Frequently asked questions about waterbeds

The most frequently asked questions...

What are the advantages of waterbeds? Waterbeds offer five important benefits - total body and back support, minimal surface pressure for greater comfort, a genuinely hygienic surface, a controllable sleeping temperature and remarkable durability. These qualities are essential for a superior sleeping environment.

Are there different types of mattresses? Yes. They can have different depths and variable degrees of stability. There are approximately 5 variations of stability - from free flow, with lots of movement, through to fully stabilised with no motion. In larger sizes, a dual (twin) mattress system is available which allows individual stability and/or temperature within each mattress.

Will I feel seasick on a waterbed? Not at all. A fully stabilised waterbed will not move. Any motion you give to the mattress tends to be gentle and soothing and ceases as soon as you stop moving. If you select a very stable mattress there will be minimal movement at any time - even if your partner moves. Remember the pressure reduced support of a waterbed also minimises the need to toss and turn while you are sleeping. The option of a "dual system" further eliminates any possible movement as each mattress is totally independent of the other.

Do waterbeds burst? Never. A waterbed is a pressure-less system. If you sit on the mattress and open the filler cap - no water will come out. A waterbed is not like an air mattress which is under constant pressure. Even in the unlikely event that the mattress is punctured, the water would only slowly be absorbed into the surrounding safety liner and bedding.

Will the bed leak? The chances are very remote. The technology producing today's waterbeds is sophisticated. The seam welds are very strong. All mattresses are surrounded by a safety liner as a precaution so that any spillage would automatically be held by this liner and not fall on the floor. If a repair is needed it only takes a few minutes to apply.

How easy is it to puncture the bed? Any really sharp object can be used to puncture the water mattress but it is not as easy as you might imagine. Unless you wilfully set out to damage your waterbed you are not likely to puncture it. 

How would I repair a puncture? For all but the most severe punctures, the easy way is to use a vinyl repair kit (which we supply with every new waterbed). Once in place it will restore the mattress to its full lifetime use with no detrimental effect. In many cases a simple repair can be completed without having to empty the bed. 

Are waterbeds good for my back? A waterbed provides the best support your back can get. When you lie on a flotation mattress the water displaces to contour to your shape. 

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Don't I need a firm bed? The worst bed to sleep on is a soft, shapeless mattress providing little or no support. In the past, a firm bed was thought to be the alternative to this, but this firmness increases the few points of hard contact between you and the mattress. These pressure points often restrict your blood circulation and induce more tossing and turning. By contrast a waterbed provides a therapeutic sleeping surface combining the essential qualities of support and comfort. 

I'm heavier than my partner, will we both be comfortable? Yes. A waterbed supports you equally. If you are particularly heavy you will find a waterbed very comfortable. If there is a great difference between partners, then a dual system could be the solution. 

How long do waterbeds last? Most manufacturers say ten to fifteen years as an average use expectancy and that the maximum life will depend upon how you care for your bed. 

How do the heaters work and are they safe? The heater system uses a low wattage flat heater pad that is placed on the decking underneath the water mattress and liner. A variable thermostat, constantly maintains the water temperature at your pre-selected setting. Yes - they are safe. They are double insulated and specifically designed to warm your waterbed.

How much do they cost to run? On average 25 per annum. It will depend on the style of bed and what bedding covers the mattress. The heater only comes on to replace the heat lost to the bedroom.

What happens in a power cut? With the power disconnected a waterbed will gradually begin to cool. Because the bed is usually well insulated by bedding etc. it will be quite some time before you notice the change. Since you will rarely experience a power cut for more than a few hours, the chances of it becoming a problem are remote. 

How often do you have to change the water? Only when you need to move the bed. A water conditioner is added periodically to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria. With regular care the same mattress of water will go on supporting you for years. 

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What is conditioner? It is an algaecide/biocide. The conditioner stabilises the quality of the water so there is no risk of bacteria or algae growth inside the mattress. Most manufacturers recommend you add a 4fl oz bottle of conditioner every six months. It also helps to maintain the suppleness of your vinyl mattress. 

How can I clean the water mattress? Waterbeds are very hygienic. Unlike a conventional bed, a waterbed will not accumulate dust or skin particles inside its mattress and almost all waterbeds have a removable, washable cover which, when laundered, virtually eliminates dust mites. It is a good idea to protect the vinyl mattress with regular cleaning. Most manufacturers offer a vinyl cleaner which helps to maintain the quality of the mattress. (Note: do not use strong detergents, which may harm the vinyl.) Best of all, the plinth of a waterbed makes continuous contact with the floor so you will never have to vacuum under the bed again!

How much sleep do you really need? Sleep is the time our bodies demand to close down the nervous system and catch up with the growth processes and repairs. Although the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, what really matters is not the quantity of sleep we achieve but the quality. 

Are waterbeds easy to move? Yes. In fact once drained the components of a waterbed are far easier to move than conventional beds and even king sized waterbeds can be carried into rooms that have limited access, narrow staircases etc. Should you not wish to move it yourself, we will be happy to move it for you.

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Are waterbeds noisy? No. When the water mattress is first filled there will be air with the water in the vinyl mattress. As soon as the air is vented from the filler valve the waterbed is noiseless.

Are waterbeds available with drawer units? Yes. They are offered as an option. Most manufacturers provide a two or four drawer arrangement. The constant temperature of a waterbed means the drawers have the advantage of being used as mini-airing cupboards for storing night clothes, bedding etc.

Will I perspire on a vinyl mattress? No you should not. You should never sleep against the actual vinyl mattress. Soft sided waterbeds have their own quilted (or similar) top cover and you should always use a quality mattress protector with a hard sided frame. Keep the temperature on your waterbed set at your skin temperature. The normal comfort level is approximately 28-30 degrees centigrade. This even, constant temperature helps you to get a better nights rest, something which is more difficult if you are too hot or too cold in bed.

What is the weight of a waterbed? It depends on the size and style of waterbed. The soft-sided divan models are lighter than hard sided models. A full depth, king size soft sided divan waterbed is the equivalent of about eight adults laying down over the area of floor where the bed will sit. On average a regular waterbed will weigh 1.2kilo-newton-per-squared (or in English 45lbs per-sq-ft).

Will it fall through the floor? The weight of a waterbed is well distributed and the pressure on the floor is less than that of a person in a bath or a freestanding refrigerator. Because a waterbed rests on a purpose built plinth, the floor loading is not only well below the basic requirements of building regulations, it is often less than 10% of the contact pressure of a conventional bed on legs or casters.

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Will the waterbed enhance/ruin my sex life? The answer is no - except that the waterbed offers more comfort and support. A waterbed should be used in just teh same way as a conventional mattress.

Will the waterbed sag? No. Under normal every day use a water mattress should not sag or lose its shape as you cannot change the shape of water. The mattress will always conform to your body shape and you use your waterbed as much as you would any other bed, secure in the knowledge that (unlike conventional springs) it will not sag or distort. Even a decade later your waterbed remains as comfortable and supportive as the first night you sleep on it. However, should the vinyl appear to stretch slightly this can be compensated by adding a little more water.

How long does it take to get used to it? Usually just a couple of nights. Once you are used to it however, you will never want to return to an ordinary bed. Every single person with a waterbed tells us this!

Can I put a waterbed into my existing frame? Generally yes, ff you have a bed frame that will fit a conventional mattress/divan then it will fit a soft-sided divan waterbed. It is quite normal to set them up within brass frames, four posters, sleigh beds etc. There are situations where a waterbed cannot fit within a standard or custom bed frame.

Can I sleep on a waterbed while pregnant? Flotation support systems can offer increased comfort to women during pregnancy by enabling them to lie in a stomach-down position, thereby alleviating much of the pressure that the heavy uterus exerts. Many women these days are even opting for giving birth in water to reduce the pain of giving birth.


A supporter of the British Waterbed Association

A member of the
European Waterbed Association
European Waterbed Association

Akva Waterbeds TTI waterbed manufacturing
4d Comfort Revival Beds
Riverwood Beds TV Bed Store
Fenix Bed System
 

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