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Why Air Quality is Important When Dry Ice Blasting

The short answer is because you want to complete your project on time, with no hassle or down time. Wet air will freeze up your dosing system when it comes in contact with the -109°F dry ice, and dirty air will clog up the components of your dry ice blasting machine and could contaminate the very items you are trying to clean.

Command Air CA-350 After Cooler DryerOne of the first things you can do to ensure your project runs smoothly is to look at the air requirements for dry ice blasting on our website. We make this easy with some basic information and an air qualification checklist that can be downloaded, filled out and forwarded to one of our field experts if needed. These resources will help you confirm you have the proper quantity and quality of air for a successful dry ice blasting experience.  You must consider the pressure, flow and dryness of the air available to you, as well as the type, distance and inside diameter of the air hookup in order to accomplish this. Without the appropriate amount of volume, pressure and air quality, you will experience freeze-ups, delays and less than desirable results from your cleaning. However, if you complete the air qualification checklist ahead of time and give it to the sales manager assigned to you, he can help you figure out what additional equipment you may need and ensure your dry ice blasting project goes seamlessly.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you need an additional air compressor. Do you have enough volume and pressure to keep your equipment running at the proper level while you dry ice blast using your plant air or existing compressor? If your pressure is going to drop significantly enough that you cannot run your own equipment simultaneously, then you should consider an additional air compressor to make up for the loss in available air.

Dry air is essential for dry ice blasting. If the air you plan to dry ice blast with tends to have a high moisture content or if you plan to use a portable diesel air compressor, please look into renting or buying an after cooler dryer. You can find our selection of portable after cooler dryers here. These help reduce the temperature of the air, the amount of moisture buildup and filter out contaminates to prevent freeze-ups and dry ice blasting machine damages that cause delays.

By making sure you not only have the proper blasting equipment and blasting ice, but also the air quality, volume and pressure you need to clean your equipment, you set yourself up for the results you want, need and expect from your dry ice blasting project. Going through this information with our sales manager before your planned project will prevent down time and allow you to reap optimum results. Contact us today with any questions about proper air requirements for dry ice blasting.



Witches’ Brew: A Fresh Spin on an Old Favorite

One of our most popular questions around Halloween is how to make Witches’ Brew and how to get it to “steam.” Last year we posted a blog “Witches Brew Halloween Dry Ice Punch” with a recipe and directions on how to make it for your Halloween parties. This year we wanted to revisit this topic to give you another option and put a fresh spin on an old Halloween favorite!

In researching recipes, we came across Martha Stewart’s  idea to use root beer floats as witches’ brew and thought it was one worth sharing. You will need:2013 Witch Picture

  • One small punch bowl
  • One cauldron
  • Tongs or gloves to handle the dry ice safely
  • Root beer
  • Ice cream
  • Small amount of water
  • Dry ice, which can be found at any of our 40 distribution locations here

In order to make this version of witches’ brew, you must first place a small punch bowl inside of a cauldron. Then, pour your root beer into the smaller bowl and add your ice cream. For those of you who are feeling extra crafty this Halloween, you can even make your own homemade root beer to use in your witches’ brew! You can find a recipe and instructions on our website here.

The last step in making your witches’ brew should be done just before your guests arrive so your cauldron will be “steaming” when they enter the room. Pour a small amount of water in the cauldron, and then add some dry ice. You should note the hotter the water is, the more “steam” there will be but the faster the dry ice will sublimate, or turn from a solid into a gas. As the party goes on you may add a little bit more water and more dry ice to keep your brew “steaming.” A good rule of thumb is to use 3-5 lbs. of dry ice for 30 minutes of making your cauldron look like it is brewing something spooky.

We hope your witches’ brew is a hit this year! Happy Halloween!

Finding Dry Ice this Halloween

map-3-28-13-A-SFWFinding dry ice this Halloween is easy as pie! Just go to our Dry Ice Locator  enter your city and state or your zip code, press locate, and the closest Continental Carbonic location to you will generate. It will provide you with the addresses and phone numbers for the 5 nearest Continental Carbonic’s 40 distribution locations across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. to you.

We are also offering extended Halloween hours at all locations from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday, October 25th  2014. The week of Halloween all locations will be open normal business hours.

Once you find the dry ice you need it is important to review our dry ice safety information to stay safe while handling dry ice this Halloween season. You can find our dry ice safety brochure here or read our “Handling Dry Ice Safely This Halloween” blog post for extra tips.

If you need more ideas for how to use dry ice this Halloween, either to create a spooky scene or to give your decorations a little something extra, click here. There are several Halloween ideas and experiments to choose from to help make this year’s Halloween bash a success!

Happy Halloween!

Handling Dry Ice Safely This Halloween

Whether you’re using dry ice to make your cauldrons filled with witches’ brew look like they’re steaming as they cook over an enchanted fire or to create an eerie, foggy atmosphere in a haunted house , it is important to handle dry ice safely and with care. Dry ice is extremely cold (-109º F) and can cause injuries similar to a burn if it comes into contact with bare skin.

One thing you can do to ensure your safety and that of those around you is to read through the “Safe Handling of Dry Ice” page on our website.

A few other ways to make sure you’re handling dry ice safely is to remember the following pointers:Be Safe using Dry Ice this Halloween!

  • Keep dry ice out of the reach of small children.
  • Only let kids handle dry ice in the presence of an adult.
  • Never touch dry ice with your bare skin.
  • Wear insulated gloves or use tongs to pick up and handle dry ice.
  • Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated room or outside when handling dry ice.
  • Do not ingest dry ice.

These 6 points of dry ice safe handling will help prevent injuries and keep your Halloween filled with fun, tricks, and treats!

For more ideas on how to use dry ice to help put your trick-or-treaters in the Halloween mood, you can visit the “Halloween Experiments with Dry Ice” page on our website. It lists several ideas in addition to witches’ brew and dry ice fog for you to use.

If you have any further questions about using, handling, or transporting dry ice from one of our 40 distribution locations to your home or party location, please ask one of our branch employees. They will be happy and able to advise you on the best practices for doing these things safely.

Happy Halloween! Stay safe!

How to Make Dry Ice Fog for Your Haunted House

Dry ice fog is a key element in creating just the right creepy atmosphere for your haunted house. Whether you have a graveyard filled with fog, a mad scientist cooking up his latest concoction, or just want to add an eerie feel to a dimly lit room filled with surprises lurking around every corner, dry ice fog will help you set the mood to be spooked!

What You NeedS

  • A large container
  • Hot water
  • Dry ice, which can be purchased at any one of our 40 distribution locations here.
  • Tongs or gloves to handle the dry ice safely

Creating dry ice fog isn’t hard at all. First, fill up your large container half-way with hot water. Then, use the tongs or gloves to place the dry ice in the container filled with hot water. The container will immediately start to produce the fog, but keep in mind – the hotter the water, the more fog produced, the faster the dry ice will sublimate (or turn from a solid into the fog you see emerging from the container).

A good rule of thumb is to use 1 lb. of dry ice for every 2-3 minutes of fog you want to create. The best way to keep your fog from growing thin and disappearing is to designate a “Fog Maker.” This person will be in charge of refilling your container with hot water and dry ice because as the water cools, it won’t make as much fog as quickly. The dry ice will also be sublimating and disappearing into the air as your fog and should therefore be replenished every 5 -10 minutes. Being the Fog Maker, may not be an easy job due to the amount of running for hot water and dry ice, but it’s an important one at any haunted house!

It is important for the people handling the dry ice to do so safely. Everyone working in your haunted house should read through our information on “Safe Handling of Dry Ice”. You should also make sure that the room(s) where the dry ice fog will be created are well ventilated with opened windows or fans.

Happy Haunting!

Is CO2 Heavier than Air?

It’s that time of year again! Kids are back to school and ready for a new year of learning! With this in mind, we wanted to offer teachers, parents, and students a fun, educational experiment using dry ice that can be done in the classroom or at home.

This experiment will show how carbon dioxide (CO2) is heavier than air – with balloons! What kid doesn’t love balloons? So what better way to help them learn about different gases and their weight than to use a fun, hands-on experiment to show them?iStock_000018314922Large

What You Need

  • An empty plastic bottle
  • Insulated gloves
  • Tongs
  • Balloons
  • Dry ice pellets
  • Small amount of water

Before You Get Started

Before you get started with your experiment, make sure you’re either in a well-ventilated room or outside and that an adult is present. Because carbon dioxide (CO2) is heavier than air (which is what you’re trying to prove – safely) it displaces oxygen and, therefore, presents a suffocation hazard. You can also read about the best Safe Handling of Dry Ice practices here to make sure all proper precautions are taken before and during your experiment.

What You Do

First, blow up a balloon with regular air, tie it off, and set it aside.

Second, take the empty plastic bottle and open it. Third, take the tongs and use them to place a couple pellets of dry ice in the plastic bottle. Pour a small amount of water into the bottle over the dry ice. Then, place the opening of a balloon on the opening of the bottle. Watch as the balloon expands as the dry ice sublimates, or turns from a solid to gas form, and inflates the balloon. When the balloon is fully inflated, remove it from the bottle and tie it off.

Warning: Under no circumstances should the bottle be capped.

Now that you have two inflated balloons – one filled with normal air, one filled with carbon dioxide – designate two children to each hold a balloon. Then, instruct them – on the count of three – to toss the balloons and watch as the balloon filled with carbon dioxide falls more quickly to the ground than the balloon filled with air.

This is because carbon dioxide is heavier than air and you’ve just seen it with your own eyes!

National Driver Appreciation Week!

This week is National Driver Appreciation Week, so we thought it only fitting to dedicate this week’s blog post to our drivers.

Given that our company slogan is “Delivering Excellence in Dry Ice” it goes without saying that the ones doing that delivering are a key element in keeping Continental Carbonic running like clockwork!

We currently employ over 200 drivers and are always looking for more to add to our fleet. Click here to see our open positions near you. We have both single and team drivers that drive over the road, regionally, and locally. Each driver is an important part of getting our customers the dry ice they need from any one of our 40 distribution locations. They foster and maintain our face-to-face relationship with customers and we believe our drivers do a great job of upholding and maintaining Continental’s values in doing so. In fact, one of the highest compliments we receive is on the service we provide and our drivers are a large part of achieving the level of service we strive to provide to our customers.

This week we want to thank all of our drivers for their hard work and dedication. You are the faces of Continental Carbonic to all of our customers and we are proud to be putting our best foot forward with you at the forefront.

Continental Carbonic wishes everyone a Happy National Truck Driver Appreciation Week!


Dry Ice For Shipping College Care Packages

As our summer interns left us to head back to college, we remembered that one of the toughest parts of being away from home is not only missing family and friends but also Horace placing wrapped block in cooler 6the food! How many of us have gone away to college and had those cravings for tastes of home? Whether it was our favorite pizza, ice cream, or any other treat from a local or regional parlor, shop, or restaurant that we couldn’t get where we were residing – we missed it. Getting that little bit of home in the form of a care package seemed to help the transition from home to school.

Many times people come into our Decatur, IL branch to send pizzas from a locally owned pizza chain to their college students. Our New Jersey location has been known to help people send cupcakes and favorite care package items at our Chicago, IL location are famous Chicago deep dish pizzas or cheesecakes. Whatever the local favorite is, if it needs to remain frozen, we can help you with the dry ice, packaging materials, and advice you need to get your treat safely to your college student.

As we understand that these care packages will come in different shapes, sizes, weights, and varieties, we want to make sure you know how much dry ice to use in order for the contents of the care package to be just as fresh as when you sent them. You can use the chart below as a guide for how much dry ice you need for the duration of the shipping process. There is also more information about shipping with dry ice on our website here.

Come into any one of our 40 distribution locations and our branch employees will be happy to help you get the dry ice you need! Click here to find the closest location to you. Simply enter your zip code or your city and state, then click “Locate.”

Continental Carbonic to Feature Dry Ice Blasting at ITEC 2014

Continental Carbonic will feature dry ice blasting products at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference (ITEC) in Akron, OH, booth #424 this September 9 – 11, 2014.

ITEC is one of two tire industry tradeshows held every two years. The aftermarket tire dealer and auto service ITEC tradeshow is held in Orlando, FL this year, while the tire manufacturing ITEC tradeshow will be held in Akron, OH. This 3-day event includes a conference program that focuses on the latest technical advancements in heavy machinery operations, production processes, design and materials. What attendees learn at ITEC will enable them to have a positive impact on their company’s technical innovations, profitability, growth, sales, even customer outreach and retention.

In the tire making industry dry ice blasting is predominantly used for tire mold cleaning. As a non-conductive, waterless and non-abrasive cleaning solution dry ice blasting allows tire manufacturers to clean tire molds without disassembly, hot and in-place. Dry ice blasting also reduces downtime, increases production and extends the life of tire molds. More information about dry ice blasting in the automotive and tire making industry can be found here. At ITEC, attendees will learn how Continental Carbonic offers a turn-key solution for dry ice blasting with our Single Source Advantage. We offer rental and purchase options for dry ice blasting machines, blasting dry ice from our 40 distribution locations, on-site demonstrations, training and a sales team with unmatched dry ice blasting expertise.

As an exhibitor at ITEC, we are able to provide you a special VIP discount of $50 off the regular ITEC registration fee. To take advantage of this or to make an appointment to see Continental Carbonic representatives at ITEC 2014, send an email to At the show, please visit us in our technical sponsorship booth #424.

Visit us in Booth #424 at ITEC '14!

Dry Ice Blasting For Shutdowns – FAQs

As the Labor Day holiday quickly approaches, many facilities across the country are preparing for shutdowns. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we get as companies schedule their planned maintenance using dry ice blasting.

How much blasting dry ice should I order for a weekend shutdown? Blasting Ice 790 Cropped

The blasting dry ice rate and trigger time will help determine how much blasting dry ice you will need. For instance, if your application requires full pellet, you might use 3-4 pounds per minute. However, if you are using a fragmenter or ice splitter, you will only use approximately 1.5 pounds per minute. Also, if you plan to spot dry ice blast throughout the weekend you will use less blasting dry ice than if you are consistently blasting through the entire shutdown. Therefore, if your goal is to dry ice blast consistently with full pellet for three days, you will want to order a minimum of 3,000 pounds of blasting dry ice per dry ice blasting machine. Click here for tips on maximizing blasting dry ice performance.

What are the air requirements for dry ice blasting?

Ideally, a TRUE 1 inch or larger airline is required for optimal dry ice blasting, which means the 1 inch connection goes all the way back to the compressed air source. If you try to use a 1 inch connection that is actually 3/8 of an inch between the compressed air source and where you are trying to blast you will see diminished results due to the volume drop.

The volume and PSI of are both important. Depending on the dry ice blasting machine used and the application you will need to size your air compressor accordingly.

Why is it important for the air from a compressed air source to be cool and dry?

The effectiveness of dry ice blasting is based on having a source of cool and dry air.  All dry ice blasting machines have a maximum inlet temperature of 140o F. If air above 140o F is used in dry ice blasting machines you risk damaging internal components such as tubing, valves and other parts. If wet air is used in dry ice blasting machines, freeze-ups are likely to occur causing delays in cleaning schedules.

Therefore, cooling the air not only eliminates the risk of damaging internal components but it also causes the air to condensate allowing moisture to be pulled from the air. Click here to learn more about whether or not you need an aftercooler dryer for your shutdown.

What are the electrical requirements for dry ice blasting equipment?

We are sometimes asked if long lengths of extension cords can be used to power dry ice blasting machines. Preferably, the dry ice blasting machine should be plugged in directly to a 120-Volt outlet. However, if you must use an extension cord we recommend using an extension cord that is less than 50 feet in length and at least 10 gauge or higher. The shorter length will keep the voltage consistent. For more information, please see our electrical technical bulletin here.

Also, we recommend all pneumatic dry ice blasting machines when standard plant electricity is not available. If a generator setup must be used we recommend using a pneumatic machine. If an electrically assisted dry ice blasting machine must be used with a generator please consult with a sales manager for proper grounding and setup to protect yourself and the equipment.

Is dry ice blasting safe for my employees?

Sometimes companies weigh the pros and cons of using a contractor for their cleaning needs versus doing dry ice blasting in-house. One of their main concerns is whether or not dry ice blasting is safe for their employees. Part of the Continental Carbonic Single Source Advantage is that we offer dry ice blasting training to our customers. We have a very thorough ‘Training Checklist’   that covers dry ice blasting machine setup and use, applications, blasting technique, tear down and storage. For additional information on the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) required please click here.

For additional questions on using dry ice blasting for your upcoming holiday shutdowns please see our Dry ice Blasting FAQ page or email us at