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.

1 comment:

Wandering Thoughts said...

Are the methods for drying softside waterbeds the same as for hardside waterbeds? I have only tried it with a softside one and it was quite a messy (and wet) process. Is it similar for other types of waterbeds?