There’s a lot to love about air mattresses: they are quick, convenient and portable. However, they are also prone to punctures. Anything from an overeager pet to a belt buckle could pop your air mattress.
Fortunately, most leaks can be fixed easily. The problem, however, is that these holes can be tricky to locate. But not to worry, here is a simple guide that will teach you how to find a hole in an air mattress.
Step 1: Check the valve
Before you spend hours searching in vain for a leak, the first thing you need to do is check the valve. More often than not, an incorrectly closed valve is the reason for an air mattress going flat.
The first thing you need to do is move the air mattress to a quiet place with plenty of room for you to walk around it. Next, inflate the mattress as you normally would, then squat close to the valve.
If you hear a hissing sound or can feel a bit of air pressure, then you have identified the source of your “leak.” Close the valve properly and listen again. If the valve is broken, you probably won’t be able to fix it.
If the valve isn’t leaking, then you can proceed to check other parts of the air mattress.
Step 2: Check along the seams
Next, you would need to move around the air mattress with your ears close to the seams to listen for the sound of escaping air. As you can imagine, this method requires a lot of patience.
Gently push down on the inflated mattress as you crawl around it. While the leak could come from any part of the mattress, there is a higher chance that it will be around the fabric. If the area around you is too noisy or you don’t trust your hearing, you can use tissue or a bit of plastic to help you.
Run the tissue paper over the seams and watch to see if it will dart up when it goes over a leak. Alternatively, you can wet the back of your hand and hover over the mattress. If it comes across any leaks, the air will make the water on your hand feel cool.
While this step is effective for big holes, it can be powerless against really tiny ones. You can estimate how bad a leak is by how quickly the air mattress deflates.
If you have found your leak, circle it with a marker or stick a bit of duct tape over it. If you haven’t discovered the leak yet, then you might need a slightly more scientific approach.
Step 3: Use the dish soap trick
Dish soap and water have been used to identify leaks in tyres and pool floats for decades. It is a more effective method than trying to listen by ear, as long as you don’t mind getting your air mattress wet.
But before you begin, you might need to reinflate the air mattress, due to all the squeezing from the previous step.
Put a bit of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the air mattress, starting along the seams, then move on to the base. If there is any escaping air, it will cause the dish soap to bubble continuously.
Same as before, circle around it with a marker.
If you still haven’t discovered the leak, there is one more thing you can try.
Step 4: Drown the mattress
Okay, slightly dramatic, but necessary. When all else fails, you might need to submerge the mattress. However, first, confirm if your mattress can be soaked in water without damaging the seams.
First, open the valve to let half of the air out. Then go to a bathtub or a pool and dunk the air mattress in bit by bit. Start with the valve area, and gently squeeze the mattress to try and force air out. If you see any bubbles, you’ve found your leak.
If you don’t see a leak around the valve, then continue dunking it in stages until you find the spot. If you have a pool, you can throw the mattress in and watch for bubbles. They will be small, so you need to look closely.
This method will reveal even the tiniest of holes, but should only be a last resort.
What to do after you find the hole
It is always a good idea to try and patch a hole in an air mattress rather than throw it away. Most air mattresses are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are not easy to recycle, making them unsustainable.
Fortunately, any hole that isn’t from the valve can be fixed using a patch kit and strong adhesives. But you know what they say about prevention and cures…
How to prevent holes in your air mattress
Trying to find a hole in an air mattress can be stressful, so it is best not to have to deal with that predicament in the first place. Here are a few things you can do.
1. Don’t ever overinflate it
You would think that a fully inflated bed would make your sleep more comfortably, but instead, it will ruin the mattress and your night’s rest.
2. Always use a bedsheet
This will reduce the chances of a pet or sharp object puncturing the air mattress. It will also protect the sleeper from the phthalates in the PVC, which can be harmful to human beings, especially older citizens.
3. Don’t sit on it
Sitting on an air mattress applies too much pressure on a fixed point. This can cause the seams to come loose in that area.
4. Always deflate it for storage
The longer you leave it inflated, the higher the risk of damage.
Despite the convenience air mattresses bring, they can be quite the hassle if something ever goes wrong. However, if it does leak, at least now you know how to find it.
Remember that air mattresses do not provide adequate support for the body, so they should not be used as a regular mattress. Instead, use a product that was designed just for you or think about investing in an antimicrobial foam mattress.
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