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.