on a regular basis. If the main tether line is tied to an anchor point where it could potentially rub while the balloon sways, it is recommended that a protective tube is placed over the tether line where contact may take place. This will prevent the rope from fraying or breaking, causing the balloon to escape. PVC hose is an inexpensive, durable option.


Step 5, attaching the filling hose to the helium cylinder:

Ensure the helium tank(s) are on a level surface and are properly secured. Insert the threaded end of the filling hose into the valve of the cylinder. This fitting type is referred to as 580 CGA, an industry standard for helium. Screw the fitting in until it is hand tight and then tighten an additional 1 to 1.5 turns with a crescent wrench. Do not over tighten the fitting as it can damage the valve threads. Ensure the fitting is not cross threaded before tightening and never force the fitting in.


Step 6, begin filling:

Insert the filling hose through the filling port and into the balloon. Grasp the hose and filling port firmly to prevent helium from escaping. Slowly turn the tank handle clockwise and begin by just slightly opening the valve. Always start slowly and gradually increase helium flow. The high pressure of compressed helium can tear the balloon fabric if the valve is opened too much, too quickly. As helium is evacuated from the cylinder, pressure will steadily decrease.

Inflating helium sphere

Step 7, inflate the balloon to proper pressure:

As the balloon is filled with helium, it will begin to take shape and have lift. Helium expands in warmer temperatures and contracts in cooler temperatures. Always keep this in mind when filling helium inflatables. Natural expansion of an already firm balloon can result in seam separation or rupture. As the balloon takes on its proper shape, slow down the flow of helium substantially. Press on the balloon with an open palm to gauge firmness. A properly inflated balloon should always have adequate give. Optimal inflation of a stock shape balloon will be moderately firm at most. Again, always consider future weather conditions and adjust accordingly. A common misconception is that an advertising balloon should be inflated until there are no wrinkles or it is very firm. This is not always the case. Some wrinkles can be a result of deflated storage and will cease with time after being inflated. Once you balloon is properly inflated, seal off the inflation port and slowly raise it into the air.