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Cold weather can be the bain of your life when you are a balloon business owner! In fact any extreme of temperature has its challenges. In this blog we are going to look at what effect the cold has on balloons and most importantly what you can do to minimise the problems in your business and keep your customers happy!


I will never forget the first time I went to deliver a balloon in the cold of winter. As I stepped out of my front door the balloon literally seemed to deflate in my hands! I couldn’t believe it! Had I caught it on something on the way out?! How could this be happening just as I was going to deliver!!! I quickly ran back indoors to inspect the balloon but it seemed to be firm again a few minutes later… I stepped outside again only for the exact same thing to happen! Now I was in a state of shock! What should I do? Attempt to make the delivery and hand over a shriveled up balloon hoping it would inflate again when I got there or ring the customer and cancel? I know from talking to balloon business owners after the last few years it’s a situation many of us find ourselves in when first starting out and can come as a bit of a shock! So let’s look at why it happens and what we can do to prepare for this situation…

Why Do Balloons Deflate in the Cold?

Whether you fill your balloons with helium or air you are essentially filling them with a form of gas. Lots of molecules are needed to fill the capacity of the balloon. These molecules are susceptible to temperature. If they get cold the molecules will get smaller and if they get hot the molecules will get bigger. There is still the same number of molecules in the balloon but their change in size means the volume they occupy changes too. They also lose energy and tend to stop whizzing around and clump together in one place. This is why when a foil balloon gets cold it appears to shrivel up around the edges as if deflated… the molecules of the gas inside have reacted to the cold, contracted, and clumped together making their volume much smaller than the amount to fill the capacity of the balloon. When you take them back indoors where it’s warmer the molecules react to the temperature, expand and start whizzing around again so increasing their volume and filling the balloon to capacity again.

The molecules of air are much bigger to start with than the molecules of helium which are tiny. Both can be affected by the cold but helium is affected much more so than air.

Why Don’t Balloons Always Re-inflate Fully When Warmed?

All balloons are porous – this means they have tiny microscopic holes in their surface through which gases can escape. You can’t see them but they are there… That’s why all balloons will deflate over time and can’t float forever! Latex balloons are more porous than foils or bubbles but eventually, the molecules of the gas inside will escape and the balloon will deflate. Helium molecules are much smaller than air molecules so can escape through the tiny holes much easier than air molecules. This is why air-filled designs last so much longer than helium-filled balloon designs.

When gas molecules come in contact with the cold and they shrink in size it makes it so much easier for them to escape through the tiny holes in the balloon. The longer they are in the cold the more molecules that can escape. If a balloon is left out in the cold for too long before being brought back into the warm the number of molecules in the balloon will have reduced. Even though the molecules will expand again there will be less of them so the balloon does not completely re-inflate to the same size it was before it was taken into the cold.

This can affect air-filled designs and helium-filled designs but helium is already much smaller so they are far less likely to “plump” back up if left out in the cold too long before coming back into the warm.

What Effect Can the Cold Have on Your Balloon Designs?

Apart from the fact it can cause your balloons to shrivel there are other things to consider when taking balloon designs out into the cold. The cold doesn’t just affect the balloon itself but also other aspects of the design.

Attachment Points – If your designs require you to attach balloons to each other this can be affected by cold. Physical attachment points using a 260Q require pressure from the inflated balloon. When the balloon softens and shrinks whilst cold and then reinflates when warm this can affect the attachment point. Whilst it is generally more secure in cold than using adhesives there is still the risk that the attachment point can become looser. Adhesives are affected by the cold. Cold reduces their ability to stick to other balloons and cold weather can mean your design can quickly start to come apart.
Vinyl – The use of vinyl to personalise balloons is commonplace and many designs use vinyl. The vinyl adheres to the surface of the balloon. As the balloon reduces in size the vinyl will begin to lift and swrinkle. This is a common problem when taking balloons into the cold. When the balloon warms the vinyl doesn’t automatically re-adhere but needs to be repressed against the surface of the balloon.
Structure – In marquee and similar designs the balloons higher up are held in place by the balloons below. If the lower balloons are more susceptible to the cold they will reduce in size and loose their ability to hold up the balloons above. This will affect the structure of the design and cause the design to bend and topple.

Preparing Balloons During Cold Weather – Top Tips

Now we understand why and how the cold affects balloons let’s look at what we can do to reduce the problems, reduce the stress and ensure we have happy customers. It all starts with the preparation of the balloon design.

Consider the type of designs you create during cold weather – Whilst all balloon designs are somewhat affected by the cold, some are affected more than others. For example helium-filled foils or large marquee designs which depend on foils and adhesives to give them structure.
Consider the temperature of the venue where they are going– If you know your customer wants to put the designs in a large cold marquee, helium-filled foils may not be the best option, or you may want to inflate them on-site so that you can ensure they are filled at the temperature they will be accommodated in. Be aware though, if they are fully inflated in a cold venue they may overinflate if later on, they put the heating on! Understanding the temperature fluctuations the balloons may encounter when you inflate allows you to decide how much you should inflate them to allow for contraction and expansion.
Using adhesives in the cold– If you are preparing your designs early in the morning at a cold venue you may find your adhesives decide not to play the game and it may be difficult to get your balloons to stick. You can warm the adhesives in your hand, keep them in your pocket on the way to the venue or use a hairdryer or something else to warm them so the adhesive becomes activated.
Apply Vinyl once the balloon has warmed – If you apply the vinyl and then the balloon gets cold the vinyl will lift so it’s better to delay applying the vinyl, if possible, until after the balloon has rewarmed. (If this is not possible once the balloon is reinflated just run your finger over the vinyl and release it where necessary to remove the wrinkles and flatten the vinyl.)

Transporting Balloons in Cold Weather – Essentials.

Warm the Vehicle prior to taking Balloons out and loading the car or van – To keep the balloons exposure to a minimum it’s important to have the vehicle warmed and ready before loading the balloons.
Plan your journeys to keep journey time to a minimum – avoid routes where you know you might get stuck in traffic. –
Make sure someone will be at the venue when you arrive – so you can avoid waiting around in the cold and risk the balloons deflating.
Plan multiple journeys and come back in between to reload – Whilst it is more efficient to load your van and do several drops in one journey this is not possible in cold weather because this will prolong the balloon’s exposure to the cold. Instead, you should plan your day to come back to base and reload each order.

Preparing Your Customers to Look After Their Balloons

Customers don’t understand balloons – they most definitely don’t understand the effect of temperature on balloons! It’s essential you prepare them so they know how to look after their balloons or you will get a message complaining their balloons have deflated!

Make sure they prepare their vehicle – Warm the car on the way (but not too hot) and remove car seats etc to allow room. Instruct them not to put balloons directly in front of the heater in the footwell of the car.
Make sure they take balloons straight home – Lots of customers want to collect the cake, pop to the supermarket and do all sorts of things after collecting their balloons. Explain to them the balloons would get too cold and they need to take the balloons straight home.
Tell them not to leave the balloons anywhere cold – So many customers want to hide the balloons until their little one has gone to bed! They will leave them in the car, the garage, the shed etc (I even had one customer who put them in the loft!) and be devastated when they bring them in and they are all shrivelled up! You also need to inform them to keep balloons away from draughts and radiators.
If taking to a venue – Make sure they check and see if there is any heating on in the venue earlier in the day. If not they should avoid taking to soon before the party starts. Make sure they don’t leave the balloons next to heat sources that may get turned on later in the day.

I hope you found this blog post useful! If you are looking for more advice and top tips to running your balloon business and avoiding the common pitfalls that cause stress and loss of money check out Starting a Balloon Business: The Ultimate Guide – It’s packed full with oodles of advice and top tips to help you start and grow a balloon business!

Feedback helps me stay motivated and keep creating posts to help you in your business so please comment below and let me know your thoughts and any top tips you might have on dealing with cold weather in your business!

Until next time.. Stay Amazing!
Sonia x


ABOUT SONIA

Hi there! It’s so great to have you here! Having grown my own balloons and venue decor business I now really want to help you grow a profitable and successful business too! I can’t wait to see where your journey takes us! Make sure you come join us in the FREE community

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Until next time… Stay Amazing!
Sonia x

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