Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: Hi-Float Balloon Treatment

When organizing a kid's birthday party, you pretty much need balloons. It costs about $24 to get a helium tank and a bunch of balloons. For $14, however, you can make those balloons last much longer. The trick here, is to buy a jug of Hi-Float.

Hi-Float is a plasticizer that you squirt into a balloon to create a layer of plastic which is much less permeable to helium than the latex of a balloon. The idea is that you'll squirt the plasticizer into balloon, massage the balloon a bit to spread it, then fill the balloon with helium, tie it off, and then you'll end up with balloons that'll last about as long as the mylar balloons you can buy for $1 each. Each 16oz container of Hi-Float will provide enough coating to use 2 of the standard tanks you can acquire at Target.

There are a few issues that you have to work through to use Hi-Float successfully:

  1. You have to stick the nozzle of the Hi-Float all the way into the balloon. Otherwise, the plasticizer might not coat the balloon evenly, and you'll get early deflation. This happened the first time I tried it.
  2. The plasticizer itself adds weight to the balloon. So while you might have gotten used to filling the balloon to a certain level before it'll float, you have to add more helium than before to do so. This caught me out the next couple of times.
  3. Because of this, the standard helium tank will fill fewer balloons than it would if you didn't have the plasticizer installed. However, those balloons will float for quite a bit longer.
  4. The plasticizer also has the effect of darkening the insider of the balloon. If the balloons used to be closer to being translucent, they will now become quite a bit more opaque. Test a few balloons first if color matters to you. (It didn't matter to me or the kids who liked balloons)
All in all, it's relatively cheap compared to the helium tanks, and if your kids keep asking for balloons every time the previous one deflates, this will make your intervals between helium tanks much longer. Recommended.

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