It is important to know how to find a hole in an air mattress before you can repair any leaks. This can sometimes be very difficult to do, so here are some tips to help you.
Finding a hole in an air mattress is not always easy, and there are a few ways of doing so. Some holes are easy to spot while others may be no more than a pinprick, releasing air over a period of time. Perhaps there is no air leak until someone sits or lies on the bed and puts pressure on it.
Some of the methods used for finding a leak in an air mattress require the mattress to be deflated, and others can only be carried out with a fully inflated air mattress. Here are some methods to use, beginning with those needing a deflated mattress.
Table of Contents
A. Visual Inspection for Holes or Damaged Seams
Deflate the mattress and visually inspect it for holes or tears. Pay particular attention to the edges on both sides of the mattress, and then to the seams. It is not uncommon for seams to open slightly over a period of time, and these can often be found by a visual examination. You can use a magnifying glass if you have one.
The following methods explain how to find a hole in an air mattress once it has been inflated. Although they can be used to identify the puncture site after inflating the mattress, these techniques are more effective if pressure is put on the mattress – such as kneeling on it or pressing down on it with your hands. Two people are better than one for this job – one exerting pressure on the fully inflated mattress and the other looking for the leak.
B. Check for Pump/Valve Leaks
Air leaks are not always due to punctures. They could be due to a fault in the pump or valve, or due to the seams opening slightly. Inflate the mattress fully, and then put your ear close to the pump or valve. You may be able to hear the air hissing out. If not, wet one of your hands and place it close to the valve – the water makes it easier to feel the air being forced out of the valve. As suggested earlier, it also helps to press down on the mattress to force air out.
If you find that the leak is due to faulty pump or valve, then you may have to order a replacement or get it repaired under warranty. Do not try to fix it yourself or you will likely invalidate any warranty and be charged for a replacement. Such repairs can only be carried out satisfactorily by someone trained and skilled in the job.
C. Use Your Ears – and Listen!
You can often hear the air escaping if you put your ear close to the mattress while you are pressing down on it. It’s easier if you have somebody to put pressure on the mattress while you try to hear the hiss of air escaping. Small holes may emit a whistling sound while larger holes or torn seams may produce a hissing noise. Make sure you mark the site of the puncture once you find it. Draw a circle round it with a marker pen or Sharpie, or you might have to find it all over again!
It may also pay to continue searching after you have found one hole, because there may be more than one. This can be the case if the puncture has been caused by a pet’s sharp claws or even just wear and tear of an old mattress. This is one reason why children should not be allowed to bounce up and down on an air mattress. That places severe stresses on the seams.
D. Use Your Hands to Feel the Escaping Air
The hairs on the back of your hands make them particularly sensitive to air movement. You can often feel the escaping air by running the back of your hands over the mattress, keeping them about ¼ – ½ inch off the surface. Another way to make your hands more sensitive is to wet them. It is easier to feel escaping air with wet hands than with dry.
This method can be successful for larger holes or open seams. Smaller holes might be difficult to identify, although the pressure of the leaking air can be increased significantly by having somebody lie on the mattress or press down on it. The extra pressure can make quite a difference, and even increase the volume of sound the escaping air is making.
E. How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress Using Soapy Water
The objective of using soapy water is to create bubbles where the air is leaking out. Here’s how to do it:
- a) You will need a container for the water, a sponge, dishwashing liquid or dish soap and, of course, water. A small bucket or pan is best for this because you may have to cover the whole mattress. You might be lucky and find the air leak fairly quickly – but then again you might not!
- b) Dissolve a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to a liter or two of water and mix it up. Make sure the mattress is fully inflated, then using the sponge, cover a good area of the mattress and look for bubbles appearing. Mark the site of any you see – the escaping air will create bubbles in the soap solution which are usually easy to see.
- c) Extend this to the whole area of the mattress, renewing the solution when necessary. Now flip the mattress over and check the other side. Pay particular attention to the seams, the edges all round the mattress and any obviously worn areas. Don’t forget to mark the site of any punctures you find.
Watch the following video which explains how to find a hole in an air mattress using your hands and then using soapy water.
The escaping air will create a stream of small bubbles that are easy to see. You can apply the soapy water over the whole surface in one go if you wish, and you can also do this when the mattress is deflated and then inflate it to identify the leaks.
F. Submerse the Mattress
These are the most popular ways of finding a hole in an air mattress. However, if none of the above work then you may have to resort to the submersion technique. For this, you need to have the mattress fully inflated, and then submerge it in water. This is easy if you have a pool, but if not then you may have to use a bathtub, Jacuzzi or hot tub. You can use this method with cold water.
Immerse the entire mattress, or just parts of it at a time if the tub is too small for this. Check for the air bubbles that will identify the source of the leak. You may have to be inventive in marking the offending area, or you could measure its coordinated from the top and side of the mattress and then check over that general area again in order to mark it once the mattress is dry.
Some Tips on Finding a Hole in an Air Mattress
- You could stand the mattress up against a wall once inflated. This should make it easier for you to check for the puncture site than lying on it or bending over it. You can then easily flip it round to check the other side.
- Check the base of the bed for any protrusions or foreign objects that could have punctured the reverse side of the mattress.
- If your mattress has a flocked top, best to use the bubble method – or rub the flock off with fine sandpaper.
- Make sure you draw a circle round the puncture when you find it – you may not be able to find it again otherwise.
- Check your warranty for repairs. Some manufacturer’s warranties are void unless you use an official puncture kit. Inform the seller of the leak and ask for advice.
Summary: How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress
The above advice on how to find a hole in an air mattress should enable you to identify the source of any air leak from your air bed or mattress. How difficult this will be will depend largely on the size of the puncture hole or seam disruption. If you are unable to hear any hiss or whistle of escaping air, then the bubble method might be the best to use.
Make sure that you do not apply extra manual pressure to the bed if you are using the immersion method. Once you reduce that pressure, the bed will suck water back into it which leads to bacterial and mold growth inside the mattress. Also, make sure that you are fully aware of the manufacturer or vendor policy regarding repairs. You may invalidate your warranty, or even your statutory consumer rights, by carrying out an unauthorized repair yourself.
Continue Reading: Easy Steps on How to Repair an Air Mattress at Home »
Just use a permanent marker & place dots around the hole so it’s easy to spot once dry. Thanks for the article.