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: .

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.