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Why Does My Air Mattress Keep Deflating? 7 Likely Reasons

air mattress inside a room

Air mattresses are commonly used in guest rooms, at family gatherings, and for camping trips. Air mattresses are very convenient, but they all seem to suffer from the same problem: They have a bad habit of deflating overnight. People go to sleep on a nice firm mattress and wake up lying on the floor on top of a weak and saggy mattress. This is a very common occurrence, and it is a very frustrating experience. What causes an air mattress to deflate? Why does the air mattress keep deflating overnight?

There are multiple things that could cause an air mattress to lose integrity over time. Some of the problems have easy fixes, while others might be indicative of an air mattress that is past its prime. Here are seven likely reasons that your air mattress is deflating.

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The 7 Likely Reasons Your Mattress Keeps Deflating

1. The Intake Valve or Cap Is Leaking

The most common place to have an issue with your air mattress deflating is with the intake valve, where the mattress gets inflated. This is a natural weak spot for the mattress because it is an opening where air freely flows in and out. The area around the valve can weaken over time. Sometimes people simply forget to properly cap the valve, which can lead to a slow leak overnight. If you have a new mattress that is suffering from deflation problems, it is likely an issue with the intake valve. Check the cap and make sure that it is secure after inflating the mattress.

Inflatable pillow valve
Image By: T.Dallas, Shutterstock

2. You Have a Small Puncture

One of the most common and infuriating problems that can cause deflating is a small puncture. Most holes in an air mattress are very small and can be impossible to detect with the naked eye. A small puncture like this can cause very gradual and constant deflation without a recognizable cause. If you can locate the puncture, you can attempt to patch it with a tube patching kit or some thick and durable tape.

However, in many cases, these tiny holes are impossible to find, and they might be a problem you have to manage rather than fix. You can prevent holes by keeping pets away from air mattresses and making sure that you store and transport them properly.

3. Sitting on the Edge of the Mattress

People like to pop a squat and sit down on an air mattress when they are inflated and around. But air mattresses are designed for lying and not for sitting. If you must sit on an air mattress, you should sit in the middle of the mattress. But many people sit on the edge, and that can cause a lot of damage to the mattress. When you sit on the edge of an air mattress, your weight pushes all of the air to the other side of the mattress, putting a ton of strain on a small portion of the mattress’s surface area. If you sit on the mattress opposite the intake valve, you could put all of that strain on the valve, causing it to leak air over time.

air mattress deflatting
Image By: Lost_in_the_Midwest, Shutterstock

4. Exceeding the Weight Limit

Air mattresses come with a weight limit that should not be exceeded. If the weight limit is exceeded, it could cause damage to the structure of the mattress, which can lead to slow deflation. Larger air mattresses have higher weight limits. Most mattresses can comfortably fit one person but might struggle to accommodate two or three people. Check your air mattresses’ weight limit if you are experiencing deflation problems. If the mattress is overweight, it could be pushing air out of it, and even sitting on the mattress counts. If you have a bunch of people sitting on an air mattress it could damage the mattress.

5. The Air Mattress Is Overinflated

It might sound like a good idea to inflate your mattress as high as it will go to try to stave off deflation problems. The more air in the mattress, the longer it will take to deflate, right? But that is not the case. Overinflating an air mattress can actually cause it to deflate faster. Overinflating the mattress past its recommended limits can put a strain on the valves, cells, and skin of the mattress. The additional pressure and wear can cause the seams and openings to weaken, causing air to leak out faster than if the mattress was properly inflated.

Some experts recommend keeping your air mattress inflated at 90% capacity to avoid potentially overinflating your mattress and causing damage.

manual air pump on top of inflatable bed mattress
Image By: Maria Studio, Shutterstock

6. The Air Mattress Was Not Stored Properly

Many people need to think about how they need to store their air mattresses after they are done using them. Air mattresses can be very sensitive, and they need to be stored properly. Some air mattresses need to be folded in a certain way to keep the interior cells and baffles protected. Some air mattresses can be rolled up, but others cannot. Air mattresses should be stored inside and not outside in a garage or shed where they can be exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures during the summer or winter.

Improperly storing your air mattress can cause the outer skin to wear out, leading to micro-tears or holes. You can also cause the interior air cells to weaken and lose their shape, which will cause the mattress to struggle to maintain air pressure. You could also accidentally snag or tear your air mattress if you do not handle it properly.

7. Changes in Air Temperature

Hot air expands and rises while cold air contracts and sinks. The behavior of the air at different temperatures can cause your air mattress to deflate slowly. Air mattresses are generally used at night. The air temperature at night is usually lower than during the day when the mattress is prepped and blown up. That means overnight, as the temperature drops, the air in the mattress will contract and sink, causing the mattress to deflate and sag.

This phenomenon is more common if you are using an air mattress outdoors. For example, if you are camping and the overnight temperatures are slated to be considerably lower than during the day, you could suffer from a deflating mattress due to air temperature changes.

air mattress bed on the floor
Image Credit: Maria Studio, Shutterstock

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How Old Is Your Air Mattress?

Older air mattresses have a much higher likelihood of suffering from deflation problems than newer air mattresses. All of the factors that can cause an air mattress to deflate in the night become compounded with age. The older the air mattress, the more likely it has been stored improperly, been punctured, been overinflated, or suffered from stretching and tearing. If you have an old air mattress that has been used many times, it is likely that it is suffering from one or multiple of these problems, and it could be time for an upgrade.

A Little Deflating Is Natural

Anything filled with air will naturally deflate over time. A normal healthy air mattress will still lose some air over a period of a couple of days. A normal rate of deflation will be just slightly noticeable and does not indicate a problem. Air mattresses are not government-grade and are not 100% airtight. Deflation is a problem when the mattress is almost fully deflating overnight to the point where it needs to be refilled in the morning or before the next use. Do not be alarmed if your air mattress loses a little air over time.

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Air mattresses deflate regularly. Sometimes, the problem can be managed or is caused by something simple, but in other cases, it can mean that the mattress was damaged or was misused, causing issues that are harder to fix. Some of the most common causes of deflating air mattresses are small holes and worn-out seams that let air escape. Sometimes persistent deflation issues will require an air mattress replacement. If you replace your air mattress, be sure to read up on the care, storage, and weight instructions so you can keep the new mattress in top shape for longer.

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Featured Image Credit: Maria Studio, Shutterstock


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