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Alternating Pressure Mattress Repair Tips

How To Repair an Alternating Pressure Mattress At Home

If your alternating air mattress system is no longer maintaining air pressure (i.e. sinking, collapsing, bottoming out, no longer functioning), there are a variety of root causes that may be responsible. The below troubleshooting guide should be used to identify or narrow down the potential source of the problem in the system.

Alternating Mattress Systems can be broken down into 2 component systems:

alternating pressure mattress repair

1. Mattress (Air cells, tubing, cover.)

2. Pump (Air compressor unit, power cord.)

It is important to isolate the complaint to either one of these components to facilitate effective complaint device return and replacement. Trying a new or different pump on the system is the quickest way to identify the defective component system. 

Should switching the pump resolve the issue, return the original pump  for evaluation.  If the replacement pump does not correct the issue, continue to follow the troubleshooting steps below to isolate or resolve sources of air loss on the mattress.

Before you Begin

Make sure you Secure the CPR valves at the head of the mattress. If the CPR valve is open or loose the mattress cannot establish air pressure and will not inflate.

Medical Air Mattress Repair CPR Tag


  1. Inspect the tubing along the length of the mattress.
  2. Look for any disconnected or loose tubes and secure them back into place.

    repair alternating pressure mattress

Check the tubing for any cuts and tears.

repair alternating pressure mattress

Make sure to check the tubing in the mattress tail for tears. The mattress tail runs from the pump to the mattress and is largely covered by a fabric sheath. The sheath may hide tears in the tubing. Slide or roll the sheath down to inspect the entire length of the white tubing.

repair alternating pressure mattress

Make sure that the quick-connect plug is not loose.  This can be done by pushing the quick-connect down onto the tubing.




repair alternating pressure mattress at home


 Inspect the quick-connect plug for damage. Both white posts should be at equal heights, as in the above picture. The below picture is damaged.

repair alternating pressure mattress at home
  1. Check the Red/Yellow valves to see if they are broken or cracked. The pictures below show the proper orientation for each valve – the orientation is important as the Red/Yellow valves are one-way valves (only allow air-flow in one direction, from yellow to red) and improper orientation will prevent air flow to the cells positioned downstream of the valve.

    repair alternating pressure mattress
    alternating pressure mattress repair


alternating pressure mattress
repairing alternating pressure mattress


Should the issue be found during the pre-inflation steps, a replacement part(s) will be sent or will need to be purchased, based on the warranty.

Inflation Checks:

  1. Once the connections have been checked, and no source(s) for leaking could be detected, connect the mattress to the pump.
  2. Turn on the pump. Set the weight/comfort setting to 400lb and/or Max and set the pump to Static mode. Allow the mattress 20-30 minutes to inflate.
  3. If the mattress does not inflate, the low pressure light is on, or applying weight to the inflated mattress results in the mattress bottoming out, skip to step 5.
  4. Lower the weight setting to approximately 160lbs and/or about ¼ of the way up the dial and set the pump to Alternating mode. Allow 15 minutes for the mattress to readjust to this setting. Place weight on the mattress.
  5. If the mattress maintains air pressure and the Low Pressure Light stays off, the issue was most likely resolved during the pre-inflation steps. The mattress system is considered operational.
  6. If the mattress does not maintain air pressure, continue to step 5.

#5 Inspect Air Cells For Damage

air cell in alternating mattress


  1. Small/pinhole/non-obvious leaks can be detected applying soapy water along the seam and tubing of the air cells. A leak will be indicated by seeing a large quantity of bubbles forming rapidly. Leaks can also be detected by applying water to the back of your hand. By running the back of your hand along the tubing and seals, a leak will be indicated by feeling a sudden cold sensation from the air leaking out.

Should an issue be found with one of the air cells, replacement air cell(s) will be sent or will need to be purchased (based on the warranty).

If the mattress continues to not inflate, despite following this troubleshooting guide, the mattress may need to be replaced.

If you have followed all the tips above and cannot repair your existing mattress you can find a reliable replacement mattress at


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5 Reasons You Should NOT Rent a Medical Air Mattress

If someone under your care needs bedsore prevention and/or treatment, you may already know that a medical air mattress will help.

However, the endless options can be overwhelming. While finding the “right fit” will take a bit of research, there’s one category of medical air mattress you should cross off your list right away: rentals.

Rented air mattresses may be cost-effective in the short term, but they may also be detrimental to the patient’s health. With medical products, the old saying holds true: “You get what you pay for.”

Rentals are inexpensive, but a medical device is not a pair of bowling shoes. It’s an investment in someone’s well being and comfort. Here’s why you should seriously reconsider renting an air mattress, and instead think about purchasing from a reputable vendor.

1. Lower Quality

A rental mattress is like a rental car: generally a basic model, and one that’s been used over and over by other consumers with no interest in the product’s maintenance. Often times, rental mattresses don’t function properly because its basic wear-and-tear is accelerated by constant use and shipping from one patient to another.

Of course, the rental company is interested in the product’s maintenance, but unfortunately these companies don’t often employ real experts in the proper care and function of medical mattresses. Your mattress could be malfunctioning or damaged, and the rental company may not even realize it — or frankly, care that much.

For rental companies (even the most ethical ones), the priority is turnover. That means getting the mattresses in and out as soon as possible, rather than ensuring that each one is in peak condition.

2. Limited Choices

medical mattres rentals?

Rental companies profit by volume. They invest in the quantity of mattresses, rather than quality. This means that most rental companies purchase the cheapest generic mattresses with the most basic functions, instead of ensuring a wide range of options. This means that when you rent, you can’t tailor the mattress to your patient’s specific needs.

Ultimately, effective care means having and making choices. The patient may need certain optional features, like adjustable cycles or digital pumps, that generic mattresses don’t offer. They may require low air loss technology or panel locking features that don’t come standard.

When it comes to medical devices, one size doesn’t fit all.

3. Hygiene

This is an uncomfortable truth, to put it mildly.

There’s a reason most reputable medical mattress manufacturers don’t accept returns once the mattress has been used, even once. The risk of transmitting diseases via used mattresses is just not worth taking, especially as concerns deadly staph infections.

That’s not to say that it’s likely a rented mattress will transmit a disease to the patient. Most of the time, it won’t. But why risk it? Rented mattresses are exposed to blood, urine, and other body fluids from different people, over and over. While these mattresses aren’t impossible to sanitize, how thorough is the rental company’s process?

When it comes to a vulnerable person’s health — especially if they already suffer from open wounds like bedsores — these are not dice you want to roll.

4. Long Term Care

Rental mattresses are typically not designed for the long haul. Most are rented for short usage in hospice or emergency situations. That means that the construction and design of rental mattresses isn’t exactly above par.

Long term care products are different, and built to last.

Pumps, for example, are much more durable and designed to run for weeks and months on end, 24/7, without failing. They have built-in backup features in case of power failures, a wider variety of settings and features, and are made from sturdier materials — all to ensure that a patient can comfortably spend month after month in a supportive, healing environment.

In the end, paying more for the right mattress is a better return on investment. In most cases, the cost of a few months’ rental easily adds up to the cost of one good-quality mattress purchase.

5. Lack of Expertise

Typically, rental companies know *just enough* about medical air mattress design and function to fulfill the law and meet insurance regulations. What they often don’t know is how to give incapacitated patients the care they need to heal up and live in comfort.

Patients conditions vary greatly, from multiple sclerosis to fibromyalgia to ALS. They may require treatment for a wide range of symptoms, even beyond bedsores. And just as patient needs vary, a wide range of knowledge is required to help find the right fit.

Wherever you get your medical air mattress, you should get if from knowledgeable, trustworthy professionals who know what they’re talking about. A reputable medical device provider will work with you, and employ their own expertise to help you make the best decision for the person who needs it — and deserves it.

heal bedsores

Sheets on an Alternating Pressure Mattress?

Sheets with an Alternating Pressure or Low Air Mattress? (opinion)

medical mattress sheets

We get asked this question often and we wanted to address it first hand. Can you use sheets on an alternating pressure mattress? This is often debated by wound care nurses and after much research we are sorry to say that there is not a clear answer. We can however educate you on why they may have that opinion.  Our experience was some care takers got confused and may not have known the difference between a true low air loss blower and an alternating pressure mattress system.

The true low air loss blower is designed to wick away moisture from the skin. In this instance keeping the skin dry and using the special low sheer cover is critical in the treatment of decubitus ulcers. If a blower based low air mattress is being used to heal a bedsore,  the answer would be using a sheet is not necessary.  Why? This may add unnecessary layers to the mattress restricting the flow of air to the patient.  If however the mattress was being used for prevention and basic healing it may not be as important.

The alternating pressure mattress uses a compressor pump. This system depends less on the  low air loss therapy and more on the pressure relief of the mattress. The compressor pumps circulate air (low air output) under the cover to prevent heat buildup.  This would place less emphasis on the direct airflow from the mattress and more emphasis on the alternating pressure cycles. The alternating pressure cycles allow for blood flow to reach the skin healing and preventing pressure ulcers. We have seen more home heath and nursing homes using sheets in these situations with an under pad for patients that may be incontinent.

Our research tells us sheets are not necessary with a true low air loss or blower based pump system.  When using alternating pressure mattress systems it is up to the care taker or the policy of the care facility.

We have found a few companies that sells sheets and replacement covers for these types mattress systems .


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The Benefits of True Low Air Loss

Have you had this happen to you? You purchase an alternating pressure mattress and after a year or possibly two the center of the mattress becomes soft and sinks in the middle? This is not uncommon with an alternating pressure mattress system. Why does this happen??  Alternating pressure mattresses normally use a compressor based pump. This pump is designed to establish air pressure within the mattress then alternate the cells to reduce pressure and stimulate blood flow. The problem is if a seal is not properly established the first section to deflate is the center of the mattress.  This happens because the center of the mattress is where the “low air loss cells” circulate air flow.  In other words these cells have laser holes in the center. If pressure cannot be established , or if a leak is present it will cause this section to deflate first.

This can most commonly be prevented by using the static feature to enter or exit the bed.  or Make sure the CPR values are closed completely.

low air loss
low air loss hospital mattress

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to change to a true low air loss mattress. These mattresses use compressor pumps circulating air flow at a rate of 1000-1700 liters of air per minute through the mattress. These mattresses are less likely to bottom-out and offer more features in comfort and advanced healing.

Margaret Schmidt from Houston TX said “changing to a true low air loss mattress helped my husband tremendously. He sleeps better at night, and no longer has to deal with the blow out in the center of his bed.” “He loves the pulsation and alternating features on the Pro Max and we no longer worry about reoccurring bed sores.”

The true low air loss system Ms Schmidt selected was ideal for long term care. Her husband had a stage 3 bed sore that healed and she was using this system because he was spending more time in bed. The pro99 max true low air loss mattress had both pulsation and alternating features for her husband to choose from.  The Pulsating air suspension therapy uses small pockets of air, individually inflated and deflated to cause a pulsation. The Pulsation therapy will cause the blower system to reduce the air flow in the mattress system every 30 seconds to 50% of the comfort setting pressure. The internal control sensor continuously monitors interface pressure for optimal redistribution.

If you are experiencing problems with alternating pressure mattresses and need a reliable long term care solution like Ms Schmidt please consider the Max True Low Air loss system.



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Now available! Deluxe wheelchair cushion that uses the same alternating pressure therapy used in hospital air mattress systems.

Buy now click here   Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 5.50.53 PM


-Regular wheel chair cushions redirect pressure. This alternating pressure cushion will inflate and deflate under the patient allowing blood flow to reach the area to heal and prevent bedsores!

– Easily adjust the cushions level of pressure through user-friendly push button comfort control.

– Adjustable alternating cycle times can extend the alternating cycle for superior pressure relief and pain management

– Static float feature allows the patient to suspend alternating pressure for easy transfer

– The user friendly pump has a rechargeable battery with 8 hours of continuous operation

-Cover is low shear and removable and washable

-Gel infused memory foam topper provides a softer seating area keeping the patient cool Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 5.44.46 PM

-Low Battery and Low pressure Visual indicators.

-Convenient carry case making this support surface completely portable.











Buy now click here


Who can benefit from alternating pressure therapy?

Patients who are at risk of developing bed sores

Patients trying to heal a pressure sore using a better wheelchair cushion

Patients who are looking to prevent bed sores from developing

Family members who are looking to provide a product for their loved one to use in a nursing home to prevent bed sores.

Patients who are starting to experience skin break down or redness

Free Fast shipping delivers in 2-3 days. (average)

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Alternating Pressure vs True Low air loss

What is the Difference between Alternating Pressure with Low Air Loss and True Low Air Loss Therapy?

Alternating Pressure mattress systems are designed to heal and prevent bed sores through the use of alternating pressure with low air loss. The mattress uses 20 air cells (tubes) that inflates and deflates under the patient allowing blood flow to reach the area to heal and prevent bedsores. The low air loss feature circulates air through the cells in the trunk and pelvis area. It is used to prevent and cut down on moisture helping the patient to remain cool and dry.  Alternating pressure mattress systems use a low output pump that is whisper quiet. The pump builds pressure into the mattress and then begins to alternate based on a predetermined cycle time. As the mattress builds pressure air circulates out of small laser holes within the center area of the mattress. This helps to keep the patient cool as it prevents heat and moisture buildup. In most cases this therapy does an excellent job for healing and prevention of various stages of bed sores depending on the mattress system selected. Some of the most popular Alternating pressure mattress systems for healing and prevention can be found here.


There are instances when a patient cannot tolerate normal alternating pressure therapy. This can happen to some patients that are subject to stage 4 bed sores, fibromyalgia, MS patients, Cancer, Burn victims, etc. When the patient requires a mattress system that is more sensitive to these conditions a true low air loss mattress system is used. True Low Air Loss Mattress systems use a blower based system that circulates air constantly throughout the entire air mattress. True low air loss therapy wicks away moisture from the skin and often self adjusts to the patient to reduce pressure healing stage 4 bed sores. True low air loss therapy is elite within the support surface category for patients looking to heal bed sores. True Low air loss systems are the most comfortable hospital air mattresses available today. Some true low air loss mattress systems also offer a “pulsation” feature incorporated into the pump. The pulsation creates a hammock effect inflating and deflating the cells to reduce pressure offering additional comfort to the patient as they sleep. When in doubt the true low air loss systems are the most comfortable and best healing systems available in the wound care market.

For More information on true low air loss mattress systems please visit

They have a great selection of these types of products.




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Affordable Air Mattress to Prevent Bedsores

I am looking for a medical mattress for my brother who is currently in a assisted facility in Florida. He is experiencing bruising on his skin and is starting to develop small areas of redness. Can you recommend an air mattress that will prevent him from developing bedsores. I am looking for something affordable as we are paying for this out of pocket.


Florence SC


We spoke with Betty and asked a few general questions about her brother and his condition. Her brother currently needed an alternating pressure mattress for prevention and basic healing. He was 5’6″ and weighed 170 lbs. The family was paying for this out of pocket and they wanted something that was more long term care than a standard alternating pressure overlay.

We recommended the Pro 3000. This alternating pressure mattress was ideal for patients under 250 lbs and was great for healing and prevention.  The patient would have the ability to adjust the firmness and softness of the mattress. The air mattress is 8″ thick and will offer pressure relief and low air loss therapy. Most importantly the mattress was on sale for $499.00 including free shipping. This long term care alternating pressure mattress was the ideal solution. It gave the family a quality product that worked to heal and prevent his bed sores and they save money in the long run by purchasing a much better alternating pressure mattress than the standard app bubble pad products.


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Low Air Mattress for a Patient with MS and excessive sweating

I wanted to share this story about a customer from Texas who tried many alternating pressure mattress systems and was frustrated because he could not get comfortable at night. This customer had problems with excessive perspiration and heat and was constantly sweating and uncomfortable. He recently lost movement in his legs due to the “MS” and was experiencing skin break down on his calf and ankles. He asked for a recommendation for a low air mattress that would be comfortable and would prevent and control the excessive perspiration he was experiencing every night.

We explained this is definitely a difference between an alternating pressure mattress with a low air loss feature and a “True Low Air Loss mattress” This customer needed a true low air loss mattress system. These hospital grade low air mattresses work using a blower based pump. This means it is constantly pumping air into the mattress using 1200 liters of air per minute. This powerful pump is constantly circulating air through the mattress allowing the air to flow through laser holes in the mattress to keep the patient c

low air mattress
Low Air Mattress

ool and dry. This blower based true low air loss mattress controls moisture and heat buildup while protecting the skin.

The alternating pressure with “low air loss” is good for normal pressure relief but was not enough to control the excessive sweating this particular patient was experiencing. Low output alternating pressure therapy will only circulate air while the mattress is in between cycles not continuously like this patient needed.

If you are a patient that is experiencing excessive sweating please feel free to call us so we can help you find the mattress that would be best to suit your needs. Our 24 hour on staff customer care would be happy to listen and explain the differences to help you select the best hospital air mattress for you or your family member


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My mom will only sleep in her recliner chair

My mother refuses to sleep in a hospital bed and has slept in her lazy boy recliner chair for the past 10 years. She has difficulty breathing and will not sleep in her regular bed. I am not sure what to do. She has recently developed pressure sores and the doctor wants her to sleep on an alternating  air mattress and hospital bed.  Can you suggest anything that may help her heal bed sores even though she sleeps in her recliner chair? I could really use some help.

G Carter

alternating pressure recliner chair
alternating pressure recliner chair

Lebanon NH

We received this email from a daughter who was extremely frustrated and was not sure what to do. Her mother had begin to develop a stage 2 bed sore and the recommended treatment was an alternating pressure mattress for her hospital bed. The major problem was her mother refused to sleep in a hospital bed and did not want it brought into her room. Luckily we had a solution. We recently partnered with a medical manufacturing company that duplicated the same  pressure relief principals that were used in the alternating pressure hospital mattresses.  This recliner chair for bed sores works with their existing chair and offers alternating pressure therapy. The adjustable air mattress operates on a 10 minute cycle time. This alternates air pressure every 5 minutes  through the even and odd cells of the mattress. It is designed to stimulate blood flow preventing and treating painful pressure ulcers. The adjustable pump can increase or decrease the firmness or softness of the mattress providing a variable comfort setting for pain management. This alternating recliner overlay comes with a quiet pump and a removable low sheer cover that is fluid proof and easy to clean.  Designed for the treatment of Stages 1-4 pressure sores. Easy to operate and install.