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How to Fix an Air Bed That Keeps Losing Air [Causes & Solutions]

A leaking or deflating air mattress can be very frustrating and uncomfortable. Your air bed may be losing air for a variety of reasons. In this article we help you assess why your air mattress is leaking and offer targeted fixes to stop any leak.


More and more people are using air beds as an additional sleeping option in their homes. Whether its for guests, full time use or space saving purposes you want to be sure it is in proper working condition and even a small leak can be very frustrating and leave you sleeping on the floor by morning.

The Lifespan of an Air Mattress

Before you fix an air bed that keeps losing air, consider how long you’ve had it. Most good-quality air mattresses can last multiple years, with eight years being the average.

If you’ve had your bed for close to that long, it may be time for a new one. Sure, you could fix any leaks or other issues, but that may not be worth it.

On the other hand, if your air mattress is a year or two old, fixing it can help extend its lifespan, and you can enjoy it for many more years.

Now, maybe you sleep on an air mattress as your primary bed. Using it more often than for the occasional guest visit or camping trip can decrease the lifespan to as little as six months.

Identify the Cause: Why Your Air Bed Keeps Losing Air

Throughout the life of your air bed, you may find it starts to lose air. If your air mattress deflates as you use it, you may not get good sleep, or you may simply feel uncomfortable.

Consider the following reasons why an air mattress may not retain air as it once did.

1. A Small Hole(s)

Check out our post on how to locate an air mattress hole.

Probably the most obvious reason an air mattress loses air is that there are holes in it. Sometimes, you may be able to see a leak when you pull out your air bed. Large rips can occur if you or someone else accidentally tears the mattress.

However, smaller holes can also be a problem, and they can be a more significant issue. It’s much more tricky to locate smaller holes and tears. Plus, you may not be able to avoid them.

As you use your mattress, you’ll place pressure on it. That pressure can either lead directly to tears in the bed or cause it to stretch. Over time, if the mattress stretches too much, holes may pop up.

2. Room Temperature

You should also consider the temperature of the room where you sleep. If the temperature fluctuates throughout the night, that can affect the air pressure in the mattress. The change is very similar to how your tires lose pressure when the temperature drops.

If the room temperature is different from the air inside the mattress, that can affect the pressure and make the mattress feel like it’s losing air. You may go to sleep with a fully-inflated bed only to find it sags by the time you wake up.

Unfortunately, sleeping in too hot of a room can also have a negative impact. The heat could soften the PVC material of the mattress, and that can cause it to stretch and lose air pressure.

3. Excessive Weight

Most air mattresses have a set weight limit that you need to follow. If you exceed that limit, the weight could stretch the air bed, leading to leaks.

Some mattresses can support more weight than others. For example, most king air beds can handle more weight than twin or full air mattresses. While you may not need a larger mattress, consider how much you and your partner weigh together.

Then, you can ensure your air bed supports both of you. Now, you might be able to go over the limit occasionally, but you shouldn’t do so regularly.

4. Sitting/Jumping on the Bed

Before bed, you may want to sit on the side of your air mattress. That way, you can easily put on socks or adjust the belongings on your side table. Maybe during the day, you like to sit on your bed to watch TV or check your email.

Sitting on a traditional bed shouldn’t be an issue. However, sitting on an air bed too often means you’re placing pressure on one specific part of the mattress. When that happens, the material may start to stretch to the point where holes develop or the mattress simply will need more air to fill the newly stretched fabric.

Lying on your air bed is a much safer option because it distributes your weight evenly. 

5. Immediate Use

You shouldn’t have to worry about problems right away. However, if your new air mattress deflates, consider if you inflated it and started sleeping on it that night. Like other types of mattresses, it helps to let your new air bed sit for a while.

Specifically, you should inflate it and leave it alone for about two days. That will allow the fabric time to stretch and the air time to settle so the air bed can form properly.

If you put any weight on it immediately, you can keep the mattress from expanding correctly. Then, you may increase the chances of damaging it soon after your purchase. Use another mattress for a couple of days until your air bed is ready.

6. Improper Storage

Inflating and deflating your air mattress too often can cause problems. However, not everyone has a home where they can leave the mattress out all of the time. If you can’t safely leave your air bed out during the day, you should roll it up.

You should also put it away if you don’t use it for a few days. Be sure to deflate the air mattress entirely and fold it up so you can put it in a box in a closet.

Store the mattress out of reach of kids and pets. That way, you can keep from damaging the mattress before using it. You should also store the air bed somewhere away from scissors and other sharp objects that could penetrate the material.

7. Pet Access

Another reason why your air mattress deflates is that a pet has gotten on it. Whether you have a dog or a cat, their claws can dig into the material and tear the mattress. Of course, the tear can then cause air to leak.

This doesn’t mean you should declaw your cat. However, you may want to rethink allowing your pets in your bedroom or guest room. Even just walking on the mattress could lead to problems.

Your cat or dog might not mean to scratch the air mattress. If they have pretty sharp claws, the tear can develop naturally. It’s best to keep pets away from the bed to minimize the chance of rips.

8. Child Access

Along with pets, your children could be the reason why your air bed can’t hold air. Young kids may not understand the importance of protecting the bed. They could jump, walk or sit in one place, which can then cause pressure and tears.

Before you let your kids use an air mattress or access yours, teach them to be careful. Make sure they’re old enough to take care of it. You can also only allow them to be in the room when you’re there to supervise.

9. Overinflating the Bed

If you manually inflate your air mattress, it can be pretty easy to over-inflate it. Filling the bed with too much air may seem like a good idea. That way, as the air mattress deflates with use, you’ll still have enough pressure to support you as you sleep.

However, inflating the bed too much can affect the seams. They may start to tear, so your air bed could develop leaks.

The more you over-inflate the mattress, the more likely you’ll experience this problem. If possible, inflate the air bed to about 90 percent of the maximum capacity. Then, you’ll have plenty of support, and you can keep the bed in good condition.

Solutions: Tips To Fix an Air Bed That Keeps Losing Air

Once you have an idea of why your air mattress deflates, you’ll know what to avoid. For example, you may decide not to sot on your bed or allow pets in your bedroom.

Step #1: Verify the Problem

First, you’ll need to figure out if the problem is due to a leak or the mattress has stretched. If the mattress has stretched, you may not need to do anything to fix it right now. However, you can be more careful when getting on and off the bed to keep a leak from forming.

For better or worse, in many cases, you will have a leak that you need to fix. You’ll need to inflate your air bed to around that 90 percent mark mentioned earlier. Then, lie on the bed for a while and pay attention to any sagging or deflation.

While you can sleep on the bed, it’s best to stay awake so that you can notice any changes to the pressure. If the bed loses air as you rest on it, there’s a good chance it has a leak.

Step #2: Pinpoint the Leak

Next, you’ll want to determine where the leak is on the air mattress. If you’re dealing with a massive rip or tear, you should be able to see it. Look on all sides and the top and bottom to discover the source.

Common places to check first include near the pump and by the seams. Leaks can easily pop up in those areas. If you can’t find anything, consider what may have caused the leak, such as a cat or dog’s claw.

In that case, you can look at the areas where your pet usually walks on the bed. If all else fails and you can’t find the leak, press on the mattress. Listen for air escaping to help detect the problem.

If that doesn’t work, you can go into the kitchen and put some dish soap on a sponge. Get suds to form on the sponge, then rub it all over the air mattress. You may start to see large bubbles, and that will tell you where the leak is.

Step #3: Clean the Area

After you figure out where the leak is on the air bed, you’ll want to clean the area. Of course, if you had to use a sponge, you could clean the entire mattress. Then, let it air dry completely so a patch will stick to the material.

You can also use a marker to circle the spot with the leak. That way, you won’t have to search for it again, which can be difficult if the leak is small.

Make sure to use a marker with a soft tip so that you don’t accidentally puncture the mattress and need to use more patches. Alternatively, you could use some colorful tape to form a circle around the hole or tear.

STEP #4: Patch the Leak

Next, you’ll need to find something to patch the hole. Some air beds come with a patch kit that you can use. An included patch kit is ideal because it’s perfect for the air mattress you own.

However, you can also buy an air bed patch kit online. Then, you’ll get the materials you need to cover the hole and get your air mattress to work properly.

Another option is to buy a bike tire patch kit. You can also create your own patch kit with materials from a shower curtain or another thin piece of plastic. Do whatever works best for you based on what you have on hand, and follow any instructions from a mattress patch kit.

If you don’t have any of those options, you can use a hot glue gun as a last resort. The glue gun is excellent for use near seams. However, you’ll need to be careful and keep the gun from contacting the mattress directly, or you could melt that part of the mattress.

When to Replace Your Air Mattress

You may not always be able to fix an air bed that keeps losing air or deflates. Even after trying different methods, you might not be able to find the source of the leak.

Or perhaps you can find the hole, but you don’t have a patch that’s large enough to cover it. If your mattress is old, it may be time to buy a new one anyway.

On the other hand, if your air mattress is relatively new, it may still be under warranty. Depending on the cause, you may qualify for a replacement from the manufacturer.

How To Protect Your New Air Bed

If you decide to get a new air bed, you should know how to keep it safe. Then, you can reduce the chances of it losing air or deflating.

Consider the following tips to help protect your new air mattress.

Buy the Right Air Bed

Don’t just buy the first air mattress you find. Instead, spend a bit of time researching the best models out there. You should look for an air bed in the right size, such as a queen or king, so it will be big enough for you and your partner.

It’s also essential to buy an air bed with a thick material. A thick top is particularly important since that’s what you’ll lie on each night. Look for heavy-duty air beds to make sure they use the best materials.

Finally, consider who will sleep on the mattress and how much they weigh. If you share the bed, add your weight to that of the other person. Then, you can buy a mattress with a high enough maximum weight limit.

Fill It Up

When you first get your new air bed, fill it up and let it sit undisturbed for about two days. Make sure you keep pets and kids away from it. Don’t put anything on the mattress, including sheets, pillows, and other small items.

Doing this will allow the mattress to settle and expand. It will form the proper shape, and you can ensure it looks and feels good to sleep on.

Ideally, you’d let the bed expand in an extra room in your home. However, you can let it settle in your bedroom or the living room if you’re careful not to mess with it.

Store It Safely

You should also decide if you plan to leave the air mattress out or not. If you want to deflate it after each use, you can do so. However, you’ll need a safe place to store the mattress when you aren’t using it.

Consider keeping the box the air mattress came in. That way, it will have a hard protective case, so you don’t have to worry about anything puncturing it.

You can also use a big trash bag or something similar to store the mattress. No matter what you keep it in, make sure you put it on a higher shelf. That way, your kids and pets can’t get into it and puncture a hole leading to a leak.

Maintain the Room Temperature

As you use your new air bed, keep an eye on the room temperature. Try to keep the temperature as consistent as possible so that the air pressure stays the same.

One way to do this is to use a fan or an air conditioning unit. You can also use a space heater if you need to keep the room a bit warmer. However, try not to keep it too hot to the point where it will affect the material.

The temperature doesn’t have to be a specific degree, so you can keep it a comfortable temperature for you. Just make sure the heat doesn’t fluctuate too much, especially as your new mattress settles.

Only Use the Bed for Sleeping

Another thing you can do to keep your bed in good shape is to only use it for sleeping. Avoid sitting on it to watch TV, for example. If you want to do something in your bed while you’re awake, lie down to help distribute your weight more evenly.

You can buy a chair for your room to have another spot to sit. Then, you can put on your shoes or socks without sitting on the edge of the bed.

Use an Automatic Pump

If possible, buy an air bed with an automatic pump. For one, the pump allows you to start the process and then do other activities to get ready for bed.

However, the pump will stop filling the bed with air once it has enough air inside. That way, you can keep from over-inflating it and putting excess pressure on the seams.

Close the Bedroom Door

You may also want to start sleeping with your door closed. First, closing the door can help with temperature control since air from the hallway won’t get inside.

Closing your door can also keep pets and kids from getting into your room. Then, you won’t have to worry about your pet’s claws tearing the bed. You can still allow them or your kids in the room, but you can supervise them.

When Your Air Mattress Deflates

If your air mattress deflates, it can be stressful. You may wake up in pain due to a lack of support from your bed.

Fortunately, you can quickly fix the leak and get your bed back in good condition. Be sure to consider a few common causes of leaks and other problems.

Then, you can take the best steps to prevent those issues from happening in the future.

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