We recommend a practice inflation prior to your first Inflation event to ensure a smooth operation.
Choosing the Inflation Site
Look over the inflation site in advance. At a minimum, the display area must be as large as the square of the inflatable’s tallest dimension. Extra room is ideal. Check for obstacles, especially overhead, that might interfere with the inflation process such as power lines, fences, or tree branches.
Make sure that there are enough stable and solid points to tie down; that there is electrical power; and that there is a way to get the inflatable to the site.
Locate a power source within reach of the provided extension cord. Mark the circuit breaker so it will not be turned off accidentally. Make sure any electrical connection points are above water level to prevent shorting out the electrical system in case of heavy rain. If a light system is being used with the inflatable, make sure the circuit will not be overloaded when it is turned on.
Cover all sharp edges and objects that could damage your inflatable during inflation or deflation. Carpet scraps work well for this purpose.
Place the tarp in the desired location and unpack the inflatable from its storage bag.
Place the base of the inflatable on the center of the ground tarp and face the inflatable in the best viewing position. The front is normally opposite the blower vent on inflatables equipped with internal blowers, and opposite the inflation tube on inflatables with external blowers.
The key to smooth inflation is estimating, before inflation, the length of rope necessary to secure the inflatable when it is filled. If the ropes are too long, the inflatable will flop around as it tries to stand up, and if the ropes are too short, they will prevent the inflatable from fully inflating. Supplied ropes are precut into short lengths for use at the inflatable’s base and lower D-rings, and for long lengths for use with upper D-rings.
A general rule is that there can never be too many tie down ropes on the inflatable, but there can be too few. Tie down a rope to every D-ring and tie the other end to something secure. Use them all! Tie only to stable, solid tie down points. Never tie down to anything you can move yourself, including sand bags or weights, because they will not be stable enough. Use only substantial stakes. Do not use common tent stakes. We recommend spiral stakes (at least 15″ – stakes are not provided with the inflatable but can be purchased as an add on). Take care not to tie off anything with sharp edges that may slice or wear through the rope. If a tie down point is rough or jagged, protect the ropes by covering the sharp edges with carpet scraps.
On a roof, tie off to steady points such as air conditioners, pipes, parts of the building, etc. Avoid flimsy, frail structures such as electric conduits, or anything that moves. Never put eyebolts or drill holes in a roof to install anchors or tie points, because this will damage the roof, causes leaks, and void the warranty by the roofing company. If an anchor point installation is necessary for inflation, contact the building owner or the roofing company.
Make sure there are anchor points close to the inflatable for the base lines, and anchor points further out for the upper lines. Note that a good anchor point can be used for more than one line. We recommend using a bowline knot to attach the ropes to the D-rings, and an adjustable trucker’s knot to secure the ropes to the tie down points.
Anchor the base of the inflatable by tying a short rope to each base D-ring at the very bottom of the inflatable and attaching the other end of the rope to a sturdy tie down point. The “base line” ropes anchor the inflatable. They should be tied down tightly with no extra slack, and should extend straight out of the inflatable. If the base is not tied securely, the bottom can flip out from under the inflatable and cause damage or injury. Once tied, the base lines do not need to be readjusted.
Use the longer ropes to tie down the inflatable from the upper D-rings. All of the tie down lines, except for the base lines, should be tied approximately at a 45-degree angle, which will ensure the most stability.
If you have a deflation panel, locate the top of the inflatable and make sure it is closed. As a precaution, you might wish to secure the deflation panel ripcord to something stationary. In case of high winds, this will cause the inflatable to deflate itself. This cord is found hanging down from the top of the inflatable to the bottom of the envelope and should exit through a small grommet so it is accessible from the outside.
Attaching Banners (Optional)
If the inflatable has a banner, attach it before filling the inflatable with air. Use the Velcro and/or clips provided. Work from the center of the banner out towards the corners for the best results.
Check all the ropes to ensure that they are not tangled and that they are secured to the inflatable and to a solid point. Do not begin inflation unless everything is fastened. Check to be sure the zipper is closed, as well as the rip door. If applicable, check that the center rope is tied.
If your inflatable has an Internal blower, plug it into the extension cord to begin inflating. Make sure the fabric is clear of the blower intake. If your inflatable has an external blower, attach the inflation tube to the blower by fastening the Velcro strips together and placing the seam of the tube at the bottom of the blower opening. Plug the blower into the extension cord or power outlet and turn it on to begin inflating. Do not attempt to inflate in high winds.
As the inflatable begins to fill with air, walk around the Inflatable checking and adjusting lines. Adjust the tether ropes until the inflatable stands upright, is straight, and is not crushed down at its base.
Important: Always leave someone attending the inflatable so that it will not be damaged or destroyed by a sudden change in the weather or theft and vandalism.
Do not release any tie down ropes before deflating. Unplug the blower and open the zipper to release the air. Disconnect the external Velcro tube blower. Allow the inflatable to deflate accordion style upon itself. Make sure that it stays on the tarp to keep it clean. After the inflatable has deflated, untie the ropes.
Packing Up the Inflatable
Once flat, roll the folded inflatable up like a sleeping bag compacting the bulk of the fabric as much as possible. To eliminate lifting the inflatable, place the carrying bag over the bulk of the fabric and roll the inflatable into the bag.
Do not pack up an inflatable when it is damp or wet, as this will cause mildew or cause the colors to bleed. Color bleeding and mildew are not covered by warranty.
When shipping to another location, make sure all parts of the inflatable are shipped, including the instructions.
We recommend using snug fitting, double walled shipping containers. For extra shipping cushion for an inflatable with an internal blower, place the blower towards the center of the inflatable and roll the material around it.
Boulder Blimp Company inflatables will withstand moderate winds up to 15-20 miles per hour. If winds are over 20 mph, you must deflate your inflatable to avoid damage. Our inflatables are well built and have reinforced D-rings. However, since inflatable shapes are different, some can withstand more wind than others. Use common sense and your best judgment. If in doubt, it is better to deflate the inflatable than to leave it up in weather that could damage it or cause unnecessary stress on tie-points and fabric. If deflating in very high winds, be extremely careful not to get tangled in the ropes or fabric. Always be careful on top of a building. Do not get near the edge or in a position where the inflatable could knock you over the edge during inflation or deflation. To secure a deflated inflatable in high winds, untie one of the ropes and use it to lattice back and forth across the top of the flattened inflatable through the existing D-rings. Then, tie-off and your inflatable will remain flat to the ground when gusty.
Boulder Blimp Company inflatables can be used in all types of weather including rain and snow (but not high winds). Water will not harm our inflatables. However, never pack up your inflatable damp or wet. This will cause mildew and may permanently stain. Always leave the inflatable filled with air until it is completely dry. The constant internal airflow will assist in the drying process. If this is impossible, spread the inflatable out until it can be thoroughly dried by inflation. If you must pack up a wet inflatable, re-inflate it and air-dry it thoroughly as soon as possible.
Do not attempt to inflate in high winds. Always be safety conscious.
Do not attempt to inflate in high winds. Always be safety conscious.
View video below for demonstration.