How to setup, operate and take down a bounce house

Picasso TilesOne of the things we’re going to look at is to make sure that we have enough space for the inflatable (Read more: Top bounce house for kids). We’re going to need 20 by 20. It’s a 15 by 15 inflatable, so we’re going to be 20 by 20. If the height is 15 feet we’re going to need 16-foot clearance. When you’re outdoors, one thing to look for at your height is any overhead trees or branches.  You need to make sure you’re free of those. And then also power lines, telephone lines, anything that’s strung, you need to make sure that you’re clear of that. 

You can use a dolly to bring the inflatable in. That’s the easiest way. If you don’t have a dolly, you have a couple of options. One is, you can team lift, one person on either side. The second is you can tip into place or even roll into place.

The easiest is to use a dolly. You never want to drag any of the inflatables, it’ll cause damage to the unit. Once you have your inflatable in place, simply pull, and that’s it. All of our inflatables are rolled from the entrance back. So when we set them up, we’re going to go from the back forward. This will be our entrance. Then we’re going to open up the unit. I think a second person is helpful, but not required.

Set Up The Blower

The next step is connecting the blower. Now, you will find that most units have at least one blower tube, most have two or even three. Unless specified, you’re just connecting one blower to each unit. We need to make sure that the strap is on the backside of the lip, that way it prevents it from pulling forward. Using the alligator clip, make sure you have a nice tight connection.

For any additional blower tubes, simply fold over and seal. When using an extension cord, you’ll want to run both chords parallel, make a simple knot, and then plug. This prevents the plug from becoming undone should someone trip or pull on the extension cord. The next step is to power on the unit. You’ll find a toggle switch located typically on the front of the blower. Now that the unit’s inflating, go ahead and secure using the sandbags. Outdoor locations on grass, you can use the provided stakes.

How to Takedown

Now that we’re set up, we’re going to verify our setup using the setup and takedown report. The weather conditions are safe for operation. We’re indoors. The vinyl is clean and sanitized once you get it. All of the seams and meshes are secure and in good condition. We check this every time before the inflatable goes out. Tie-down straps in all four corners are strong with no breakage.

This unit is secured with sandbags and needs to remain anchored at all times. The entrance and exit of this unit do not have any obstructions and needs to remain clear. The warning signs are posted on the unit in yellow. As mentioned earlier, we are free of utility lines 15 feet in all directions. And when we ran our extension cord, we ran that around the unit so that it doesn’t pose a tripping hazard.

Safety Instructions / Operation

The next step is going to be the operator training. Every inflatable ride has to have an operator in order to be used safely. On this unit, you need to make sure that there’s no roughhousing or rowdy behavior, absolutely no flips allowed inside the unit. The operator needs to stay with the ride at all times. Anyone who goes in needs to remove their shoes, their glasses, and empty their pockets before entering. You’ll want to make sure that kids are the same age and size are in together.

Riders need to obey and follow the safety rules. There’s no food or drinks allowed in or around the inflatable. Units that are returned dirty are subject to a $50 cleaning fee. Remove riders when they’re tired. This applies especially to younger children towards the end of a party.

They get tired and want to lay down, their limbs are now exposed and other children can jump on them. Be aware and follow the safety rules. If your unit does deflate, stay calm, remove the riders and refer to your troubleshooting guide. Do not use it in the rain or heavy winds. And there’s no silly string to be used in or around the inflatable.

Deflation process

You need properly clean and sanitize the bounce house. After that, we’re ready to turn the blower off and start the deflation process. Remove the blower tube to let the airflow out. If you have a unit with zippers, now is the time to unzip all of the zippers and/or Velcro areas to let additional air out. You take out any stakes or sandbags. That we’re completely deflated, we’re going to go ahead and move everything to the inside of the inflatable before we start folding. There’s a seam on the bottom. This should be on the outside edge and everything should be pulled in.

Once that’s complete, we’re going to go ahead and fold the unit in half. At this point, this is the bottom of the unit on top, you can go ahead and walk on that with shoes. Don’t walk on the unit on any other surface other than the bottom. At this point, it’s oftentimes helpful to walk in and out to remove any excess air.

The next step is we’re going to fold the unit in half once again. Make sure your blower tubes are left out so that the air doesn’t become trapped inside the unit. Again, we’re going to walk everything out, removing the excess air.

Before we start rolling, we’re going to proactively place our strap underneath the unit so when we come to the end, we’ll be able to wrap it up. It’s important to get a nice tight roll at the beginning, the first foot or so. If you have a sloppy start, you’re going to have a sloppy finish.


So we’re going to take a little extra time and make sure that our roll is nice and tight from the beginning. When you’ve reached the end of the unit, you’re going to want to tuck the blower tubes in, as well as any excess material, before finishing your roll. We’ve got our strap already placed.

James/ author of the article
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