All About Waterbeds

Waterbeds may seem relatively simple, but they inspire a great deal of curiosity. We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers to help clear up the mystery.

• Can waterbeds burst when someone jumps on them?
No. Waterbeds have no internal pressure. They’re designed to absorb and redistribute weight, so even if the fill valve was left open, no water would spill out. Should the waterbed develop a leak in the waterbed mattress, the safety liner has been designed to capture any water and prevent leakage. So don’t worry: you can do as many cannonballs as you like. The waterbed won’t burst.

• Can you get seasick from sleeping on a waterbed?
Although it’s rare, it is technically possible to experience a form of seasickness from sleeping on a “full motion” waterbed. A full motion waterbed rocks horizontally, so someone who is especially sensitive to movement may experience feelings similar to that of a person on a heaving boat. However, you can specify the type of bladder that you choose to buy. Bladders have a range of movement from the full motion to the “waveless” bladders, which reduce the rocking sensation by up to 90%.

• What is a “dual-bladder” waterbed, and why would anyone have one?
Studies have shown that men and women have slightly different ideal sleeping temperatures. Generally, women like it slightly warmer than men do. Dual-bladder waterbeds are ideal for couples who like to set their waterbed heater at a different temperature than their partner.

• Do waterbeds “sag”?
No. Because waterbeds don’t have springs and coils, they don’t sag in the same way as traditional mattresses. Water retains the same density whether it’s one day or one decade old. While it’s technically possible for softside mattresses that use foam padding to experience a change in shape over time, the bladder itself won’t sag. Certain bladders can “bunch,” however, if they are not appropriately tethered. This bunching is due to the grouping of specially coated fibers that are used to create a steadier bladder. If the fibers are tethered, they will remain evenly distributed across the bladder.

• When do you have to change the water?
Technically, never. You do need to add a special waterbed conditioner known as an algaecide to the bladder every six months to prevent the development of bacteria or algae. The only time you have to fully change out the water in the bladder is when you move. Waterbeds must be drained before they are moved. Draining also prevents any unnecessary wear and tear on the frame or the bladder. Generally, a full-sized bladder takes anywhere from 1 to 6 hours to drain. However, the water inside the bladder is designed to never come in contact with those who sleep on it. It’s important to note that no one should ever drink the water from a waterbed.

• How much do waterbeds weigh?
A full size waterbed can weigh over a ton, or about 1,500 lbs. However, because of the way the water is distributed, the pressure per square inch is actually less than a stove. Softside waterbeds weigh even less because the bladders are smaller and they are surrounded by more insulating material.

• Do waterbeds require a lot of maintenance?
Yes and no. Waterbeds require more maintenance than a traditional spring and coil mattress, but well-designed waterbeds rarely have any problems. It’s a good idea to occasionally have the safety liner checked to make sure the bladder has no leaks. If the bladder does develop a leak, it’s very easy to get it repaired, whether you have a softside or hardside waterbed.

• What happens if the waterbed is punctured?
Most waterbeds come with a waterbed repair kit. All you have to do is apply a patch and the waterbed is as good as new. Depending on the puncture, you don’t even have to drain the waterbed to repair it.

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