Friday, March 28, 2008
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.