Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Waterbeds and Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF)

While there has been much discussion over the last 25 or so years about the validity of the theory of electromagnetic frequency (emf) and possible health risks with regard to waterbed heaters, the jury is still out. It has been established in the scientific community that there is a definite existence of emf, but it varies widely in intensity from appliances to wiring to just about every electronic product used today. Associated health risks have never been proven.
What are electromagnetic fields?
Electrical currents are what causes electromagnetic fields. Common household current is alternating current (AC), which reverses its direction (its charge) then switches back. A complete cycle per second is one hertz (Hz). For example, if your waterbed heater operates at 60 Hz, then its current changes direction 60 times per second. This cycle creates electric and magnetic fields at the same frequency. The fields created by power lines that distribute power throughout the country are power frequency fields. These currents are nearly everywhere we live. It exists in cars, trains, elevators, massage chairs, tv's and video terminals, just to name a few. Emf is ubiquitous throughout our society.
Most waterbed heaters manufactured today are low emf, or emf reduced, thus minimizing exposure. For those who wish to exercise extra caution, a timer can be used to run the heater when waterbeds are not in use. This we will recommend during pregnancies just to remain on the safe side. A waterbed mattress will usually not require heat in the summer months or warm climates for many of us, though some will disagree. Again, this issue is only theory. Generally, scientists on both sides say they are dealing at most with rare diseases and an increased risk that is almost infinitesimal, especially compared with life's other everyday risks.
No scientific data support definitive answers to questions about the existence or nonexistence of health risks related to wood frame waterbed heaters or softside waterbed heaters and electromagnetic fields. More research to produce more reliable information is needed before any conclusions can be drawn.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Waterbed Heaters and the Softside Waterbed

The softside waterbed, also known as hybrid waterbeds, combine the comfort and superior ergonomics of fluid support systems with the look, surface feel, and ease of use of an innerspring mattress. This is usually achieved by replacing rigid wooden frame waterbed sides (hardside), with soft foam. Every manufacturer sets out to achieve this a little differently, with some more successful in design than others. While some have come and gone, there are still several successful softside waterbed manufacturers that can still provide you with several choices of differing models to choose from. For this post, we will narrow these down to three basic types; Deepfill, (requires a waterbed heater), Midfill, (heater optional), and Shallowfill, ( heater not required or recommended).
Deepfill waterbeds have eight inches of water, and are most similar to their hardside counterparts, requiring that a heater be used because the user is in close contact to the watermattress, which has about 200 gallons of water in a king size. A standard waterbed heater (300 watt) can be used on this type of waterbed, but only if it is placed on a wooden surface. If the deck surface is made of foam or fabric, a low-watt heater (120 watt) should be used instead to reduce the risk of overheating the heater, and scorching the foam or fabric surface, which can lead to heater failure or, in extreme cases, fire damage.
These lower wattage heaters operate at a lower temperature using a wire alloy heating element, which is a bit more expensive, instead of stainless steel or foil.
Midfill waterbeds have about six inches of water, and augment that with at least two inches of foam over and/or under the watermattress. A low-watt heater ONLY can be used for this type. Full watt waterbed heaters should never be used on a midfill waterbed, as they produce more heat than can be carried off and dispersed by the watermattress, creating an overheating hazard.
Shallowfill waterbeds do not need a heater, as the ambient air temperature, combined with body heat is adequate warmth. Shallowfill can be either a tube system, or a watermattress. While some may think it's safe to use a low-watt heater, aka a tube heater, we do not recommend doing so.
There is also the issue of electromagnetic frequency (E.M.F.) with regard to waterbed heaters to be discussed. This will be the subject of a later post.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Waterbed Heaters and the Hardside waterbed

The heater is a critical component of hardside waterbeds. It nearly always is included in a complete waterbed package because the eight inch water depth of this type of waterbed will typically be about ten degrees farenheit cooler than the ambient air temperature, which, in most climates, is not very comfortable. Your skin surface temperature is usually 85-88 degrees. This is what most people find to be their comfort zone. In cooler climes and weather, many will adjust their waterbed heaters in the upper eighties to low nineties. Warmer air temps will, of course, require less water heat, and may not even cause the thermostatic control to turn itself on much at all, until there is a sudden temperature drop. It is desirable to keep a watermattress at a constant temperature, at least seasonally. This is the primary function of the waterbed heater. Most people just "set it and forget it" about once a season. These wood frame waterbed heaters are compatable with all types of waveless waterbed mattresses and full motion waterbed mattresses alike. They only require that your waterbed mattress be completely filled before being plugged in to a power source. Not doing so will cause it to burn itself up and create a potential fire hazard. These heaters are usually around 300 watts, and are manufactured to be placed on wood only, with 7-8 inches of water over it. Not doing so will certainly void your warranty. Softside waterbeds will require a different kind of low watt waterbed heater which we will explore in the next blog.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Waterbed Sheets and Bedding Primer Part 3

When it comes to which type of sheets work best on a hardside waterbed, there a few choices. Many customers tell me that they can't get waterbed sheets to stay put, others have told me they are too difficult to put on, and others have said they find tucking in oversize flat sheets to be the easiest. First of all, it is important to understand that an overfilled waterbed will cause the above problems. If there is too much water, it is too heavy. The watermattress should be filled level to the top of the frame. This will allow you to lift the water and mattress out of the way in order to place the sheet pocket into the bottom inside corner of the waterbed frame. If the four sheet pockets are evenly placed in their corresponding corners, and the bladder is not overfilled, your sheets should stay put under normal sleeping conditions. There is one type of waterbed sheets called stay-tuck that incorporates a 1/2 inch by about 7 inch pvc tube into the inside edge of the sheet pockets so that the weight of the water "locks" the tube into the corner of a wood frame waterbed, preventing any slippage. You can also improvise this if desired with a smooth plastic coat hanger. These sheets, like many others, have a topsheet sewn to the bottom sheet at the foot of the bed. Some like this, others don't. For those who don't, we have available "six pocket sheets" that are separate, and the top sheet has only two pockets at the foot of the bed to hold it in place. We often run phone specials on sheets, so give us a call toll-free @ 866.405.8353 and ask for the blog sheets special. We are currently offering two sheet sets for $100.00. More to come, and more great deals in the offering.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Waterbed Sheets and Bedding Primer Part 2

After settling on which type of waterbed mattress pad to choose, you will need to purchase a set of sheets. For those of you who sleep on a softside waterbed, you will not need to buy waterbed sheets specifically designed for a hardside waterbed. Unless you have a california king sized softside waterbed, you need only use standard size regular bedsheets. These are also known as eastern size sheets, and are available in eastern king, queen, full (aka double), and twin. You may, however, need deep pocket sheets if you have a pillowtop, or high profile mattress. These are readily available, as most high-end mattresses sold today are higher profile.
If you have chosen a hardside, or wood frame waterbed, you will need to buy waterbed sheets. These come in 3 sizes; king, queen and super single. These are all california, or western sizes. They are 6, 5, or 4 Feet wide, respectively, all by 7 foot long. These dimensions were adopted industry wide to make the most efficient use of lumber in their construction. These sheets are often packaged as a set with a top sheet, bottom sheet, and 2 pillowcases. Super single waterbed sheets usually have only one pillowcase. When applied to a properly filled watermattress correctly, these sheets stay put very well. We will explore this further in the next blog.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Waterbed Sheets and Bedding Primer- part 1

On just about every vinyl watermattress manufactured these days, there is usually a tag or sticker that warns that, among other things, a mattress pad should be used to prevent damage from body oils. This damage manifests itself as a hardening of the vinyl, which is uncomfortable and noisy. It can also crack in extreme cases. One such case comes to mind of an old customer who needed me to take a look at his waterbed. It felt like plexiglas, and had a small crack, which leaked when pushed on. After telling him this was in no way like any other problem i had ever encountered, and must be a result of some type of abuse, he finally confessed (in private) that he and his wife enjoyed covering each other in baby oil, and sliding around on the bare water mattress. While this sounds like a lot of fun, it destroyed his bed, so we do not recommend that practice. We do, however, advise that you use a fitted waterbed mattress pad to insulate, protect, and soften a vinyl watermattress. For added comfort and absorbancy you can upgrade to a quilted cotton mattress pad.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Waterbeds and Sex Part 2- Sex and the Softside Waterbed

The softsided waterbed, after having made it's debut in the mid 1980's has surpassed it's hardside, or wood frame counterpart in sales for nearly the last two decades. Many different manufacturers have come and gone, all offering slight variations and innovations in design. Now, just a few strong players remain in production, having distilled their most popular and sucessful models down to three basic design types which we will explore here with relevance to sex; The deepfill (8" depth), The midfill (6" depth), and shallowfill (6" depth).
The deepfill is the softside type that is most akin to a hardside waterbed, as they are about the same depth and can be offered with the same watermattress types, and both require a waterbed heater. Depending which type watermattress is ordered will determine the amount of motion. Some models offer pillowtops, others come with a plushtop. The plushtop is thin, and leaves very little between yourself and the vinyl watermattress, while the pillowtop provides a soft, billowy buffer. Other than that, with regard to sex, the same rules apply as with wood frame waterbeds with one exception; the soft sides are made of foam instead of wood and can be much more forgiving in the event of any accidental impact (giving new meaning to safe sex!).
The midfill and shallowfill softside waterbeds are a hybrid of a waterbed and an innerspring bed (what we like to call a "dead bed"). Because a waterbed needs 8 inches of fluid support, these beds augment this with the use of foam. A midfill will use 6 inches of water, buffered with at least two inches of foam, and a shallowfill will have 4 inches of water, in either tubes or a watermattress, with a minimum of 4 inches of foam above and/or below the water. Heaters are optional on midfill waterbeds, and are NOT recommended on shallowfill waterbeds. All three types can be purchased with a plushtop or pillowtop, and some high-end models offer visco memory foam toppers. These beds are more comparable to regular mattresses because they move less, and allow for better "traction". Instead of using springs for base support, which will compress in the same place nightly from your bodyweight, and eventually sag, they use water, which will resilliently feel the same in 20 years as it does today, topped by a soft and supple foam or pillow top. It really feels great! They all will have some rocking motion, but the shallower the fill, the less action. Tube beds have almost no side-to-side motion, but will still have some head-to-foot motion, so you can still "go with the flow" on all types. (Of course, playing a Barry White cd may enhance your experience.)
I am now confident that, given the information here, you can make an educated and informed choice of which type of waterbed will best suit your needs for practicality, comfort, and fun. Please post any feedback or questions you may have on this or any other relevant subject.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Waterbeds and Sex Part 1- Hardside Waterbeds

The Waterbeds and the Bees

When considering which type of waterbed might best suit your sexual preferences we offer the following primer; If you choose a hardside waterbed with a full motion (aka freeflow) water mattress, you can expect wild, exciting active sex. Alternately, a wood frame waterbed with a reduced motion, or waveless waterbed mattress would allow for a slower, more sensual sex. After having chosen your new indoor playground, (which happens to also be the most comfortable sleeping surface on earth), you may need to make some minor adjustments.
First, feel how the warm water relaxes you and your partner during foreplay. A heated waterbed mattress can stimulate blood circulation, priming your bodies for a sexual encounter.
Next, you may need to modify your technique. Methods that worked well before may no longer be the best approach on a waterbed. As any surfer knows, when it comes to waves, timing is everything. Familiarize yourself with the wave energy and notice the reaction of the bed in response to your movement.
You may need to experiment with a few various positions to see which ones work best for you and your partner. While some find it difficult to to get leverage on a waterbed mattress no matter which partner is on top, others find it to be unecessary and learn to just "go with the flow". Remember, for each movement you make you get two free. Now, all you need is love, tiger!
Next; Sex and the softsided waterbed.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Waterbed Myths Part 3; The Seasickness Myth

Perhaps the most mind boggling and inane comments we quite often hear about in our industry about waterbeds are the ones that perpetuate the seasick myth. This is pure ignorance.
Wikipedia defines seasickness as; "A form of motion sickness characterized by a feeling of nausea and, in extreme cases, vertigo experienced after spending time on a craft on water".
This is usually caused by visual confusion and inner ear imbalance due to loss of horizon and constant pitch and roll of the sea for a long period of time.
That said, let me go on the record as saying nobody has ever gotten seasick on a waterbed, period. Many people think it's just a funny thing to comment when they lay down on a full motion watermattress for the first time. As a salesman, many times I would chuckle to be polite, ever pretending to have heard it for the first time, but quickly changing the subject to waveless waterbeds as a "solution" for that "problem".
The truth is, we sell more full motion mattress than we do ultra waveless waterbed mattresses, which clearly indicates that many people love the gentle rolling motion of flotation sleep. A free flow mattress will rock for about 10-15 seconds after laying down, then it will remain motionless until it is pushed again. Different degrees of wavelessness are achieved by manufacturing watermattresses with more or less wave inhibitor inside. These are known as fiberfill mattresses. The greater the density and volume of fiber inside the mattress determines how much motion is reduced. An ultra waveless usually has 8-10 layers of nylon fiber throughout the entire inside (zero second stop), while an 80% waveless watermattress will have 3-5 layers occupying about two thirds of the interior (3-5 second stop). That is how wave reduction is achieved.
So let's hope this puts yet another waterbed myth to bed. Seasickness is caused by the sea, not by a waterbed!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Waterbed Myths Part 2- The Weight Myth

"I can't have a waterbed because my bedroom is upstairs, and i'm afraid it will fall through the floor". Well, if your floor cannot support a waterbed, you've got much bigger problems than that. You had better move, and soon. Most people are ignorant of the fact that a properly filled water mattress puts less stress on it's supporting structure than does an average adult walking on it. This is a fact, not my opinion. You see, water weighs five pounds per square foot, per inch depth. A deepfill waterbed, when filled correctly, has about 7-8 inches of water. If you did the math, you would know that it equates to no more than 40 lbs per square foot. In terms of floor loading, this is well within the building code standards. A person like myself, weighing 250 lbs, puts as much weight in less than a square foot by simply walking, and I have never collapsed a floor. The following common household fixtures exert significantly more stress on a floor than does a waterbed; A filled refrigerator, a grand piano, a fish tank, a toilet, a filled bathtub or jacuzzi, or even a couch with three fat adults seated upon it. While the gross weight of a California king sized waterbed can be as much as a ton, it's weight is spread out over 42 square feet. Please bear in mind that it's not the overall weight to consider when calculating floor loads, it's the weight per square foot, or, in this case, the depth of the water. By the same token, the roof over your house weighs several tons. This weight, however is spread out over the entire house causing it to weigh just a few pounds per square foot. Think about this; a hexagonal sixty gallon fishtank has a depth of about 30 inches in about three square feet of area, which translates to 150 lbs per square foot. Additionally, in our waterbed showroom, one of our display models was set up and supported entirely by dixie cups, (about 150 of them). No tricks or gimmicks, just a display to show all our potential customers how ridiculous this assertion was, and still is; no waterbed ever has or ever will fall through anybody's floor. The media would have jumped all over a story like that So, let's put this issue to rest.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Waterbed Myths Part 1

The waterbed industry has been plagued by the perpetuation of misinformation and myth since it's inception in the late sixties. Here we will debunk many of these fables, one by one;

Let's start with this old favorite; "Waterbeds can burst". While it is possible for a filled waterbed mattress to explode if it were to be dropped from a ten story tower, (think David Letterman), it is not at all likely to rupture under normal circumstances. You see, the water in a properly filled waterbed mattress is not under pressure. A deep fill type mattress has about eight inches of water depth inside. So the stress near the bottom is about the same as a filled glass of your favorite beverage in a container the same height.

That said, I can attest to witnessing some extreme abuses of waterbed mattresses under abnormal circumstances, and can report that they have NOT burst, ever. Check out this video from one of our competitors in California doing a publicity stunt: http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dmx1nbWjZ4oA .

While the video should speak for itself, I'll tell you about a few other bladder abuses that I have observed; I once filled a ten-plus year old, king sized full motion waterbed mattress on a beach at my vacation home for the kids to play on. Well, the kids loved it, and it not only was jumped on just about every day all summer, but a friend of mine actually backed her jeep over it (on purpose), and it never even sprung a pinhole. To this day, there is one in my back yard playground. As a salesman, I often jumped on the showroom models just about every day to demonstrate the strength of a waterbed, and I weigh over 250 lbs.

Back in the early eighties at a grand opening party for one of our retail showrooms, we had 14 adults piled onto a floor model for a photo op. I wish I could find that picture. That waterbed store has since moved to the internet.

As I said, the water is not under pressure. If you were to stab the surface of a properly filled waterbed, you would only see a few drops of water.

So, I think I have made my point. A correctly filled waterbed, whether it be a hardside, (wood frame waterbed) or softside, full motion or waveless water mattress, will not burst, even under extreme circumstances.

Now, on to the next myth.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Flattening a Bunched up Watermattress, aka; Fibershift

In my 25+ years of performing waterbed service, perhaps the most common problem encountered by the do-it-yourselfer that I have been most often been called to fix, is the bunching up of the fiber matrix inside a waveless watermattress due to improper handling after being drained, also know as fibershift. While some manufacturers internally tether the fiber to the mattress to prevent this from happening, most do not because it requires extra seams to do so, adding expense and vulnurability. After all, the seams and valve are what is covered under warranty, so the less seams, the better. Most hardside and softside waterbed mattresses have a free floating fiber pad inside, requiring a minimum of seams. What is key to preventing this from happening is achieving a vacuum inside the mattress, which will occur naturally when draining, either with a fill and drain kit, siphoning, or a waterbed pump. Before you start draining, be sure to remove all air bubbles through the open valve with a broomstick, after unplugging the waterbed heater. This will insure that a vacuum will occur as it drains. When the flow of water slows to a light trickle, remove the hose from the mattress and immediately repace it with the plug and cap, or you will lose the vacuum and the mattress will fill back up with air. When the mattress is full of air, the fiber pad can easily shift and bunch up into a ball and twist. Do not remove the plug and cap untill you are ready to fill it back up. The ensuing vacuum, when maintained, will make your waveless mattress easy to fold and handle, and less "blobby". If it gets puffy, it means either the cap is loose, or it has a leak. If your fiber does shift, the best way to flatten it out is to use a wet-vac. The water must first be evacuated as much as possible. First, using a wet-vac, blow air into the mattress through the valve opening. As the air inside begins to compress, turn the vac off and look inside the valve to see how the fiber is shifted. It is helpful to have the room sunlit, or as bright as possible, as the vinyl is opaque. Try to find a corner or two of the fiber and work it into a corner of the mattress. this will probably take some time, and you may need to blow it back up again as necessary with air to see inside the open valve. When you get a corner of fiber into a corner of the mattress, grasp them together and elevate as high as you can, allowing the fiber pad to unfold. Kind of like the way you make your bed up. This will allow the fiber to flatten, just like a comforter. Repeat as necessary until fiber is visually flat. Next reverse the air flow of the wet vac, (after removing the filter) and suck as much air out of the mattress as is possible, and immediately plug the valve. Do not remove the plug until you are ready with your connected hose to refill it. Any ridges or buckles in the fiber will usually work themselves out as you refill your waterbed.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to Drain a Waterbed

Here we will provide you with three safe and practical methods for draining a watermattress, all of which require a standard garden hose. The length of hose should be no longer than necessary to get the water away from the building by at least 10 feet or so. Too long a hose will create excess drag, and can slow the draining process, in addition to causing extra work.
Your first step as you begin to drain your waterbed is to make sure you have unplugged your waterbed heater. This is critical because as the heater loses a sufficient depth of water, it will overheat and eventually burn itself up, along with your liner and watermattress. This can be dangerous and expensive.
Next you will need to remove all the air bubbles that have accumulated inside the watermattress, also known as "burping" your waterbed. This is easily done by gently sliding a broom stick (or any similarly shaped device) with gentle, downward pressure, across the top surface of the vinyl, toward the uncapped valve, allowing any trapped gasses to vent out of the watermattress. This is also a critical step to evacuating as much water as possible. Remember, that the last ten gallons can be the most difficult to remove because as the water drains out, a vacuum is created inside, and as the bed empties out, any air present will negate the vacuum, making the mattress very heavy and bulky. So be sure to remove all the air bubbles before proceeding. Now you must choose which draining method you will use.
The first method of draining is to use a venturi pump. This is the T-shaped plastic fitting found in a waterbed fill and drain kit. Most reputable waterbed dealers will provide this with the sale of a waterbed, and they should have come with instructions. While these do work well on free flow and semi-waveless water mattresses, they are not recommended to drain an ultra-waveless (90-100% wavelessness) mattress. This is because they do not provide a strong enough vacuum that is needed in order to drain them sufficently to be picked up. These pumps rely on water pressure and gravity. They are only effective with the water flowing downhill, and with strong water pressure. The tap water must be kept running until the mattress is empty. This is the most inefficent and time consuming method. It also wastes a lot of water.If you live in a basement, it may be your only choice, unless you can get your hands on an electric pump.
An electric pump is usually the fastest method. How fast is determined by how powerful your pump is, and whether the water is flowing up or downhill. Most will take 30-90 minuites. This is the most effective way to drain an ultra waveless watermattress. If you live in an apartment building, place the hose as deep as possible into a toilet bowl, and close the lid before starting. Many pumps will need to be primed (pre-filled with water) in order to get started. This method, of course, requires electricity.
The siphon method will require only a hose. A male hose adapter, which also comes with a fill and drain kit, is helpful, but not necessary. Following the above instructions, next, place the male end of the hose into the valve of the waterbed. The other end of the hose needs to be placed as low as possible, in relation to the mattress. The more vertical drop, the faster the bed will drain. Next step is to suck on the lower end of the hose to start the water flowing. Once it begins to flow downhill, it will continue to do so until there is no more water left. For the squeamish, a wet-vac can be used to start the siphon.
Whichever draining method you choose, it is also important that you replace the plug and cap quickly after removing the hose from the watermattress, preserving the vacuum. Do not allow it to back fill with air. This will ensure that the fiberfill inside a waveless mattress will not shift, and bunch up into a big lump. This will be the subject of my next blog; Fibershift.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Why A Waterbed Mattress Pad Should Be Used

If you were to check, you would find that nearly every waterbed mattress manufacturer attaches a tag to the valve with several warnings and recommendations. Among these is that a mattress pad should be placed under the waterbed sheets to protect the vinyl from bodily oils, which is corporatespeak for sweat. This is actually good advice. You see, vinyl is an oil-based petroleum product. This means that oil will literally make it or break it, and now we know sweat is oil. There are some who also like to rub oil products on their bodies like baby oil . These oils can seep through the sheets and permeate the vinyl causing 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 will crack, which translates to a leak. Again, not good. This can be avoided completely by simply 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 begin 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, it will keep your waterbed mattress sufficiently protected. Equally as important is the fact that your waterbed will be better insulated from heat loss as a result, and your waterbed heater will use less energy. Perhaps what you will notice most of all is that it will feel softer and much more comfortable with an added layer of breathable material between yourself and the vinyl surface. A good quality mattress pad will usually last 2-3 years, depending how often it is laundered. You will thank me in the morning. Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Conditioning Your Waterbed Mattress

An important, albeit often overlooked, final step in filling your water mattress is treating it with waterbed conditioner . While the results of not doing so won't be catastrophic, they can be inconvenient. Having repaired many untreated waterbeds over the years, I can tell you that I immediately notice if the customer did not add conditioner when I enter their 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 ages, it gets attacked by fungal growth and excretion, and it will harden. This is never 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 eventually need to pump out the mattress, as the loose chunks will clog the outlet or get lodged inside the pump and/or hose. I hate when that happens. When choosing 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 with dish soap, (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 can 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.

Friday, March 28, 2008

About the Waterbed Guy

My humble entry into the wonderful world of waterbeds began in 1981, at age nineteen. The flotation sleep industry was growing out of it's infancy, and was about to ride it's own wave into a decade long boom. I first began as a part time salesman hawking mostly at area malls and home expos, eventually working for a few waterbed retailers in the metro New york area. I was initially a salesman, but quickly became the top service and installation provider in the region, contracting for most of the local big and small players at one time or another. Having felt that i found my niche, I coasted for a few years, finding little or no competetion locally. As time went on, I created my own regional waterbed service, company, doing set ups, removals, moves and the like. This allowed me to also chase my dream as a musician and to create my own work hours which provided for that lifestyle. I still play every weekend with the same band. After having ridden that wave myself for over two decades, and seeing dozens of waterbed dealers come and go, came a sobering reality; The boom was long over. It became apparent that I was the only remaining die hard that still wanted to sell and service waterbeds for the greatest city in the world. Having done a bit of market research, I soon learned that there actually was still a market for these things. A pretty good one at that. People still wanted to buy waterbeds, however, for most people across the country, the only place left to buy them was the internet. Nearly all my customers tell me so! So my plan here is to provide you with a free "virtual waterbed service" to people who may find themselves in need of it. From today onward, i will build upon the knowledge and tips i have accrued in the last quarter century and share it here. Please share your experiences, good or bad with us as well. I will be doing the same. There is a surprisingly large number of topics to explore, from product selection, to horror stories, and this will be the place to find them. I have also come across many myths and bullsh*t stories that will be debunked here. So let's get to it!

Filling Your Watermattress

What is the ideal waterbed depth? In my quarter century + of experience as a professional waterbed installer and service provider, this has been the most insideous problem that has faced the waterbed industry. First of all, water cannot be compressed. It is physically impossible. That said, overfilling a watermattress can only be problematic. It can't get firmer, but it will get rounder (hemispherical). You want it to be box shaped. It is cut to be filled to a certain depth (usually 6-8"). 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 more difficult to tuck in sheets and bedding . (excess weight to lift)
-Make your bed LESS comfortable.
I have seen this all happen firsthand.
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 only causes bottoming out on the deck when sitting or kneeling, but that can lead to overheating the heater and damaging the vinyl (and the heater).
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. But, if you like a noisy bed, leave the bubbles in. It is not a critical step.
Before replacing the cap, you now should now add the waterbed conditioner. Which will be the subject of the next blog.