A Guide To Setting Up And Maintaining Inflatable Decorations

With another busy holiday season approaching fast, it’s time to think about the best way to decorate your home and show off a little holiday cheer. You may have noticed that outdoor inflatable decorations — those puffy, bouncey giants — have become incredibly popular of late. If you’re ready to try your own hand at inflatables, you’ll find it surprisingly easy and affordable!

How Outdoor Inflatable Decorations Work

Inflatable holiday decorations are surprisingly simple. They’re sewn together out of a tight, weatherproof nylon shell in an endless variety of pleasing forms. From traditional holiday figures to licensed Hollywood characters, you can find inflatables to suit every taste.

Inflatables are powered by a small, integrated air intake unit that’s typically set at the base of the decoration. This intake starts up automatically when you plug your decoration in, providing just enough positive air pressure to inflate the decoration. While holiday inflatables are designed for long-term operation, most manufacturers recommend running them for no more than 8 hours at a stretch.

First: Plan Ahead!

Perhaps the most important part of setting up an inflatable decoration tableau outside your house is making sure that you have the space for it! You should be able to find full dimensions for any inflatable — most importantly height, width, and depth — before purchasing it. Take the time to verify that your decoration has ample clearance on all sides, allowing for some movement due to wind.

If you’re plunging right into a display featuring multiple decorations, take your time with planning out the way the different inflatables are going to relate. The decorations don’t need to be very close together to create pleasing associations; you don’t want to crowd your available space too much.

Placing Your Decorations

Getting your inflatables ready for use is as easy as opening up the packaging and unfurling them! (Save the boxes, though; they’re the best way to store your decorations when the holiday season is over!) Site the air intake where you want the base of the decoration to be and make sure it’s free of obstructions like leaves or other yard debris.

You inflatable decorations should come with all of the hardware necessary to secure them; about all you need to provide is a hammer. Follow all of the manufacturer’s directions regarding your decorations’ ground tie-downs. If you’re expecting high winds over the holiday season, take extra care with your arrangements. You’ll power down your decorations during high winds, but they still need to be firmly fixed to the ground.

Normal Operations

As noted above, most decorations are designed to operate for eight hours or less at a stretch. Do not exceed any restrictions that appear in your decorations’ manuals. A lot of decorations are designed for use during both the day and the night. Some may come with integrated lights for night-time use.

Other decorations can be lit up by adding third-party lights inside them. Verify in the instructions that this is a safe practice before you attempt it! Most decorations are highly fire-resistant but you don’t want to create a fire hazard.

Maintenance And Repairs

The only form of damage that can really knock your inflatable decorations out of commission is a catastrophic failure of the air intake unit. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as you keep it free of loose debris. Make it a habit to check the air intakes briefly every time you switch your decorations on.

If you notice a tear in a decoration’s shell, you’ll find it easy to repair. The durable fabric of inflatable decorations can be sewn together like any other piece of cloth. You can also use a piece of clear packing tape to ensure your repair is airtight. Place this inside the decoration if possible.

Decoration Storage

Quality inflatable decorations should provide you with many seasons of holiday cheer. As noted above, the best place to store your decorations is in their original packaging. Don’t cram them into their boxes the moment the holidays are over, though! Take the time to air-dry your decorations thoroughly so that they don’t get stored away with any moisture in them. A damp inflatable can grow mold and mildew in storage, ruining the decoration and making it useless next year.

As you can see, setting up and operating outdoor inflatable decorations is a real breeze! (Pun very probably intended.) Try your hand at running an inflatable or two this year and you may find a new favorite form of outdoor decoration.