Air beds and even some inflatables and rubber boats often use a multi part air intake valve similar to the one pictured here. These valves are very simple and reliable but do benefit from simple maintenance.
Look inside and you’ll see a series of holes allow air to flow into the inflatable when you use a pump. When you stop pumping, the back pressure forces shut the simple non-return flap that’s located behind the holes in order to prevent air loss.
Sometimes grit and dirt can stop this flap from seating properly and creating an air tight seal, resulting in a slow escape of air. The symptoms are often mistaken for a puncture but the problem is quick and easy to rectify.
If your air bed is slowly losing air, then the time has come to strip down the valve. You will find the complete valve can be unscrewed from its housing and remains attached by a plastic strap to prevent it getting lost. Once unscrewed you will reveal the bottom of the non-return flap.
Gently fold the flap back and wipe both flap and plastic seat with a clean damp cloth to remove any dirt or grit that might be stopping the air tight seal.
Reassemble the valve and housing and inflate to test that the valve is now air tight. Job done!
NOTE — Prevention is better than cure so ALWAYS screw the protective cap back on to the valve when you’ve finished inflating your air bed. It will help stop contaminants entering the valve as well as reduce air loss if the valve fails. Make sure that nothing enters the valve whilst inflating – check the pump hose for mud or grit before inserting into the valve.