What to Do If an Air Bed is Not Inflating – Step by Step
Since air beds are comfortable and affordable, they have become increasingly popular across the globe. These inflatable mattresses are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Air beds are also lightweight and can be carried around easily. But what if your air bed is not inflating? We’ll cover how to fix an air bed in this article.
If an air bed is not inflating, the pump could be faulty, or it has a leak. If the pump is not working, inflate the air bed by using a regular trash bag, a hairdryer, or a vacuum cleaner with a blow function. If the air mattress has sprung a leak, find the leak and patch it or fix it using a hot glue gun.
While air beds offer plenty of benefits that we have already discussed in our air bed benefits guide, owners may still face some problems when using an inflatable mattress. In some cases, air beds may not inflate properly, making the bed saggy and uncomfortable to sleep on. However, there are some quick and easy ways to detect the issue and fix it by simply following the steps provided in this article.
If your air bed is inflating but keeps losing air, check out our tips to fix an air bed for solutions on what to do if an air mattress deflates overnight. Additionally, you might be interested in learning what air beds are used in hospitals. Be sure to take a look at our related article to find out more information.
Why Is My Air Mattress Pump Not Working?
One of the most common reasons your air bed is not inflating is a pump malfunction. If your air mattress pump is not working, the bed will not inflate properly, or it may not inflate at all. If this is the case, here is how to troubleshoot your air mattress pump and identify the problem with the pump.
Reasons for an air mattress pump to malfunction include: the power cord not being plugged in properly, the wall socket not being switched on, power issues, electrical wiring in bad condition, loose connections, and an unstable electricity supply.
Although it may sound ridiculous, air bed power cords are sometimes not plugged in properly, meaning that the pump does not receive an electrical current. Also, an air mattress pump may not be working just because the electrical sockets are not switched on. Before you assume that your air mattress pump is malfunctioning, make sure you check the power cords and sockets.
Another reason your air mattress pump might not be working is the electrical power supply. Air bed pumps have factory specifications for the pump to work properly. Make sure your air mattress pump is compatible with your local power supply, otherwise it will not inflate the bed. For example, you should know if the air mattress needs a 110V or 220V input and match that to your wall socket.
The condition of the electrical wiring is another important factor that ensures your air mattress pump functions properly. If the wiring is not in good condition or there are loose connections, the electrical current may not reach the pump. If this is the case, repair the wiring.
Last but not least, an unstable electricity supply can significantly affect the pump's performance. If your power grid is unstable, there may be surges or dips in supply. This article about whether power surges and how they damage electronics, by Eaton, explains a little more about this. To solve this problem, you should contact a professional to assess the stability of your house’s power supply. Use a surge protector with grounded and protected outlets, to control the flow of electricity into your appliances.
How To Inflate An Air Mattress Without A Pump
If your air mattress pump does not seem to be working properly, there are ways to inflate your air mattress without one.
To inflate an air mattress without a pump, use a garbage bag, a hairdryer, or a vacuum cleaner with a blow function. Hold the inflation instrument against the opened air valve of the air mattress then activate or turn it on to start inflating the air bed. Once it is fully inflated, carefully close the air valve.
Step 1. Select a Suitable Household Item Like a Garbage Bag, a Hairdryer, or a Vacuum Cleaner With a Blow Function
Choose the appropriate household item that can be used for inflating the air mattress. Here are step-by-step instructions that explain how to inflate an air bed. Depending on where you are and what you have access to, you can use a garbage bag, a hairdryer, or a vacuum cleaner with a blow function. If you are outdoors, a trash bag would be an excellent choice. For indoor settings, a hairdryer or a vacuum cleaner will make it easy to inflate an air bed.
You can also inflate the air mattress orally. Although this requires some effort, it could still work if you do not have access to the items listed above. If you decide to do so, make sure you thoroughly clean the valve opening before putting your mouth over it.
Before you decide to take this route, however, be sure to consider the size of your particular air bed. Obviously, the bigger the bed, the more effort required to inflate it without a pump. Our guide to air bed dimensions might help you determine if your mattress is worth the effort.
Step 2. Open the Valve and Hold the Household Item of your Choice Against the Opening
The next step is to open the valve and use the selected household item to inflate the air mattress. Although the technique is pretty much the same, there are some minor details to consider.
As mentioned earlier, garbage bags are ideal for use outdoors as it is highly unlikely that you would have a hairdryer or a vacuum cleaner when camping. First, fill the trash bag with air and make a tiny opening in the top, just like it is shown in this YouTube video tutorial. Position this opening over the air bed valve and squeeze the air from the garbage bag into the air mattress. Continue this procedure until the air bed is fully inflated.
When using a hairdryer, you should ensure that you are blowing cold air into the air mattress - hot air may damage your air bed. If your air bed valve is too small compared to the hairdryer, cut a regular plastic bottle in half and use it as a funnel. This will make it much easier to fill up the air bed with air. This1-minute YouTube tutorial shares some extra tips to consider when inflating your air mattress with a hairdryer.
Although vacuum cleaners typically offer a suction feature, some vacuum cleaner models also have a blow function. If you own a blower vacuum cleaner, you can use it as an alternative to a regular air bed pump. Simply hold the blower port against the valve opening and let the air mattress inflate.
Step 3. Once the Air Bed is Fully Inflated, Carefully Close the Valve to Trap the Air Inside
Finally, you should close the valve securely to prevent the air inside the inflatable mattress from escaping.
How To Find A Hole In An Air Mattress
One of the most common reasons an air mattress is not inflating is that there is a puncture or hole in it.
To find a hole in an air mattress, inspect the valve, use soapy water or a garden hose and wait for the bubbles formed by air escaping the mattress, or apply pressure to the air mattress and listen for a hissing sound that indicates a leak.
Air beds are prone to developing punctures, leaks or holes. To reduce the chances of this happening, have a look at our guide that explains how to lift an air bed for camping. But if you already have a leak, to repair it, you will first have to find it like this:
Method 1. Inspect the Valve to Detect the Hole
Air beds can develop leaks around the valve and in the fabric. If you are trying to find a hole, you should also inspect the valve as it may be the source of the leak.
To find a leak in or near the valve, first, fully inflate the air bed. Fill it with as much air as you can, but do not overinflate the mattress. Before checking the rest of the air bed, inspect the valve. The valve plug should be properly inserted into the valve stem to prevent air from escaping the mattress.
If your air bed valve is leaking, here is a step-by-step guide to air valve replacement.
Method 2. Use Soapy Water Or a Garden Hose and Wait For the Bubbles
The use of soapy water is a great way to find a leak. All you need to do is pour some soapy water into a spray bottle and spray it onto the air mattress. The area with a puncture or hole will start producing bubbles. If you do not have access to a spray bottle, use a regular sponge or cloth instead.
Alternatively, you can use a garden hose to wet the air mattress surface. Carefully observe the areas where the water is running as bubbles are visible for just a couple of seconds. It is recommended to use a small stream of water and work slowly not to miss any punctures or holes.
Method 3. Apply Pressure to the Air Bed and Listen for Leaks
This is the easiest method of locating holes in an air mattress. Without using any tools, apply some pressure to your air bed using your hands. Next, you just listen for any leaks. You can easily tell if the air is escaping the mattress by the hissing sound made by the leak.
Although this method is ideal for locating larger holes in inflatable beds, you may not find it helpful if your air mattress has just a couple of tiny punctures.
How To Patch A Hole In An Air Mattress
If you have detected a hole in your air mattress, you do not necessarily have to throw the entire thing away. You can easily fix the leak by patching the hole.
To patch a hole in an air mattress, first get a vinyl, plastic, or rubber repair kit. Then, mark the hole and deflate the air mattress. Remove the soft coating of your air mattress by sanding the surface, and clean the area around the leak. Cut the patch approximately a half-inch larger than the hole. Following the manufacturer’s instructions apply the patch. Allow the glue to dry before inflating the air mattress.
Step 1. Get a Vinyl, Plastic, or Rubber Patch Repair Kit
If you have decided to patch a hole in an air mattress, you should first get a repair kit. If your air mattress came with its own patch kit, you can use that to fix the hole. Keep in mind that patch kits are meant to fix various inflatable products and you do not need a special repair kit to patch a hole in your air mattress. To find out more about patches, check out this article about air mattress repair patches, from tear-aid.com. Also, always keep best safety practices in mind. Read this article from Intex for additional air bed safety tips.
Step 2. Mark the Hole and Deflate the Air Mattress
After locating the puncture or hole, it is important to mark it because the hole may no longer be visible once the air mattress is fully deflated. Marking the hole will make it much easier to patch it after deflating your air bed. Using chalk is a handy way to make marks on most dry surfaces, and can be wiped off easily.
Deflate your air mattress before patching the hole to prevent air from getting under the patch. If you fail to completely deflate the mattress, air will ruin the glue and you may have to restart the patching process.
Step 3. Remove the Soft Coating of your Air Mattress by Sanding the Surface
Read our article on air bed dangers to learn more about the surfaces of air mattresses. Typically, the top side of an air mattress is covered with a soft material that could stop anything from sticking to the mattress. If the hole is on the top side of an air bed, you will need to sand away the soft coating (AKA flocking) for the patch to stick properly. Use sandpaper to gently remove the soft covering without putting too much pressure while doing so, to avoid accidentally making the hole bigger.
Step 4. Clean the Area around the Leak and Let It Dry
Cleaning the area around the hole or puncture and letting it dry will ensure the patch sticks to the air mattress and doesn’t come off. If there’s dust on the air mattress, the patch won’t stick to the surface, and your air bed will still lose some air through the hole.
Step 5. Cut the Patch Approximately a Half-Inch Larger Than the Hole
The next step is to cut the patch about a half-inch bigger than the hole, as it should cover a half-inch of space around the puncture or hole. If it doesn’t, you may not be able to fix the leak.
Since some repair kits include pre-cut patches, you may not even need to cut them yourself. Simply find a patch that is the appropriate size.
Step 6. Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions and Apply the Patch
To properly apply the patch to the air mattress, read the manufacturer’s directions and follow the steps carefully. In some cases, repair kits include sticky patches that can be applied directly to an air mattress. However, some repair kits come with a special glue that you will need to use to adhere patches to an air mattress. In both cases, the packaging of your repair kit will list specific instructions to properly apply the patch to the air mattress.
After applying the patch, press down on it for at least 30 seconds. This will make the patch firmly adhere to the air mattress and you will minimize the risks of the patch coming off.
Keep in mind that, although you should apply the patch smoothly, it is not recommended to remove and reapply it to get it perfectly aligned. The trick is to completely cover the area of the leak. Even if the patch is not smoothly applied, it will do its job as long as the hole is covered.
Step 7. Allow the Glue to Dry Before Inflating the Air Mattress
You should never inflate your air mattress right after patching the hole. Instead, let the glue dry for at least 3 hours, and then inflate the mattress.
As the glue dries, consider putting a heavy object on top of the patch. The extra pressure on the patch will force it to stick to the air mattress.
How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress Without a Patch
If your air mattress did not come with a repair kit and you don’t have one on hand, you can use a hot glue gun to fix the leak in your air mattress.
To fix a hole in an air mattress without a patch, use a hot glue gun. First, place the glue stick into the glue gun and turn it on to heat up. Next, dab a small amount of the hot glue over the hole and the area around the leak. Finally, leave the air bed and let the glue dry completely.
As a hot glue alternative, you can use gel nail polish and a UV lamp. If you have been doing your nails yourself, this trick is definitely for you. If you do not own gel polishes and a UV light source, just use a hot glue gun instead.
Step 1. Place the Glue Stick into the Hot Glue Gun and Let It Heat Up
Place the glue stick into the hot glue gun, turn the hot glue gun on and let it heat up. You do not want the glue stick to melt too much, so start covering the hole in the air bed as soon as the glue starts to heat up.
While glue guns typically come with transparent glue sticks, you can get glue sticks in different colors that will match the color of your air mattress. This will make the seal less noticeable.
Step 2. Dab a Small Amount of Hot Glue Over the Hole and the Area Around the Leak
The next step is to dab a small amount of hot glue over the hole in your air mattress. Then you just do the same for the area around the leak. The hot glue seal should be at least half an inch larger than the hole, on all sides.
Step 3. Let the Glue Dry Completely Before Inflating the Air Mattress and Test the Seal
Finally, let the hot glue dry fully before you inflate the air bed. Compared to other types of glue used for patches, hot glue dries quicker. Still, it is recommended to wait a bit longer to ensure that the glue is completely dry. Then, inflate the air mattress to check the quality of your hot glue seal. This YouTube video shows how easy it is to repair your air mattress leak using a hot glue gun.
And sometimes, you're just going to have to bite the bullet and buy yourself a new air mattress. Before you do, make sure to read our air bed price guide so you have an idea of what a new air bed is going to cost you.