Setting up a bounce house is one of the most exciting experiences you can give your kids. You can include snacks, games, and invite their friends over to make it a great party for the children and parents.
Every bounce house has a setup process that goes along with it. You must take care when setting up the bouncer to make sure it’s properly secured and won’t fall or slide down.
When taking down your bouncy house, don’t cause damage to any of the cords and/or any plastic or metal pieces. In addition, make sure not to leave any sharp objects around that could cause injury if touched.
The end of your party is typically a busy time as people clean up and start to leave. Make sure you remember to take everything out of the bounce house before packing it up for your next event.
What follows is everything you need to know about setting up and taking down a bounce house, complete with step-by-step instructions.
How Long Does it Take to Set Up and Take Down a Bounce House?
It shouldn’t take you any longer to set it up than 15-20 minutes once you know the process. Expect it to take longer the first time while you’re learning how to set up your bounce house correctly. Set aside 45 minutes to an hour so you don’t feel rushed on your first run-through.
Consider that you’ll need extra time to scope out the best location to place your bounce house. You’ll also need time to:
- Lay out the bounce house
- Connect the blower
- Inflate the bounce house
- Anchor it to the ground
- Complete your final inspection
The inflation step usually takes three to six minutes depending on the size of your bouncy house.
After the party, you’ll need to clean and dry the house before taking it down. The time frame to take the bounce house down after cleaning and drying shouldn’t take you any longer than half an hour.
Step-by-Step Guide for Setting up a Bounce House
Don’t worry if you’re not sure about how to set up and take down your bounce house because we’re now going to get into the nitty-gritty details.
1. Look at the Weather Forecast
Using your bounce house with strong winds poses a great danger to your children and their friends. Past reported news reports include stories of kids getting swept over 50 feet away and landing on highways, in trees, and into power lines.
That’s definitely not the ending to the party you’re looking for!
Don’t set up and use your bounce house if the weather forecast predicts hail, heavy rain, winds over 20 mph, or lightning. What are you looking for? You want to see low winds, clear skies, and a brightly burning sun in the weather report.
Don’t worry if there is a little wind in the forecast though, we don’t mean to scare you. Just make sure to anchor your bounce house and you should be all set. More on that below.
2. Scope Out Your Location
Avoid any areas near pools, lakes, power lines, steep inclines, or low trees.
Concrete patios or your driveway work well. However, you must lay down a tarp first because the concrete might puncture the vinyl as the bounce house moves over it.
Finding a soft, grassy area is your best location. Make sure you remove any sharp sticks or rocks after finding a flat, soft area for the bouncy house. Look for and remove any other debris that might cause damage.
3. Flatten Your Bounce House Across the Chosen Area
Lay out the bounce house across your chosen area. Don’t spend much time here. Just get it unpacked and into position for getting air into it.
Pro tip: You should still use a tarp even when placing your bouncy house on soft grassy areas. It’s an extra precaution that prevents any possibility of rips or tears.
4. Prepare Your Blower
You’re only getting the blower ready in this step. Don’t turn it on yet.
A blower designed for your specific bounce house is typically included when you make your purchase. If you need a new blower for some reason, then make sure to buy one rated for your type of bounce house.
Get any needed extension cords and your blower into its proper position so it’s ready when needed. Don’t allow the blower to sit too close to the bounce house. Position it a safe distance away.
5. Connect Blower to the Inlets
All bounce houses are a bit different in terms of the number of inlets provided. Your bounce house may even need two blowers to keep it properly inflated. Other bouncy houses use only one blower but include more than two inlets when connecting the blower.
Connect your blower or blowers to the bounce house’s inlets. Make sure to keep the inlet tube from turning at an angle or getting pinched in any way. You’ll get the best results when the blower pushes air into the bounce house via a completely straight tube.
6. Seal Off Outlet Ports
Every bounce house is different when talking about inlets and outlets. Some come with interchangeable inlet and outlet ports, meaning you can use them for either purpose. Others come with inlet and outlet ports marked according to which one is an inlet and which one is an outlet.
Your task during this step is to make sure all outlets get closed off. Tie and seal off any inlet ports you might not use. Look to see if your bounce house comes with zippers. If so, then make sure they’re tightly zipped.
7. Inflate Your Bounce House
Are you ready to see some excited kids? Bring them out for this step because you’ll love the reaction it causes!
Turn on the blower and let the air rush in. You can start the next step immediately as you wait for the blower to do its job.
Don’t let your children enter the bounce house yet, however. It needs to get anchored correctly first.
8. Anchor Your Bounce House Properly
Take your time during this step. If you don’t firmly anchor the bounce house, then you risk someone getting injured while playing in it. Even after looking at the weather report ahead of time, you never know when a gust of wind might occur that could take an unanchored bounce house away.
You can use anchors that fit securely into your yard when placing the bounce house in a grassy area. The nice thing about doing it this way is you can keep the anchors in the ground for the entire summer. This speeds up every subsequent setup because you simply place the bounce house in the same spot each time and easily attach it to those existing anchors.
You’ll want to use sandbags when placing the bounce house on your driveway or a large concrete patio area. Place a sandbag at every anchor point around the entire perimeter of the bounce house. Use sandbags that weigh 40 lbs. or more.
9. Inspect Your Bounce House Setup
Good job! You’re almost done with setting up your bounce house. This step is relatively simple. You just need to do a walk-through and inspect the bounce house perimeter. Does everything look safe and secure? If so, you’re ready for the fun to begin.
The most important aspect to look at during your inspection walk-around is the anchoring. Pay extra attention to each anchor position. Has anything become detached? Is a sandbag out of position? Again, you never want to see your kids and their friends flying 25 or 50 feet away and getting injured.
Keep it quiet in the yard as you do this inspection because you can listen for any leaks during the process.
Step-by-Step Guide for Taking Down a Bounce House
OK, the fun is over, everyone went home, your kids forgot about the bounce house already, and now you’re left to do all the cleanup. Hey, such is life as a parent, right? Let’s show you how to take down your bounce house correctly and efficiently.
1. Wash Down Your Bounce House
Don’t overlook this step unless you want to open up the bounce house for the next party and smell that distinctive odor of mold and mildew. Hopefully, the bounce house didn’t get too dirty while in use. You must clean it and remove every bit of dirt, debris, and dust, though.
Here are your steps (with the bounce house inflated):
- Dry vacuum or sweep the jump area
- Use a cleaning solution to disinfect the house
- Pay close attention to tough stains and spots
Head over to our full guide on how to clean a bounce house for all the details.
2. Thoroughly Dry Out Your Bounce House
Never pack your bounce house up with any moisture present. This is the best way to damage it or grow mildew and create a situation where you need to pay for a replacement bounce house. Not fun!
Allow at least 2 to 3 hours for the bounce house to dry out completely.
By the way, if it rains during the party, pay close attention to how wet and slick it gets inside and outside the bounce house. Someone might fall outside the house. The situation gets more dangerous inside as the vinyl becomes more slippery.
You can most likely keep the fun going during very light rain. If conditions worsen, however, consider limiting the number of people in the bounce house or closing its doors until it stops raining.
If your bounce house becomes soaked from rain, then allow its drying time to each up to six hours before putting it away.
3. Shut Down the Blower
Is your bounce house dried out completely? If so, then it’s now time to shut down the blower.
Take these steps:
- Turn off the blower
- Unplug it
- Detach the blower from all inlets
Clean the blower as well because it may have become covered with debris during use. Remove that debris and wipe the blower down so you’re putting it away clean.
4. Deflate Your Bounce House
Your bounce house will deflate more quickly if you open up all the inlets and outlets after turning off the blower. If the bouncy house has zippers, then open them up as well. Don’t move on to the next step until you’ve removed all the air from the bounce house.
5. Unhook the Anchors or Remove the Sandbags
If you’re going to leave the anchors in the ground, then simply unhook the bounce house. Remove the sandbags if you used this method during your setup process.
6. Double Check For Complete Deflation
Some air might still exist in your bounce house even if you tried to deflate it 100% in step four. Take off your shoes and walk across the vinyl during this step to make sure all the air gets pushed out. It’s tough to roll up a bounce house when air remains inside it.
7. Roll Your Bounce House
You might need to experiment with your preferred method for folding and rolling your bounce house for storage. The key here is getting it rolled up and packed as tightly as possible.
Helpful Equipment for Maintaining or Storing Your Bounce House
Your bounce house probably came with storage straps or a storage bag. Get it tucked away using those tools. Another option is to find a crate or box to fit the vinyl into and store it away that way in your garage, shed, or attic.
Other helpful equipment might include:
- Big tupperware containers
- Large construction-grade trash bags
- A dolly
Don’t lose any important accessories like your stakes, sandbags, or blower.
Gather everything up and make sure the accessories get stored with the bounce house. Keep it all together to avoid any frustration when it’s time to take it all out and set things up again. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to find that last stake or even the blower when the party starts in a few hours.
Hopefully you now know how to set up and take down your bounce house.
It’s not a difficult process. The key is giving yourself plenty of extra time during your first run-through. You should find that you can set it up and take it down more quickly over time as you get used to each step.
Questions? Always happy to help.