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.