Many customers ask questions that lead to one place.  It's time to discard and possibly replace your residential grade inflatable.  I know the box said it was durable, and the price seemed high for something that only lasted X number of years (usually 1 or 2).  But the reality is that most residential grade inflatables are made from cheap materials in a factory far away by very low wage labor.  Whether it was small and cheap, or larger and expensive, it was not designed for a long life.  Here are signs that you've reached the end:


Your inflatable won't stay inflated.

There's no obvious hole that you can patch and the blower appears to be blowing like normal.  It just doesn't hold the air like it used to.  It's likely that something has gone wrong inside that you can't see.  There are any number of things like broken baffles or materials that are shredding or separating.  I know I know, you're saying, "But this is only a year old and everything looks fine on the outside..."  The outside was made with the more durable materials, and they weren't that durable to begin with.  The interior is where the really thin stuff is, and it usually goes before the outside does.  If there's no hole to patch, and no problem with the blower, it can't be repaired and it's time to let it go.


Air is coming through the wall of the inflatable.

On some residential grade inflatables, the manufacturer uses a super thin material on the outside and a rubber coating or bladder on the inside.  After a little while, this bladder or rubber material will degrade and leak.  Give it a little more time, and it'll degrade more.  Eventually you'll have air coming right through the smooth wall of the inflatable.  I'm not talking about leaking seams here, which is normal, but air coming right through the wall.  In some cases you can patch these areas, but the patching is going to get very expensive very soon.  The entire rubber interior is falling apart and there's nothing you can do.  There's no fix-a-flat like product for this.  It's time to let it go.


The blower isn't blowing, or isn't blowing enough.

Check the obvious first.  Do you have power?  Is the blower turned on?  Check craig's list for a used one.  Someone out there might have had one of the other problems in this article but still has a working used blower.  Your local inflatable rental operator might have a really old half-dead commercial grade blower that they'll sell you.  Be careful with this solution though because a half-dead commercial grade blower might still be too strong for your residential grade inflatable.  If you try this option and it blows your aging little bouncer apart, I warned you!


A large bulge has appeared somewhere on the inflatable.

You have a broken baffle.  Unless you're willing to dive in like a surgeon and get out your needle and thread, this is not repairable.  Remember, the materials on the inside are usually lighter and cheaper than the materials on the outside.  Sewing this stuff back together often just doesn't work.


If you didn't get the life that you thought you should have from a residential grade inflatable, toss it, learn from your mistake, and don't buy another one.  When buying residential grade inflatables, you need to approach the transaction with realistic expectations.  If you got 1 or more years out of it, you did pretty good.  Residential grade inflatables can cost anywhere from $40 to $1,000 or more, but the life expectancy is generally the same 1 to 2 years.  Make sure you approach the purchase more like an expense (like eating out or seeing a movie) and less like an actual asset purchase (like buying clothes or electronics).  The latter were designed to last a few years, but most residential grade inflatables are not.