Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Patch an Aerobed

I think I've come up with two reasonable ways to patch an aerobed. It's harder than slapping the provided sticky plastic patch on. In my experience, the holes occur at the edges of the tufts - the tie-down like areas that keep it from being an aeroball. These are hard areas to get to and to patch. They're even harder to find. A mere 2mm hole will empty the bed in 2 hours, a pinprick will take several more What is necessary is a patch that is permanently affixed but preferably flexible.

aerobed patches that work, both require purple primer:
1) reach the inside of the bed through the outlet valve. Scrunch up the bed until you can reach the hole it took you 2 hours to find. (Ok to mark with permanent marker.) With a q-tip, apply purple primer to the area around the hole and to a bit of that provided plastic patch (or some other bit of vinyl from the junk drawer). Then coat the patch bit with PVC Cement and affix it to the inside. Hold until it stays by itself. Let it set for 30-60 minutes before re-inflating halfway to check the bond. Wait another hour or two for full inflation.

1a) Ok to put similar patch on the outside with purple primer and PVC cement because it helps the interior patch bond.

2) Purple primer and caulk. From the outside, with the bed deflated about halfway, dab on a small amount of purple primer around the hole, using enough that some goes inside the hole. Then squeeze in caulk. I used DAP Kwik Seal. This should form a plug on the inside which is what we're looking for. Mine has been drying for 5 hours now, so it should be fine (2 hours sets the stuff). I'll let you know if it holds during use. I should probably reinflate the mattress to full before pronouncing this working, but it didn't bubble from the start and the purple primer holds it to the bed.

After the patches, I put a bandage of sorts over them to prevent chafing by the bedding. I use an isotonic foam topper on my aerobed. I have a sheet between it and the foam, and a mattress pad over the foam. To prevent all this from causing even more friction, I put a cotton ball and tape over the patch after it's dry. The tape doesn't stick fabulously, but it works well enough. (Duct, pipe, or electrical works best.)

I do love sleeping on my aerobed, but I am getting a little tired of these little holes popping up. For $200, I expect a little more than 16 or so months out of the thing. Here's hoping the $2-6 each for purple primer and PVC cement and $3-5 or so for a tube of kitchen caulk does the trick. If the plain ol' caulk plug doesn't work, I'll put the inner patch on it before I give up, probably using a combination of PVC cement and caulk. Theprevious inside patch seems to be holding up ok.

Aerobed Patches that don't work (w/ or w/o patch):
- sticking that provided patch on as-is
- hot glue
- caulk without primer
- contact cement
- super glue
- duct tape (inside or out)
- electrical tape (inside or out)
- yarn covered in glue that is shoved through the hole from the outside like fixing a flat (although I haven't tried it since I discovered the purple primer trick)


Junior and Orion said...

Some of the other patching options made Meowm laugh. We are glad you found something that works.

CrankyOtter said...

The caulk patch is delaminating a bit. I'm going to have to patch it from the inside, but it has held well enough to last sufficiently through the night for a week and a bit.

David said...

Go to this website and order a Type B patch.


CrankyOtter said...

Update. I finally had a hole I couldn't patch and bought a regular mattress to help the local mattress store in this down economy. It's ok but it's not as comfortable. I did not get a chance to try the tear-aid patch (either used or sold by David), which looks good, but would still have to be applied to the inside when the fuzzy size of the mattress leaked. Then on the inside the tie-down gets in the way of an adhesive patch repair. If put on the surface of either, the most likely hole situation is in the tie-down dent so an adhesive patch blows up like a bubble unless put on the inside like a flat tire patch (better patch than the tarred up string...).

I rather wish aerobed would figure out how to better remove the stress at the edge of those attachment tiedowns. Maybe curve them a little more so the very edge of it isn't quite as pronounced? I did love my aerobed, but the best patch held at most for a month then I'd have to buy a new one.

dlux said...

Duct tape did not work for me. Moving on to a product called Kwik Tek

Mrsqueenvee/mrs-flopsybunny said...

You do know these beds are for occasional use only! Being fully inflated at all times stretches the pvc causing the punctures.