Bounce houses can be loads of fun for the whole family. But the setup and take down can seem like such a hassle that many people avoid getting one. Actually, the set up and take down can be done quickly and the steps are simple to follow.
Setting up a bounce house can be done in less than 20 minutes in most cases. What takes the longest is finding a location and laying the bounce house out. The take down can be a bit longer depending on the size. After cleaning and drying, a bounce house take down can be done in under 30 minutes.
When first setting up or taking down the bounce house, it might take a little longer than normal. But if you always follow these steps, you’ll start to memorize the process, and you’ll be able to do it quickly and efficiently in no time.
How Long Does It Take To Set Up A Bounce House
The first time through the set up process took me about 45 minutes. A lot of that time was spent on picking the location and laying out the bounce house. But once I got the area set up, and did the set up a couple times, I can now set up a bounce house in around 15 minutes.
The typical time spent to set up a bounce house is between 10 – 35 minutes depending on the size of the inflatable. Lay out, connecting the blower, inflating, anchoring, and inspecting are all part of the bounce house set up and included in set up time.
There are things you can do to reduce the set up time though. I will give tips and hints throughout each step to improve the speed of the bounce house set up. I’ve gotten to the point where set up is done so quickly, there’s really no excuse to not play in a bounce house all summer long.
How Long Does It Take To Inflate A Bounce House
With a proper blower rated for your bounce house, the inflate time will be around 3 minutes for an average 12 foot inflatable. For larger bounce houses or slide inflatables (18-20 foot), the inflate time will be around 6 minutes. A rip or tear in the bounce house can increase inflate times.
If you’re noticing your inflate time is taking longer than expected, you may have a leak or the outlets are not closed correctly. If you suspect a leak, check out my How To Patch And Repair A Bounce House article where I cover step by step how to solve the problem. Now to the steps!
How To Set Up A Bounce House
Steps To Set Up A Bounce House:
- Check the weather
- Find a location
- Lay out the bounce house
- Set up the blower
- Connect inlets
- Close outlets
- Inflate the bounce house
- Anchor the bounce house
1. Check The Weather
Make sure you check the forecast for the day you plan on setting up the bounce house. There have been incidents where strong winds have lifted a bounce house and injured jumpers. It’s recommended that no one use a bounce house in winds above 20 MPH. I wrote an article all about When A Bounce House Can Fly Away if you’re interested.
Weather To Avoid:
- Strong winds
- Heavy rains
You can use the bounce house in light rain in some cases. There are some precautions to take and things you need to know before doing so. Read my article Can A Bounce House Be Used In The Rain if you plan on jumping in rainy conditions. I’ll show you how to do it right in that article.
The best weather condition to use a bounce house is with clear skies, calm wind, and the sun is shining.
2. Find A Location
The best location to set up a bounce house is on a large, flat, grassy area. There other locations you can set it up, for example, on concrete, in the driveway, etc. For more detailed instructions of bounce house locations, check out my Places To Set Up A Bounce House guide.
Remove any rocks or sticks that could puncture the bounce house and clear the area of any hazards or debris.
Locations To Avoid:
- Low trees
- Power lines
- Steep inclines
3. Lay Out The Bounce House
It’s best practice to use tarp under the bounce house. You may be fine without it on a soft grassy area, but the tarp will help protect the bounce house from getting rips or tears on the bottom. I use this Heavy Duty Tarp from Amazon.
Unpack and roll out the bounce house in the area you want to set it up. There’s no need to spend a ton of time here getting it perfect, you will adjust as the bounce house inflates and before you anchor it.
4. Set Up The Blower
Most bounce houses come with a blower that is designed for that bounce house. If you need a blower, you’ll want to look at what your bounce house is rated for before buying one. This 1200 Watt (1.5 HP) Inflatable Bounce House Blower (link to Amazon) will work for most commercial and residential bounce houses.
Hook up the blower, using extension cords if you need to, but do not turn it on yet. You just want to position the blower and prepare it in this step. Make sure the blower isn’t sitting up against the bounce house.
5. Connect Inlets
Connect the inlets of the bounce house to the blowers. Some bounce houses need two blowers to stay inflated and will have two or more inlets. Some bounce houses will have multiple inlets but can be inflated with one blower. Just tie off any inlets you will not need to use.
Make sure the inlet tube is not pinched off or angled in any way, the blower works best when the inlet is a straight shot into the bounce house.
6. Close Outlets
Tie closed all the outlets on the bounce house. Some bounce houses will have ports that are only for inlets and other ports that are only for outlets. If that’s the case they will be marked as such. Some bounce houses allow you to interchange inlet and outlet ports as you see fit.
Make sure any inlet or outlet port not being used by a blower is tied off and sealed. Also, close up all zippers on the bounce house if there are any.
7. Inflate The Bounce House
This is the easy part, and the part everyone starts getting excited. Just be careful that you don’t let anyone jump in the bounce house too early, you need to anchor the bounce house before it can be used.
Inflating will typically only take a few minutes, so I like to walk around and anchor the bounce house as it’s finishing up inflating.
8. Anchor The Bounce House
This is one of the most important steps of the set up. If the bounce house is not anchored properly, it could easily tip or be picked up by a gust of wind possible injuring the jumpers.
If you’re going to be using the bounce house frequently throughout the season, you could use the same Spiral Anchors that I do to speed up the set up process.
I leave the anchors in the ground and just set up the bounce house in the same location every time. Simply inflate, and hook to the existing anchors to reduce set up time.
If you aren’t setting up on grass or soil, the spiral anchors won’t help you. Instead, check out these Vinyl Sand Bags on Amazon to anchor your bounce house. You want each sand bag to weight about 40 pounds, place one at every anchor point around the bounce house to secure it.
I like to use this last step to walk around the bounce house and double check all the anchors. They are the most important safety feature, so I like to give it the extra attention. Now is a good time to check for any tears or rips in the bounce house material.
Essentially you just want to do a quick walk around to make sure everything looks safe and on the up and up.
Here’s a quick video of someone setting up their bounce house to give you a visual of the process. They don’t use a tarp, but the steps are there. Also, I like to anchor after inflating, it saves time if the bounce house shifts during inflation.
How To Take Down A Bounce House
1. Clean The Bounce House
The amount of cleaning required depends on how much use the bounce house gets. This is a really important step to prevent mold and mildew so I’ve written a separate article about How To Clean A Bounce House to give you a step by step guide of the cleaning process.
2. Completely Dry It Out
After cleaning, you’ll want to let the bounce house run for a couple hours to make sure it doesn’t get packed away with any moisture inside it. Moisture is the number one killer of bounce houses. If your bounce house has gotten wet, you’ll need closer to 6 hours to let it dry out.
If your bounce house has gotten rained on or sprayed with a hose, you’ll want to follow the drying steps in the Can A Bounce House Be Used In The Rain article, where I show you the extra steps needed to remove heavy amounts of water from inside a bounce house.
3. Turn Off Blower
With the bounce house cleaned and completely dried out, you can now turn off the blower. I also unplug the blower and detach it from the inlet tube during this step as well.
I like to wipe down the blower and remove any debris that may have built up on the air intake of the blower.
4. Open Inlets And Outlets
Open all the inlets and outlets to the bounce house to help it deflate faster. You can also unzip some of the zippers on the bounce house part way if you have any. To goal is to let all the air escape from inside the bounce house.
5. Remove Anchors
If you followed my advice on the spiral anchors, you won’t need to actually remove the anchors from the ground, just unhook the bounce house from them. If you used sand bags, the same thing applies, unhook the bounce house from all anchors as it’s losing air.
6. Deflate Completely
For this step, I like to take my shoes off and walk on the bounce house to push any air left inside out of it. This will make the rolling process easier. I take my shoes off because I usually just cleaned the bounce house and I don’t want to make it dirty right before I store it.
7. Prepare For Storing
Roll the bounce house and fold it over on itself to tightly pack the bounce house for storage. It’s up to you how you fold and store your bounce house, but I’ve had the best luck folding it into three sections and rolling it up that way.
8. Pack Away Accessories
Pack away the blower, sand bags, stakes, and any other accessories you may have used. I like to keep all the bounce house accessories in a separate bin near the bounce house in the garage, so now is the time I sort everything out.
9. Pack Away Bounce House
Most bounce houses will come with a bag or straps you can use to actually pack away the bounce house. I use a large tote to store the bounce house in. I find it easier to fit into the bin, and the bin is easier to carry to and from the garage.
Here’s a video of a couple professionals packing up a bounce house to give you a visual of the process. Notice how they fold the bounce house in on itself as it’s deflating.
There you have it, the set up and take down of a bounce house. After you do this a few times yourself, you’ll notice you get faster and faster at it.