How To Ensure The Rain Does NOT Spoil The Bouncy Castle Party!
One of the biggest problems with hiring bouncy castles outdoors in temperate climates (such as the UK) is the unpredictable weather. One day it can be glorious sunshine and your phone doesn’t stop ringing. The next day it can be dark clouds and heavy rain. Unfortunately, heavy rain causes all sorts of problems for bouncy castle owners.
When the bouncy castle gets very wet the children cannot use it for safety reasons, and if it has hardly been used, the customer may ask for a discount or even a full refund.
Most bouncy castles have rain-covers or shower covers, but in prolonged heavy rain these tend to prove inadequate. How many times have you collected a castle after a very wet day, to find that not only is the raincover soaking wet, but so is the inflatable. It then becomes a nightmare to try and get as much water off it as possible (both inside and outside), and then to try and roll it up while it is still soaking wet. Yuk!
Perhaps the biggest problem of all is trying to lift a soaking wet bouncy castle which weighs half a ton onto your sack trolley, and then trying to get it into your van, when it can be nearly double the normal weight because of all the rainwater inside.
Fortunately, there is a unique solution which goes a long way to solving this problem of wet weather.
We will now look at this solution step-by-step….
Step 1. In very wet weather rainwater gets sucked into the electric or petrol fan, and then gets forced deep inside the castle, adding enormously to the weight of the unit when it is rolled up, and coming up through the bed seams, when the castle is being used, and causing bubbles and froth. To prevent this rainwater being sucked into the blower, buy a plastic picnic table (approx. 4ft diameter) from any good DIY shop. If you then place this table over the fan, when its raining, it will stop water coming in the side vent, but still allow the fan to suck air in.
Step 2. You will also need a heavy duty raincover, that is oversized. For my 12ft x 12ft castles I buy a large piece of heavy duty tarpauline (similar to what market traders use as a roof on their stalls) that measures about 8 metres x 8 metres (25ft x 25ft). I then lay this cover over the deflated castle. I then get a helper, or even the customer to hold one side of the cover, while I hold the other side. The fan is then switched on and as the castle inflates I make sure that the raincover is evenly distributed over the castle.
Step 3. Once the castle is fully inflated I then use string or twine to tie the raincover to the metal stakes at each corner. The cover has eyelets spaced at intervals all the way round. As the raincover is so oversizes, it should seal up any gaps at the sides and back of the inflatable. (In moderately windy weather you may need an extra person to help hold the raincover in place prior to it being tied down).
Step 4. At this stage the raincover should be securely attached to the castle, with no gaps showing. The front of the raincover should be hanging loosely downwards, obscuring the bed of the castle. At this point get two telescopic keepnet poles which you bought from your local fishing tackle shop, and press the sharp bit into the ground, about 2 metres (7 feet) in front of the castle and to the left. Repeat this procedure with the other pole, but this time put it two metres (7 feet) out from the castle, but on the opposite side . i.e. on the right.
Step 5. Now take hold of the front of the raincover, which is hanging downwards in a vertical position and move it outwards, so that it becomes about 45 degrees and forms an awning, which protudes about 3 metres (9 feet) from the front of the castle. You then need to tie this “awning” to the two keepnet poles. Because the keepnet poles are adjustable you can alter the angle of the awning. Providing everything is securely tied, the children should be 99% dry when using the castle.
IMPORTANT: Always make sure that any exposed electrics e.g. plug sockets are fully protected by a waterproof bag, or better still, that you use waterproof connectors.
A few years, I had an ideal opportunity, to test this idea. To my amazement and delight it worked extremely well. I recommend you do the same. If your castles already have good raincovers, I strongly recommend that at the very least you carry out step 1. i.e. putting a picnic table over the fan.