Archive for April, 2006

Using a mattress pad

April 28, 2006

On just about every waterbed mattress sold today is a tag with several warnings and recommendations. One of these is that a mattress pad should be used under the waterbed sheets to protect the vinyl from bodily oils. That’s corporatespeak for sweat. This is good advice. You see, vinyl is a petroleum product. This means that oil will literally make it or break it, and now we know sweat is oil. Some people even like to rub oil products on their bodies like baby oil also. These oils permeate the vinyl and causes it to harden. This is not good. You want your vinyl to stay soft and supple. Hardened vinyl is noisy, uncomfortable, and brittle. Brittle vinyl can, and usually does crack, which translates to a leak. Again, not good. This can be avoided by using a good, hypo allergenic waterbed mattress pad. Made of cotton or polyester, It will “take a bullet” for your mattress. If you feel patches of hardened vinyl in the area of the mattress that you sleep on every night, your bed has this condition, and you should start to think about replacing your water mattress while time is still on your side. And don’t forget a mattress pad too. Whether you use an economical flat anchor band mattress pad, or a fitted luxurious, billowy, quilted mattress pad, your waterbed mattress will be sufficiently protected. Equally as important is the fact that your waterbed will be better insulated from heat loss as a result, As your waterbed heater will use less energy. Perhaps what you will notice most of all is that it will be even more comfortable with an added layer of breathable material between you and the vinyl. A good mattress pad will usually last 2-3 years, depending how often it is laundered.

Waterbed Conditioning

April 27, 2006

 An important, though often overlooked, step in setting up your waterbed is the adding of the waterbed conditioner to the water. While the results of not doing so will not be catastrophic, they can be inconvenient.  Having repaired many waterbeds over the years, i can tell you that i immediately can tell if the customer added conditioner upon entering the house. But maybe they like the smell of low tide. Simply put, untreated water, left stagnant for years, will begin to turn brown and stink. This is accelerated when the water is heated. This is the first of four reasons you should spring for the few extra bucks every year to keep your waterbed in good health.  Another advantage to regularly treating your watermattress is that it keeps the vinyl soft on the inside both by keeping algae growth in check, and by the presence of vinyl softeners and preservatives in the conditioner. This is important because as vinyl gets attacked by fungal growth and excretion, it hardens. This is not good, as it can lead to tiny cracks.  For those with waveless mattresses, it is especially important to add the stuff because the wave inhibitors inside the mattresses, usually made of foam and/or fiber, break down and deteriorate when left untreated. After a few years they will begin to fall apart. This will become a problem when you need to pump out the mattress, as the loose chunks will clog the outlet or get lodged inside the pump and hose. I hate when that happens. When selecting conditioner for a waveless mattress, be sure it is a multi-purpose conditioner.   When purchasing waterbed conditioner, be sure to get factory sealed bottles or tablets for tube beds. I have known some unscrupulous dealers who have bottled clorox bleach, (bad for vinyl), and sold it to unsuspecting customers as waterbed conditioner. I heartily endorse Blue Magic products which can be found here.  Did i also mention that it also helps reduce noisy bubbles? This is by virtue of eliminating carbon dioxide producing algae. These microbes are present in tapwater, and your body is used to dealing with them. But left unchecked, they become organic.  Now, after you pour in the solution, replace the plug and cap, plug in your heater, and get ready for bed. Just make sure you put a mattress pad down first. This will be the topic of the next blog.

Filling your waterbed

April 26, 2006

 How deep should a watermattress be filled? In my quarter century of experience as a  waterbed expert, this has been the most insideous problem facing the industry. First of all, water cannot be compressed. It is physically impossible. That said, overfilling a watermattress can only be problematic. It won't get firmer, it will get rounder. It is cut to be filled to a certain depth (usually 7-9"). Exceeding the recommended depth will:

  • Stretch the vinyl and weaken the seams
  • Increase electrical consumption (more water to heat)
  • Stress and warp the sides
  • loosen screws and break brackets
  • Cause undue stress to supporting structures
  • Make it difficult to tuck in sheets and bedding
  • Make it LESS comfortable

    An air mattress will get firmer as you add more air, because air beds are filled with a gas, not a liquid. Gasses will compress. liquids cannot.

  Underfilling is the lesser of two evils. It causes bottoming out on the deck, but that can lead to overheating the heater and damaging the vinyl.

 I have seen properly filled waterbeds last 20+ years. The best advice i give to my customers on filling a waterbed is to lay a broomstick, or similar device across a wide corner of your hardside or softside waterbed at it's lowest point. When the water level begins to lift the broomstick off of the wood or foam frame, shut off the water. Adding more water is of no benefit to you.

Now, disconnect your hose from the sink, and as you coil it, hold it higher than the bed to let it drain into the bed. after that, couple both ends of the hose together to prevent spillage.

 Next is the burping process. this is easy if you didn't overfill your watermattress. Gently use the broomstick to influence any trapped air bubbles to move toward the open valve. You can usually see them in sufficient light. Lay the stick flat on top of the mattress like you are floating cement, gently pushing the air towards the valve.  Repeat this a few times. The air will easily vent out until there is no more splashing noise inside. This should be done again as necessary. The best time to do it is when you change the sheets.

Before replacing the cap, you now should add the waterbed conditioner. This will be the subject of the next blog.