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Frequently asked questions about waterbeds

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. There is a range of mattress stabilisations which give 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. There is also the relatively new Memory Foam waterbed mattress which has in many ways a delayed action just like a conventional Memory Foam mattress but is in water and better temperature controlled.

Will I feel seasick on a waterbed? Not at all. A fully stabilised waterbed or Memory Foam mattress 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 reduces 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.

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 drip on the floor providing the liner is sound and in good condition. If a repair is needed it only takes a few minutes to apply and can normally be done without draining the mattress. A rolled up towel in each corner will help soak up any spillage.

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. 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? Every body is different , but in general 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.

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, but the firmness increases the 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? 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. The relatively new 'Carbon' and 'Ceramic Plate' heaters are more economical nowadays than some of the old analog heaters. There are also some 'digital' heaters on the market which have a timer built in. This means you can program the heater to operate during an economy 7 system.

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.

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 bottle of conditioner every six months or at least once a year, and to wipe the mattress down with a vinyl cleaner. This 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 keeping it free from body odours and salts. A vinyl cleaner will help maintain the quality of the mattress. (Note: do not use strong detergents or cleaners, which may harm the vinyl.)

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 Super 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.

Are waterbeds noisy? No. When the water mattress is first filled there will be air within the water and the stabilisation fibres of the 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, or some form of storage system. The pedestal / base can also be custom made for special requirements. 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. 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 the 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 the point loading of a person in a bath or a freestanding refrigerator. Because a waterbed rests on a purpose built plinth, the weight is spread evenly and therefore the point loading is reduced.

Will the waterbed enhance/ruin my sex life? It shouldn't make any difference. A waterbed should be used in just the same way as a conventional mattress.

How long does it take to get used to it? Usually a week – ten days, just like a conventional bed. Once you are used to it, it is very unlikely you'll go back to a sprung bed. Those that try usually return to a waterbed.

Can I put a waterbed into my existing frame? Generally yes. If you have a particular bed frame that want to keep, then there is usually a soft-sided waterbed that will fit. We often convert brass frames, four poster beds, sleigh beds and TV beds. There are some situations where a waterbed cannot fit within a standard 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.

European Waterbed Association

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