Monday, June 29, 2020

Top Tips for Working with Balloons in the Sun and Heat

With more and more balloon companies offering outdoor balloon decor, I thought I would share some top tips when planning decor outside on hot sunny days.

You need to be aware that;
  • Balloons will swell/ expand in the heat.
  • Darker balloon colours will absorb heat and pop faster.
  • Balloons will oxidise and lose their clarity.

With the help of David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday in Texas, USA. I have put together this simple set of rules.

To combat these issues, follow these rules:

Firstly, use quality balloons such as Qualatex®; quality makes a huge difference. 
Use much larger balloons than required. 
  1. Work with 16¨ latex balloons rather than 11¨, and under-inflated them. A 16¨ balloon should not be inflated to greater than 12¨. This will allow the balloons to expand with the heat. If using 11¨ balloons, do not inflate them to any bigger than 7.5¨.  Always fully inflate balloons to their maximum size and then deflate until you reach the desired size. NOTE: Just under-inflating a balloon will make little difference. The idea is to stretch the balloon to its limit and then let it down to size. This will make the balloon more durable and less likely to pop in the heat.
  2. Use light-coloured balloons and avoid using dark colours. Use accent elements such as ribbons to introduce the darker colours into the decor.
  3. Plan for the balloons to oxidise. This is not a bad thing, it merely changes the visual texture of the balloon. You can tell your clients that the balloons will look more “velvety” and acquire a rich, matte finish.
  4. Use white balloons as much as possible; they reflect the sun and fade less.
  5. When working with framework and poles, ensure that you cover these in white duct tape or wrap with white modelling balloons. This will help to keep the framework and poles from getting too hot.
  6. If working with helium-filled balloons, keep in mind that extreme heat speeds up the balloon diffusion process. So, in high temperatures, helium will escape much faster than normal, drastically reducing float time. If you can find a way to provide shade for the balloons, it can slow the process.
  7. Do not use water to cool down balloons. As the water dries on the latex, it becomes slightly sticky. The balloons can stick together, causing them to pop as they expand in the heat or move with the wind.
  8. Use Qualatex Bubbles™️ and Deco Bubbles whenever possible as they can withstand the sun, rain, and wind, making them much more reliable for outdoor decor.
David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday, Texas, USA shares his experience working with balloons in the sun.
‟One trick we find helps, is that when it gets hot we double stuff all the balloons on the top of an arch, number, etc... This helps the entire design to somewhat implode at the same rate. The top of any design is what is hit first with UV rays and the double stuffed balloons generally give you some time to allow the design to accomplish what a client needs. Last thing we do that helps with outside work; WE DO NOT GIVE ANY GUARANTEES. You can't do it with outside work. We are upfront and very clear on this with clients. Most times clients are OK with it. We state it as a matter of fact, not that balloons suck, or that we are unprofessional, or for some reason we have done something wrong.”

Insurance and Contracts

It goes without saying that you should have good public liability insurance. Anyone who runs a balloon business needs to be fully covered by a comprehensive insurance policy. 

A contract is an essential part of your business. When installing balloon decor outside, it is very important that you ensure that your clients are aware that weather can affect balloons and balloon decor. Honesty is the best policy; we should not make any guarantees that we may not be able to keep, especially when considering potential bad weather.

It might be advisable to add in a clause like the one shown below:

‟Balloons are, by nature, temporary items: Although ‘your company name’ uses only the finest quality balloons, some balloons will occasionally deflate sooner than expected and will also be adversely affected by the wind, rain, rough handling, sunlight, and other uncontrollable factors.”

David's final words on this subject:
‟We as an industry have to accept that what we do does not fit every situation, and that it is not the perfect solution for everyone. So many are worried about getting work that they never consider the cost of getting 'the wrong work.' We love outside work but that is because most of the time we have controlled expectations and clients are generally happy.”
This post is an extract from a previously posted blog - Balloons and the Great Outdoors

Being prepared for what could happen to your balloons on very hot and sunny days will help you greatly when discussing this type of decor with your clients. I really appreciate that David says that he does not give his customers any guarantees, and that you should be upfront and honest with your clients about the potential effects of the sun and heat on their balloons.

Happy Ballooning! 

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Unknown said...

We offer the following guarantee. "Our balloons are guaranteed to unexpectedly pop and deflate, but we have a no crying and no whinning policy." And we always include extra balloons (hand extra balloons to customer with business card).