What to do if air compartments become soft over time?

All inflatable products, including dinghies, kayaks and rafts are tested at our factory. They are kept fully inflated for 48 hours. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that brand new inflatable products are leaking air right out of the box. If air is escaping rapidly from a valve when you inflate your product for the first time, then most likely you are not properly locking the air valve.

If you leave your boat fully inflated, come back in a couple of weeks and the air chambers are soft, then there are two possible reasons for this besides a temperature drop; the least likely reason for a slow air leak is a micro hole, and most likely is a slow valve leak.

If you suspect that a valve is the source of the slow leak, you can verify this by fully inflating the air chamber, closing the valve cover and applying a soapy water mixture around the valve housing and cover cap. Air may escape around the valve perimeter, cap perimeter, or in the place where the string securing the valve cover cap enters the valve housing.

Over time, it is possible that debris, sand, dirt, oils and grime will accumulate on the rubber seal ring that is designed to keep the valve air tight. That may allow a small amount of air to slowly escape, making the tube and chambers soft. To remove debris you will need to blow air into the open valve with a hand pump while keeping the hose slightly away from valveā€™s unlocked pushpin. It might be also possible to splash a bit of acetone inside the valve to clean off the dirt and grime. Leave the valve open to let the acetone evaporate. If that does not help, remove the valve with a special valve tool, clean the rubber seal with a cotton swab soaked in acetone and re-install the valve with a tight fit. If that does not help, then valve needs to be replaced.

If you are observing air bubbles around the valve housing perimeter while applying a soapy mixture, there is a possibility that the valve needs to be tightened with a specialized valve tool.

You can also quickly seal the slowly leaking air valve by applying a thin layer of glue around the valve housing perimeter, or putting a drop of glue inside the opening, where the string that secures the valve cover enters the valve housing, if you observe air bubbles at that particular place. Household silicone sealant may also be applied in place of the glue.

 

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