Steps to Replace an Air Bed Bladder & How To Find The Right Air Bed Bladder
Inflatable air beds have become incredibly popular over the past two decades. Along with being comfortable, they are relatively affordable compared to traditional beds. Air beds are designed to be used as temporary or guest beds, but they can also be used as regular, permanent beds.
To replace an air bed bladder, find the right one according to the air bed’s brand and dimensions. Unzip the top panel of the mattress cover and remove the comfort pad to access the old bladder or air chamber. Remove the air bed bladder by disconnecting the pump hose, install the new air bed bladder and reconnect the hose. Lastly, replace the comfort pad and close up the mattress cover.
Air beds are convenient but also offer enough durability to last for an average of eight years, if maintained properly. This could mean repairing or replacing different parts of the air bed, including the air bed bladders. Our article about air bed long-term use has some great tips and tricks on how to prolong the life of your air bed.
What is an Air Bed Bladder?
Air beds are available in a variety of types, ranging from single-chamber air beds to those featuring two or more chambers. Each chamber consists of a bladder and these are the components that allow different air beds to offer a unique experience for different kinds of users.
An air bed bladder is the internal component of an air bed that can be inflated and adjusted like a balloon by adding or releasing air with a manual, electric, or built-in pump. Air beds feature one or more air bladders, allowing the user to easily adjust the firmness of the bed.
Our article about air mattress weight limits explains a little more about the benefit of having more than one chamber or air bladder in an air bed. Also, inflating air bed bladders individually, enables you to customize either the entire air bed or specific sections of it. This makes it easier for couples to sleep comfortably and get a good night’s sleep. This article about the extraordinary importance of sleep, written by Susan L Worley, highlights exactly why quality sleep is so important.
If you do not really need to create different support zones for particular parts of your body, an air bed with a single bladder should be sufficient. Multiple-chamber air beds are ideal for couples or those who experience aches and pains in their back, shoulders, neck, hips, or other sensitive areas. Check out our article about air bed benefits to see how sleeping on an air bed could be beneficial. Also, as discussed in our article about air beds that can hold 400 pounds or more, air beds with multiple air chambers offer greater durability.
Air bed bladders also come in a variety of materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), nylon, urethane (synthetic rubber), and vulcanized natural rubber or latex. Each type of air bed bladder material offers specific benefits, flexibility, elasticity, and stiffness.
Air Bed Bladder vs. Air Bed Chamber. What’s the Difference?
If you are new to air beds, you might wonder what the difference between an air bed bladder and an air bed chamber is. The answer is simple.
An air bed bladder and an air bed chamber are synonymous terms that refer to the inflatable “bag” inside the air bed. Although some use the term “bladder” to describe the entire system and the term “chamber” to refer to individual bladders within the bed, these two terms essentially mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.
Although there is literally no difference between an air bed bladder and an air bed-chamber, most user manuals and manufacturer websites use the word “chamber”. However, the use of these two words can be region-specific and can be used interchangeably.
Air Bed Chamber Replacement Prices
Air bed-chamber replacements come in a variety of sizes, materials, qualities, and features. Accordingly, prices vary depending on those primary factors.
The price of an air bed-chamber replacement ranges from around $100 to $450 and depends on its dimensions, material, and specific features. Typically, single-bladder replacements are cheaper than those consisting of two or more individual chambers. Also, air bed bladders made of synthetic materials are more affordable than those made of natural latex.
If you regularly use your air bed for camping, it's likely that you will need some replacement items over time. Being able to lift your air bed off the ground while you sleep, might be something useful to consider. Make sure to take a look at our complete guide explaining how to lift an air bed for camping for more details. Alternatively, you also want to know all of the common air bed dangers and how to fix them. So be sure to check out that article too.
How to Find the Right Air Bed Bladder For Your Air Mattress
If your air bed has been sagging lately, a damaged air bed bladder might be the reason. Instead of investing in a brand-new air bed, you can simply replace the air bed bladder. As well as being a relatively affordable option, air bed bladder replacement is not as challenging as it might seem. As long as you find the right air bed chamber for your air mattress, there is nothing to worry about!
To find the right air bed bladder for your air mattress, first identify the manufacturer, then determine the dimensions of the air bed, and select the preferred material for the air bed bladder. Lastly, order an original air bladder replacement from the manufacturers of the air bed, or a universal air bed bladder through an e-commerce platform.
Before you follow the steps listed below for choosing a suitable air bed bladder for your air mattress, take the time to explore this owner’s manual by Personal Comfort. The manual includes basic information on air bed chambers, enabling you to get a general idea of how they work and what you should be looking for.
Step 1. Check the Manufacturer Brand and Model of Your Air Bed
If you have noticed that your air bed-chamber needs to be replaced, you need to first identify the manufacturer brand and the specific model of the bed by checking the label or the packaging. Whether you are going to purchase a brand-specific or universal air bed chamber, knowing the particular company that manufactured your air mattress will make things much more straightforward. In this way, you will not have to worry about whether an air bed chamber is compatible with your air bed. To ensure that you are making the right choice, you can contact the manufacturer for further guidance.
Step 2. Determine the Dimensions of Your Air Bed
The next step is to identify the size and dimensions of your air bed. Either check the packaging or measure the air mattress manually. Measure the length, width, and height of the internal part of your air bed cover. You can also measure the old air bed-chamber to make sure you get one that perfectly fits into your air mattress cover. Make sure you take accurate measurements and double-check the dimensions once you are done. Measuring an air mattress can be awkward because of its size, but this handy industrial tape measure can be helpful in getting accurate sizing information.
Step 3. Think of the Material of Your Air Bed Bladder Replacement
Another thing to consider when choosing a suitable air bed-chamber replacement is the material it is made of. Common air bed bladder materials include polyvinyl chloride (PVC, strong but lightweight plastic), polyurethane (i.e., urethane, synthetic rubber), nylon, and vulcanized natural latex. Each of these materials has its pros and cons.
PVC and polyurethane are two of the most commonly used synthetic plastic polymers in the production of air bed chambers. They are mostly inert, do not deteriorate over time, and are flexible, making them ideal. If a leak is detected, air mattress chambers made of these materials can easily be fixed. Check out our article how to fix an air bed leak for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Nylon is another air bed bladder material. Air bed chambers made of nylon do not offer as much flexibility and elasticity as those made of vulcanized natural latex.
Natural rubber air bed chambers are incredibly pliable and stretchy. Natural rubber is one of the finest materials for air bed bladders. It tends to withstand high amounts of pressure and last for longer periods of time.
Depending on your budget and personal preferences, select one of these materials for your air bed chamber replacement. If it is available and you can afford a more expensive bladder, we would definitely recommend purchasing one made of vulcanized natural latex.
Step 4. Order a Brand-Specific or Universal Air Bed Chamber Replacement
The last step is to order your air bed-chamber replacement through the original manufacturer or through Amazon or another online retailer. You may also be able to purchase an air bed bladder replacement at your local camping or outdoor store.
If you have decided to get a brand-specific air bed-chamber, you will need to make sure that the selected replacement part is suitable for the specific model of your air bed. In the case of universal air bed-chamber replacements, the product description will include details about its compatibility with particular air bed brands and models. You can always contact the air bed manufacturer or the seller to get more information and guidance.
When shopping for an air bed-chamber, remember that you do not necessarily have to purchase the entire bladder system. If you own a multiple-chamber air bed, you can get away with replacing only the faulty chamber.
Steps to Replace an Air Bed Bladder
Properly replacing the air bed bladder is just as important as selecting the right one for your specific air mattress. Take it step-by-step to make sure that neither your air bed nor the replacement air chamber is damaged during the process.
To replace an air bed bladder, first, unzip the air mattress cover and remove the comfort pad. After accessing the air chamber or chambers, carefully remove the faulty one by disconnecting the pump hoses and any snaps. Next, put the new air chamber into the foam support tray and connect the pump hoses and any snaps. Finally, put the comfort pad back on top of the air chambers and zip up the air mattress cover.
Step 1. Unzip the Air Bed Cover and Remove the Comfort Pad
To access the air chambers in an air bed, first, unzip the top panel of the air bed cover all the way around. Typically, inside the cover, air beds include a comfort pad on top of the air chambers. You will need to remove the comfort pad before you replace the air chamber.
Step 2. Carefully Remove the Air Chamber by Disconnecting the Pump Hoses
As you access the air chamber, carefully disconnect the pump to avoid damaging the hose. If your air bed consists of multiple chambers, only remove the ones that are damaged. There is no need to disassemble the entire system as long as you can easily access the faulty ones.
In some cases, air chambers are attached directly to the air bed cover. If this is the case, first, disconnect the snaps. Then, carefully detach the air chambers from their connection points. Check out this video by StateServ Medical, for further instructions.
Simply lift out the old air chamber once it is completely disconnected.
Step 3. Install the New Air Chamber and Connect the Hoses to the Pump
The next step is to properly insert the replacement air chamber according to the directions for your specific air bed. Generally, this means placing the new air chamber into the foam support tray so that the hoses are situated at the head of the air bed. Then, the hoses are connected to the pump by running the air chamber hoses through the hole in the foam support tray and air bed cover. The hoses need to be straight with no kinks, twists, or knots. This YouTube video tutorial by Boyd Night Air Beds shows how to properly set up an air bed and install the air chamber or chambers into the foam support tray.
Step 4. Replace the Comfort Pad on Top of the Air Chamber and Zip Up the Air Bed Cover
To finish the air bed-chamber replacement process, replace the comfort pad back on top of the air bladder. Next, replace the air bed cover. And voila, you have successfully replaced the air bed bladder.
To reinforce the steps above, read this manufacturer’s manual by Sleep Number. It details the proper installation of air chambers, featuring pictures and videos explaining the entire process.